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The Canadian Guide to
Reviewed by Kate Kaufman
"The issues facing humanity are increasingly global: To name but a few, Third World poverty, inequality, environmental degradation, the extinction of species and the disappearance of habitat. To ensure the future of the planet, we must recognize the interdependence of these issues and adopt a global perspective on the world. No one part of the world, South or North, rich or poor, can solve these problems alone. People with international experience can raise awareness of this interdependence and help chart a safer route for humanity and all the other species who inhabit the earth."
Jean-Marc Hachey's thoroughness in researching and compiling The Canadian Guide to Working and Living Overseas demonstrates a commitment to these principles, articulated in simple, easy-to-read language with a humour that is refreshing.
Intended for Canadians, this work provides more than 900 resources in four sections: Your International IQ, Long Term Strategies, Finding that International Job and Directory of International Contacts.
As a reference tool, the book is well-designed. Information is quickly accessible through a detailed table of contents, an extensive bibliography, a job index and a breakdown of organizations by type. At the end of each chapter you'll also find related resource material which is cross-referenced in the appendices.
The term "International IQ" was coined by Hachey to express the complex, intangible character traits and intercultural communication skills required to compete in the international job market. He explores these criteria repeatedly in each section of the book, making the observation that in many developing countries Canadians are often looked at culturally as North Americans. Our differences are so subtle we are indistinguishable from our southern neighbours.
The Guide is geared to helping individuals develop "people skills" as well as professional credentials, so they can be effective agents of change. The diversity of global contacts included is enlightening.
For example, did you know about the Alberta/ Hokkaido Dairy Exchange Programme? Or the Pacific Rim Study Tours of the Vancouver School Board? How about the Atlantic Regional Orientation Centre? More than 700 contacts from government, private sector, non-government and international organizations are profiled.
Throughout western history, global exploration and empire building have captured the imagination. The idea of a rounded earth, the globe, opened the way for the "high adventurers", rugged individuals usually operating outside any structural framework. The difference today, writes Hachey, is that "[t]he drive by industry to integrate the world economy will break down restrictons imposed by governments on the free flow of world labour." Breakthroughs in communications technology are allowing us to experience a shift from the historical laissez-faire policies and empire-building postures of nation-states to global interdependence - McLuhan's "global village."
This book presents a comprehensive study of possibly every aspect of getting a job and living and working overseas while repeatedly stressing the significance of cross-cultural understanding. Therein lies its uniqueness. The approach might be called that of today's thoughtful "citizen of the world" rather than the carefree adventurer of the past.
Whether you're covering national or international beats, this reference work provides a wealth of information, for the novice and the seasoned professional.