About the founder

Cheryl Obal

Cross-cultural Communication Expert

My Specialist Countries:

  • US (25 years)
  • Italy (15 years)
  • Japan (1 year)
  • Thailand (1 year)
  • Korea (2 years)
  • India (3 years)
  • Qatar (1 year)
  • Saudi Arabia (4 years)
  • Pakistan (1 year)

I’ve conducted cross-cultural training for multinationals and institutions including Microsoft, Opteamix (India); BASF (Dubai), Department for International Trade (UK), Dwellworks (USA), King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (Saudi Arabia), Hyundai, Samsung, Tupperware, KoreanAir, eBay, LG (Korea); Pfizer, Modine (Italy) and many more.

Mission:

My mission is to give companies and individuals the tools needed to thrive when working abroad. My passion is to promote mutual understanding among people from different cultures and backgrounds. Collaborating across borders has its challenges and I get it—I have been there!

Vision:

My vision is a world in which people celebrate cultural differences rather than criticize them. No culture is right or wrong, or better or worse—cultures are just different, and that’s what makes the world a beautiful place. With increased cross-cultural competence, people get along better, work more effectively, and maximize partnerships. This knowledge can change your world, and the world around you.

My Story

I grew up in a small town of 3,000 in rural Pennsylvania which is pretty much a monoculture. I see other cultures on TV and in movies, and I am insatiably curious. Life at home is difficult. My father is terminally ill, which takes its toll on the family. There is more awful news: my brother and I have a 50% chance of having the same illness.

The risk factor propels me into a state of overdrive. I have to accomplish a lot as fast as possible. I want to travel and experience the world before it’s too late. Then the news comes, a day after dad’s 50th birthday: dad is gone.

Two weeks later, I get my first job offer abroad: in Japan. Should I go? Can I handle this on my own? Will I manage the grief? Can I leave my mom alone now?

Mom says I should follow my dream and GO. Though I am barely an adult, I embark on my first international journey–one that would change my life. My time in Japan teaches me that living in another country enriches your life in countless ways. I soak up everything I can. I love every minute of it, and I realize I could never stop traveling and living in different countries.

Post-Japan, I am living in New York. Suddenly it’s September 11th. The Twin Towers go down, and life in New York becomes chaos. Some people are shattered and unable to recover. One of my best friends commits suicide less than a month after that fateful day.

Cheryl Obal story

In the same year, my best friend from childhood is diagnosed with leukemia. She also ends her own life. The events shell-shock me. My soul craves answers, an escape, an adventure…another way of life.

Soon I have the chance to live in Italy and teach English. Teaching English becomes a lifeline for me. I help others improve their lives. People are so grateful, and within a short time I build an immense network in Italy. It’s a unique window into the Italian culture. I experience immense kindness, acceptance, love and generosity from Italians. I discover La Bella Vita. It becomes my mission to help people have similar life-changing experiences–to improve their lives by knowing the rich diversity in this world.

 

My Qualifications

  • Master of Arts, International Relations (Peace Operators Track), University of Trieste, Italy, 2010.
  • Cultural Detective® Certified Trainer
  • Lewis Model of Culture & Culture Active Certified Trainer
  • Certified TEFL Instructor (Teaching English as a Foreign Language), International TEFL Teaching Training
  • Cross-Cultural Train-the-Trainer Training through Microsoft GTSC in Bangalore, India: IDI – Intercultural Development Index, ICS – Intercultural Conflict Style, GlobeSmart

My languages:

English, Italian, Spanish, Kannada, Korean, Arabic

Cheryl Obal conducting a training

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