Profiles in International Education: Margarita Gokun Silver

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

International Education is all about teaching, learning, and living interculturally in the world. I'd like to introduce our latest Profile in International Education, Margarita Gokun Silver. Margarita is also our Expatriate and Cross-Cultural Coach Editor and will be sharing her expertise in a monthly column. Margarita is a true international educator - she is a cross-cultural and expat coach, teaches online and runs incredible classes in intercultural training. She's an invaluable resource for anyone thinking about - or already living in another culture.  We are very happy that she's going to be sharing her expertise with our Wandering Educators! Without further ado, let's learn more about Margarita and her work in international education...


Margarita Gokun Silver 



WE: Please tell us about your background in International Education...

MGS: My background in International Education is that of a student and an educator. :)  As a student, I studied in Russia, the US, and Argentina.  I started my education in Russia and when my family moved to the United States, I continued there.  When living in Argentina, I learned my Spanish at a local university.

As for teaching, I do mostly training -- in cross-cultural interactions, cross-cultural communication, and cross-cultural management and leadership.  I design my own curriculum for all my workshops and courses.  My latest adventure in the field of International Education is an on-line Expatriate and Cross-Cultural Academy.  The Academy offers self-paced courses on the expat know-how and cross-cultural courses on Russia, China, Spain, Germany, Israel, the Netherlands, Italy, and the Philippines.  More countries are coming up soon!  Our goal with this online Academy is to make cross-cultural training accessible and affordable to all.



WE: What led you to this field? What training have you had?

MGS: I have a graduate degree in International Public Health from Yale University and I've always been fascinated with living and working internationally. Expatriate lifestyle and expatriate experiences are my passion and I want for other expats to enjoy it as much as I do.  That's why, when I had a chance to start my own business, I decided to get trained and certified as a coach, with expatriates being my niche.



WE: You provide Cross-cultural and Expat Coaching, at your Global Coach Center. What can readers find there?

MGS: At my site, the readers can browse through the archives of the Expat Tips Monthly newsletter, they can sign up for that newsletter (and get a free download of A to Z of Successful Expatriation Series!), they can find information on 7 Habits of a Happy Expat, they can find out information about an e-book (or an online course) on the 3 Steps to Managing Culture Shock, they can listen to a few expatriate coaching demos that I did together with ExpatsRadio, and they can browse the Expatriate and Cross-Cultural Academy for the courses they may be interested in. 



WE: How can international educators, expats, and travelers promote intercultural and diversity issues?

MGS: I think the best thing anyone who is going overseas can do for themselves and for their future local contacts is not only to learn about the country and the culture -- but also to learn about your own cultural blueprint and how it compares to the cultural blueprint of the country you are going to.  There are several cross-cultural variables that we use in our courses to help people discover their blueprints.  Once you know and can compare the two blueprints, you can predict where you may have friction and plan accordingly.  This way you avoid miscommunication, misunderstandings, stress, and frustration. 



WE: International Education can change the world. How can we promote these activities and move forward with intercultural knowledge and cultural diplomacy?

MGS: By knowing each others' values and respecting them.  When we learn about another culture, we learn about what's important to people, what their values are, what makes them tick.  Knowing that allows us to plan our actions in such a way as to respect others and allow others to honor their values.



WE: Life as an expat is different from traveling. How can expats thrive in their new environments, while teaching and learning about the world?  How do you teach that?

MGS: There are several things that, I believe, help expats to thrive and be happy in their lives.  I outline those things in the 7 Habits of a Happy Expat, but I'll mention a couple here.  Curiosity about the world around you is a must.  So is open-mindedness, absence of assumptions, and judgments.  Ability to look at everything as a learning opportunity is a great habit as well.   



WE: Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?

MGS: We are always on the look out for more people to join us in building our Expatriate and Cross-Cultural Academy.  So, if you are living in a country the culture of which you are comfortable in describing, consider joining us as a trainer for that country.  



WE: Thanks so much, Margarita. I am so impressed with the work you are doing, changing lives.



See all our Profiles in International Education here