The Expat Woman

Cultural Intelligence to Thrive in your Expat Life

“The more you learn about the local culture, the more you will be in a better position to be more understanding of the host country.” – Daniela Draugelis

In the edition of The Expat Women’s Show, host Nyna Caputi interviews Daniella Draugelis,, an intercultural trainer and consultant, about cultural intelligence (CQ) and its importance for expatriates.

Watch the interview here

Here is a summary of the interview and takeaways from Daniela

Key Takeaways:

1. Definition of Cultural Intelligence (CQ):

  • CQ is the capability to function and relate effectively in culturally diverse situations.
  • It extends beyond IQ (intellectual intelligence) and EQ (emotional intelligence), incorporating knowledge, awareness, motivation, and skills to navigate multicultural interactions.
  • CQ can be measured and developed over time through assessments, coaching, and education.

2. Four Pillars of CQ:

  • Drive: Motivation and confidence to engage in multicultural settings.
  • Knowledge: Understanding cultural similarities and differences.
  • Strategy: Planning and reflecting on cultural interactions.
  • Action: Adapting behavior to effectively communicate and collaborate across cultures.


3. Preparing for a New Culture

  • Research and acquire knowledge about the host country’s norms, values, and customs.
  • Engage with local networks or international organizations for better acclimatization.
  • Use CQ assessments to identify gaps between one’s own culture and the new culture.
  • Develop strategies to handle cultural differences and reflect on experiences to improve future interactions

4. Challenges of Expat Life:

  • Moving between cultures, especially from tight (strict norms) to loose (flexible norms) cultures, presents unique challenges.
  • Women, in particular, may face specific challenges regarding gender roles and expectations in different cultures.
  • Repatriation can also be challenging, as returning to one’s home country after extended time abroad often requires readjustment.

5. Strategies for Thriving as an Expat:

  • Be open-minded, nonjudgmental, and curious about new cultures.
  • Establish connections with both locals and other expatriates to build a supportive network.
  • Seek guidance from intercultural coaches to navigate cultural complexities effectively.

Daniella emphasizes the importance of understanding one’s own cultural background and being prepared to embrace and adapt to new cultural environments. Her insights highlight that while expat life can be challenging, it is also a rewarding journey of personal and professional growth.

DANIELA DRAUGELIS is a passionate and experienced intercultural trainer with a proven track record of facilitating successful cross-cultural interactions and building effective relationships in diverse business environments. She is a global citizen who has lived and worked in culturally diverse locations such as Indonesia, China, Argentina, South Africa, India, the United States, and Pakistan, where she currently resides. 

With over 15 years of experience working internationally with Fortune 500, tech startups, and non-profits in various industries including consumer products, online marketplace, hospitality, and education, Daniela brings a deep understanding of the complexities of cultural dynamics and their impact on communication, collaboration, and negotiation.

Daniela holds a BA in Business Administration and an MBA from the Catholic University of Argentina (UCA). She is a CQ Certified Facilitator from the Cultural Intelligence Center and has also completed her certification as an Intercultural Trainer from Purdue University and The Interchange Institute.

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Nyna is the Founder and CEO of The Expat Woman, a global platform focused on connecting, supporting and empowering women who have moved abroad or plan to relocate. She is also a LinkedIn coach, consultant, trainer and speaker. LinkedIn played a huge role in my professional journey abroad, helping me build a network of powerful expat women and allies.

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