February 26, 2020
NEWBURGH, N.Y -
Alex Valentin, director of Technical Services at Mount Saint Mary College, discusses his international travels at a talk on campus.
World traveler Alex Valentin, director of Technical Services at Mount Saint Mary College, shared his tips for traveling abroad at his talk, “My Life as an International Consultant,” on Wednesday, February 19.
The presentation was part of the “Travel To” series, which is sponsored by the Mount’s Career Center and coordinated by Megan Rossi ’13, Study Abroad Coordinator. The series gives Mount staff, students, and faculty the opportunity to present their travel experiences and share the world with the Mount community.
Valentin has worked for companies like AT&T and Quest International, Inc. Over the course of his career, he has traveled throughout Southeast Asia, Northern Europe, and beyond, including business trips to China, Singapore, and France.
When traveling abroad, it’s important to research the countries you’re headed to, he explained. On top of the obvious crash course in a new language, start learning about the customs, political climate, and social expectations of your destination. While an apology might set things straight at a foreign restaurant, a cultural mistake in a business meeting could wind up being very costly.
Upon landing in a forging country, a traveler who doesn’t speak the local language might feel overwhelmed. But think twice before taking the easy way out, warned Valentin.
“The language challenges are great, but here’s a rule to never forget when you’re traveling internationally – do not use Google Translate,” he said. “Google does raw translation, not transliteration. There are many things we say that just don’t make sense in other languages [without localization].”
Once you’re on the ground in a new country, take note of whatever rules they may have posted, Valentin suggested. For example, when he landed in Singapore, there was a sign in the airport with a list of behaviors to avoid.
“I tell everybody that if they see big signs that say ‘do not do these things,’ write them down,” he said. “There’s wisdom to the old saying ‘Do what the Romans do.’”
In closing, Valentine urged his audience, when traveling internationally, to “remember these five things – no matter what you do.”
- Express your positive energy
- Have a positive attitude
- Be passionate about what you do
- Be prepared
- Display a strong work ethic
The Mount’s Study Abroad program provides students with learning opportunities in New Zealand, Ireland, France, and more. Students can earn three credits through these faculty-led programs or participate in overseas internships.