My name is Quinn MacDonald and I am from Toronto, Canada.  Everyday I am grateful to call the most multicultural city in the world my home.  Not many people get as much opportunity to interact with people from a wide range of cultures on a daily basis.  I love it!

I am a recent graduate and an avid reader.  Photography is my hobby, music is my coffee, food is my number one love and I still have not outgrown board games.  I search for learning opportunities in everything I do in life, so much in fact that my boyfriend wonders why I have to analyze every situation just to squeeze out a few more tidbits of information.

I am, and always will be, a backpacker at heart.  Sleeping in airports, exploring new countries, making new global friends and soaking in the sights – I love everything about backpacking (ok, except the bed bugs!).  Not to mention, I am grateful for all of the cultural knowledge I have gained firsthand throughout my adventures.

I have been lucky enough to go on three backpacking trips and I am eager to go on my fourth.  My travels have taken me across South East Asia, Western Europe and Scandinavia, from the East to the West Coast of Canada, a few Caribbean islands, and I have checked off almost half of the states in the U.S.A.  I cannot get enough of traveling.  You see for many people traveling is just traveling.  But for me, it is the opportunity to not only visit interesting places, make new friends and taste new foods, but above all learn about new cultures.

Oh, and I have a quirky habit of taking photographs of my food.  I will challenge anyone who claims that veggie fried rice looks the same in every country…I have the pictures to prove it!

Where it all began…

My passion for Cultural Intelligence (CQ) began in the spring of 2008 when I studied abroad at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore.  I was privileged to study a course titled Cultural Intelligence at Work that was developed and taught by the leading researchers in the field of CQ.

Not only did I enjoy the course material, it was incredible to learn about cultural differences firsthand by working with classmates from across three continents.  I always knew my exchange in Singapore would be one of the most memorable experiences of my life…but I never imagined I would also discover a career focus at the same time.  I have an enormous passion for cultural intelligence, I love traveling, and I am so grateful that I now have friends around the world.

When I returned home to McMaster University to complete my Honours Bachelor of Commerce, I was saddened to realize there was no cultural understanding course like the one that I took at NTU.  Unwilling to accept this, I initiated an independent course with a professor in order to continue my studies of CQ.  Throughout the 12-week course, I conducted a literature review, an environmental analysis to assess how other academic institutions and companies taught CQ and a gap analysis to determine what was not being addressed.  With the assistance of my ground work, my academic advisor now hopes to offer a Cultural Understanding course in the near future.

My motivation for this website is to gain awareness of Cultural Intelligence.  I truly believe that the field of cultural understanding is the key to developing and maintaining strong effective global relationships.  During the past decade, the focus on CQ has been primarily research based and has only recently started to become more known in a business setting.  I want to stress the importance of Cultural Intelligence to not only the business world, but also to one’s personal life.  Most of all, I want to demonstrate the benefits of Cultural Intelligence in day-to-day life.

My blog is a medium to document my thoughts on culture, a means to stay on top of CQ research, as well as a place to provide examples of how CQ has played a part in my daily life.

Welcome to CQaware.com!