Meet a member – 5 Questions to Iveta Berkolde

August 12, 2020By

The International Women’s Club of Riga is proud of its caring and diverse membership of approximately 139 women from 40 countries. The diversity of our club gives us access to other cultures and helps us understand different perspectives within the world in which we live. It helps dispel negative stereotypes, and helps us recognize and respect “ways of being” that are not necessarily our own.

This month we asked our member Iveta Berkolde to share with us her view on multicultural communities. We want to learn from Ivetas professional experience how cultural differences will impact our relocation, international business, and to cope well with your family in a new cultural environment. 

IWCR: Iveta, can you share with us how you found out about IWCR, and how diverse is our club?

Iveta: I have been working in Relocation and Immigration industry since 2008 supporting international professionals and their families during their move to Latvia. I introduced my clients to Riga and the expat community. One of “must do things” have always been the IWCR Morning Meet&Greet events. I enjoy the welcoming atmosphere. After some years, I felt part of the club, so I decided to become a member finally.

I think IWCR is one of the best examples in Latvia for diversity – members from more than 40 different countries and cultures come together for cooperation and friendship. I would even call it unity – when we all get together for IWCR Christmas Bazaar in different working groups, and supporting each other through all the years.

I had the pleasure to be part of the English and Latvian IWCR language groups. I enjoyed mutual support, understanding and lovely, joyful team spirit. I also believe IWCR has a very good balance having local Latvian and Russian ladies in the network.

I am always happy to give some advice or support if necessary for newcomers. 

IWCR: Iveta, you have long years of experience in a multicultural environment. What is your background and field of expertise?

Iveta: Just after Latvia regained Independence at the early nineties I was privileged to work with international organizations and projects not only in Europe, but also in Africa. This experience has developed my understanding how important communication is, and how culture differences can change it for better – or some times for worse.

I graduated at the University of Latvia with a Master degree in Public Administration, Faculty of Economics and Management, and a Master of Philology and Pedagogy. I am certified Cross- culture trainer by “The Interchange Institute, Inc. Advanced level training course, Crossing Cultures with Competence, US”, and I am certified trainer with Richard Lewis Communications, The Lewis Model.

IWCR: What is your experience. How does our cultural identity, values and traditions impact us human beings interacting with counterparts in multi-cultural or foreign communities?

Iveta: I have seen and experienced a lot of successful moves, and expats enjoying their new destination. But also I have seen some difficult cases. So, I was laughing and enjoying most of the time with my clients – but sometimes also crying with clients who find this experience moving to a new country very challenging. It is not easy to say, what exactly makes a relocation successful, or very difficult.

But would point out 2 things – one, the support available, the international social network, and the understanding of the new culture and communication style. Second, it is very helpful if you have someone you can talk to and share how you feel, what you have experienced during your move, and how the new culture differs from the one you are coming from.

IWCR: What would you like to pass on to the community and future generations? How important is it to cope with cross-cultures and to understand the background of cultural heritage. 

Iveta: It is like the roots of a beautiful tree and wings of the birds. I often use this symbol “roots” to talk about culture – a mixture of history, values, norms, beliefs. All together are our Culture code or “roots”.

And understanding and experience of other, different cultures gives us a possibility to fly, to travel, to experience new horizons. I believe in the future we will be grounded in our core values and cultural heritage. We will be happy to travel more, and eager to learn more about different cultures and languages. We will become richer in knowledge, and will have a more colourful life experience.

IWCR: Would you share with us what you like most about your home country Latvia?

Iveta: I like the beautiful nature in the four different seasons, and walk  along the seashore, woods and meadows.  From Latvian culture, the Song and Dance festival is the most special event. And remember that Latvians need some time to know you, they keep some distance and might be reserved in the beginning, but when you develop a friendship, it will be sincere and long.

You are welcome to explore a beautiful country and its culture!

Intercultural Workshop

We kindly invite newcomers to Riga (on invitation by one of our members), and our members of the club to our Intercultural Workshop. Together, we want to understand the culture, values and ethos of Latvia. We are extremely grateful to offer this introduction, held by the professional consultant Iveta Berkolde. 

With our workshop we want to introduce you to exclusive insight in Latvian culture with our professional coach. Iveta will give us an introduction, bridge gaps, and will answer frequently asked questions. We will cover cultural values, beliefs, social norms, business etiquette and communication patterns. We want to encourage you to join our discussion, how different we experience situations, what does it mean, how can I handle situations, and what might be the root to certain behaviour.

  • WHEN: September 17th, 
  • TIME: 10.30am – 13.00pm
  • WHERE: Kipsala, Riga

Read more about our Intercultural Workshop.

Connect with Iveta Berkolde, Managing Partner of Partners in Relocation Group, (SIA PIRGROUP): 

Meet our members

Thank you Iveta for taking the time for this interview, and for all your support you give to IWCR, raising our understanding for diversity and cultural differences.

The interview was prepared by Kerstin Steinberg, President of IWCR.

It is very interesting to learn more about our members. If you like to read more.

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