Global Identity: How do you Define Yourself?

A few weeks ago, I was reminded of my unusual, global identity and global background. Though I am "out" about my ethnicity and country of origin - this wasn't always the case.

Growing up, I just wanted to blend in...

I work as a Global Career Coach and Global Consultant. In this role, my unusual background, ethnicity and experience living in several countries is to my advantage.  I assist many international business people who want to work in the USA and many Americans who want to work internationally. I can relate to them all. My diverse background is appreciated by my students and clients which is a big relief for me.  I didn't realize what a relief this was, until I had this freedom. This is the first job when I could be out about my global identity. Thinking back to my previous work, I 'passed' without ever realizing that I was even trying to "pass."

Choosing where to live and work is personal and is an important part of the career exploration process. Working with a career coach who can relate to you and who can understand your global identity is essential for any multi-cultural or diverse person.

Recently, I was in Vancouver, British Columbia my hometown and was planning a day trip across the border. In that part of the country the border doesn't really feel like a border. More like an interchange between friends.  There is a very famous, historic park which spans the Canadian and American side of the border called "Peach Arch Park." There is a giant sculture of a Peace Arch which demarcates the border and the friendship and cooperation between people on both sides of the line. Here the border is only 30 minutes away from my family home. Both Canadians and Americans frequently cross the border for day trips to go shopping and to eat in new, restaurants.

I was reminded how unusual my global background is when the border agent commented on what a 'mixture' we were as a family. I was in the car with my parents and sister. The four of us have the same last name. However, each of us was born in a different city and different country:  Israel, FSR Lithuania, Italy and Canada.  Thinking back to the historical reasons for this are interesting. I am glad that I live in relatively peaceful times  and don't have to worry about displacement, trans-migration etc. Many people all over the world do not currently have this luxury.

Although it was brought up in a perfectly appropriate and polite way, this comment has has stuck with me. I'm still not quite sure how I feel about  being a mixture of cultures. Do you also feel part of many countries and many cultures simultaneously? In Canada, any unique combination of ethnicity is simply termed multi-cultural. In the USA it is often listed under the term diversity. What is the term in your country?  How do you define who you are? What is your own global identity?

Blog post by Sharon B. Cohen Career Consultant and Social Media Strategist.
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