Discover the world of cross-cultural communication.


She was born and raised in the US (Pennsylvania), but now she is a permanent resident of Italy. She also lived in the following countries:

Saudi Arabia 4 years, Pakistan 1 year, India 3 years, South Korea 2 years, Qatar, Thailand and Japan all 1 year, and of course, Italy for more than 15 years

Cheryl Obal  & Associates is registered in Italy. The business was founded in October 2020, but Cheryl has been working in this field for around 20 years.  

Due to COVID, all training and services are currently provided virtually. However, once travel becomes possible again, Cheryl would be glad to travel to your company to provide training or consultation services either short-term or long-term. 

– Targeted training and consultation on culture and business for a new market.   

– Relocation and global mobility training, specific for living and working successfully abroad.  

– Company formation & setup services through local partners in India, Italy, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE.  

– Outsourcing partnership setup with technology companies in India

  • Cheryl Obal collaborates with several people around the world.

    There are several part-time/virtual employees: 

    • Hana Abdulqader – Project Coordinator, business development – Saudi Arabia  
    • Joel Pueblos – Web designer, Business Consultant – Philippines
    • Jorge Montenegro – Writing & Research assistant – Venezuela
    • Olivia Olaguer – Digital Marketing Specialist – US

    And several cross-cultural trainers who Cheryl collaborates with:

    • Michael Gates – Finland/UK  
    • Deacon Pereto – Italy
    • Chiara Ferronato – Spain – Arabic-speaking
    • Mahmoud Assy – Egypt/Spain – Arabic-speaking  
    • Sameeh Gadallah – US/Egypt – Arabic-speaking 

    She also collaborates with other consultants in similar fields:

    • Bianca Praino – Spain
    • Imad Baig – Saudi Arabia
  • Cheryl Obal has been working as a corporate {cross-cultural skills} trainer at multinational companies and institutions around the world, including Microsoft. Having worked and lived extensively in several countries over the last 20 years, Cheryl has developed key strategies for working successfully and living comfortably in foreign countries.  

    Since Cheryl has focused specifically on cross-cultural skills for entering new markets, she focuses on two areas: culture and business.

  • Microsoft, Opteamix (India), KAUST (Saudi Arabia), BASF (Dubai), Department for International Trade (UK), American Multi-Cinema c/o Dwellworks (USA), Hyundai, Samsung, Tupperware, KoreanAir, eBay, Green Cross, SK (Korea); Crossculture Academy (Germany), Learnlight (Spain), San Bortolo Hospital of Vicenza, Zanellato and Partners, Oncological Institute of Veneto, A. Pedrollo Conservatory of Music, Pfizer, Modine (Italy) 

– Cheryl holds a Master of Arts in International Relations, Peace Operators from the University of Trieste, Italy.

– Certified Trainer: Lewis Model of Culture  

– Certified Trainer: Cultural Detective 

– Certified in TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language)

Cheryl provides consultation, training, and coaching with two main focus areas: 1) culture and 2) business. Services can be provided one-on-one, in small groups, or in large groups. At the moment, due to COVID, all services are conducted virtually. Every package is tailored to the client’s needs, and customized to suit your exact needs in terms of learning, adjusting, adapting, and succeeding in a foreign market.

Companies who are entering a new market for the first time will need to understand the culture very well, in order to do business effectively there. Staff members of companies coming to work in the new country will also need relocation training to make the transition smooth. It is even effective if you are working from your home country, with collaborators in other countries.

– Expats can know and understand the target culture very well  

– You will understand your own culture very well.

– You will develop strategies for building trust and positive relationships with new colleagues, clients, customers, etc.  

– People who do this training are more likely to stay in the foreign country for a longer period of time.  

– People who do this training will be better-adjusted, live comfortably, and have less culture shock. 


A black swan event is an unexpected, rare event which has a huge impact on your business. The term was coined by Nassim Nicholas Taleb and comes from the historical rarity of the black swan in nature. Examples in project management could be a freak accident at work, an important supplier suddenly going bankrupt, or a terrorist attack.

A culture that values the needs and goals of the community or group above an individual’s. Collectivist cultures also value the importance of belonging to groups that look after you in exchange for loyalty. (McCornack, 52)

Also seeks profits, but staying small isn’t a sign of failure. Instead, staying small is a conscious choice and the definition of success. Staying small means being able to achieve and sustain a predefined level of income as well as a high level of freedom and control over your time.

  • The system of social, ethical, and moral standards characterized by values of hard work, collectivism, reciprocity, respect of elders, hierarchy, discipline, orderly society, good behavior, humility, and ‘saving face.’ ‘Do not do to others that which you yourself do not desire’ is the ‘Silver Rule’ at the center of ethical beliefs. The philosophies of Confucius define the Chinese culture and still have a strong influence on the lives of people in China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Vietnam. These days there are still over 6,000,000 people who follow Confucianism, according to National Geographic. If you are about to do business in East Asia and you need a crash course on culture, a good way to prepare yourself is to read up on Confucianism.

  • The set of circumstances or facts that surround an event or situation. In terms of intercultural communication, it includes body language, tone of voice, behavior and attitude, non-response, and other factors.

  • EORs manage HR duties like payroll and benefits for your workers in a foreign country. An EOR can employ workers in other countries on your behalf and will officially be the legal employer of your workers. If you did not yet set up a business abroad, working with an EOR is significantly more affordable than opening a new entity in the foreign country.

The belief that your culture is the best one or the only correct one.

Usually works on an hourly wage or gets paid per project, meaning the earnings stop once he/she stops working. Generally doesn’t profit on a product or project after finishing the work.

This is a person who basically helps you open a business, or helps conduct certain business activities on your behalf, in the Middle East. The name differs slightly from country to country; in some places it is called a PRO (Public Relations Officer). Their job is to visit government offices and make the bureaucratic process easier. They wait in lines, obtain stamps on documents, and they are fluent Arabic speakers. They understand how to carry out certain transactions that would be difficult for expats, and can even help you gain valuable partners and clients in the new market.

A culture in which verbal communication is often ambiguous and meaning is drawn from contextual cues, such as facial expressions and tone of voice. (Floyd, G3).

A person who is impulsive typically acts upon emotion, or acts without thinking.

A culture that values individual goals over group or societal goals. (McCornack, 52)

The ability to communicate with people from different backgrounds in ways that are ethical, appropriate, and effective. (McCornack, 267)

In business, “leapfrogging” means when companies, organizations, or even societies modernize quickly and skip over some of the tedious steps of development.

Linear-active people tend to be task-oriented, highly organized planners who complete action-chains by doing one thing at a time, with a linear agenda. They prefer direct discussion, sticking to facts and figures from reliable, written sources. Speech is for information exchange and they talk and listen in equal proportions. They are truthful rather than diplomatic and do not fear confrontation, sticking to logic rather than emotions. They partly conceal feelings and value a certain amount of privacy. They are results-oriented and like to move quickly forward, compromising when necessary to achieve a deal. (Richard Lewis,

A person who talks freely, using a lot of words.

A culture that relies on words themselves, rather than on the conversational situation, to convey meaning, resulting in direct verbal communication. In the United States, for example, we prefer directness and clarity rather than what we view as vague hints. (McCornack, 186)

A cultural orientation towards time that values careful scheduling and time management. In the United States, for instance, appointments are important. (McCornack, 233) A concept that treats time as a finite commodity that can be earned, saved, spent, and wasted. (Floyd, G4)

Multi-active people are talkative, impulsive types who attach great importance to feelings, relationships and people-orientation. They like to do many things at the same time and tend to feel confined by agendas. Conversation is roundabout and animated and they try to speak and listen at the same time. Interruptions are frequent, and pauses in conversation are few. Multi-active cultures are uncomfortable with silence and seldom permit or experience it. (Richard Lewis,

An active listening technique in which you state a concise summary of what you just heard.

PEOs manage HR duties like payroll and benefits for your workers in a foreign country. PEO’s can’t employ workers on your behalf, so when working with a PEO, you are still the legal employer. With a PEO you need to have your own entity in the country or region, and you are responsible for being compliant with local labor laws.

In cross-cultural leadership and management, it is the ability to adjust your communication style, work ethic, conflict resolution style, techniques for motivating others, and more to achieve the desired results. Managing a team of people from different cultures is never “one size fits all”.

A cultural orientation toward time, viewing it loosely and fluidly and valuing human relationships over strict schedules and efficiency. In Mexico, for instance, punctuality may be sacrificed to savor a conversation. (McCornack, 236)

A person who speaks many languages.

Reactive or listening cultures rarely initiate action or discussion, preferring first to listen to and establish the other’s position, then react to it and formulate their own. They are the world’s best listeners because they concentrate on what the speaker is saying, do not let their minds wander, and rarely, if ever, interrupt a speaker while the conversation is going on. When it is finished, they do not reply immediately. A decent period of silence after the speaker has stopped shows respect for the weight of the remarks, which must be considered unhurriedly and with due deference. (Richard Lewis,

To prevent embarrassment of yourself or another person.

Seeks profits, and also seeks to grow. Always looking for opportunities to expand, and may be seen as a failure if it never gets bigger.

Someone who starts a business alone, without any other partners.

Someone who works for you from a distance. The work between you and a virtual assistant is managed completely through virtual meetings and communication over the phone and internet.

The direct connection between what is promised and what is done. The act of fulfilling promises. According to cross-cultural expert Richard Lewis, this is an important cultural value in linear-active cultures.


Are you preparing to go abroad, moving or just traveling in a different country? Maybe it’s your first time outside your own country? Maybe whatever the situation, staying culturally sensitive is a concern?

Although culture books can be very helpful to understand culture and communication, sometimes we get caught up in the details and forget what kind of skills we actually need when dealing with people from other cultures. This page offers videos about: intercultural skills, business abroad, expat life, and travel.

Get inspired!


If you’re interested in increasing your knowledge about cross-cultural competence, sensitivity and understanding, you can learn a great deal through the books below. These are the best books out there, all highly recommended by experienced cross-cultural trainers and interculturalists working in the field.


The Culture Map by Erin Meyer

When Cultures Collide by Richard Lewis

Cross-Cultural Communication: A Visual Approach by Richard Lewis

Fish Can’t See Water by Richard Lewis and Kai Hammerich

Cross-Cultural Dialogues: 74 Brief Encounters with Cultural Difference by Craig Storti

Riding the Waves of Culture by Fons Trompenaars

Riding the Waves of Innovation by Fons Trompenaars and Charles Hampden-Turner

Business Across Cultures by Fons Trompenaars and Peter Woolliams

Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind

Negotiate Like a Local by Jean-Pierre Coene and Marc Jacobs

Words that Change Minds: The 14 Patterns for Mastering the Language of Influence by Shelle Rose Charvet

Uncommon Sense in Unusual Times by Csaba Toth

Cross Cultural Business Behavior by Richard Gesteland

Say Anything to Anyone, Anywhere: 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication by Gayle Cotton

The Intercultural Mind by Joseph Shaules

Cross-Cultural Management with Insights from Brain Science by Mai Nguyen-Phuong-Mai

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The culture you need to succeed in business.

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Company Registered in Borgo Berga, Vicenza, Italy, 36100.

Registration Number (Partita Iva) 04299640245. Operating Worldwide.

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