Below, a quote that I mention, without fail, every summer with the interns. Do you want to be effective overseas? Well, then you need to "initiate and sustain interpersonal relationships with local people." Knowledge of great. Language skills are important. But if you want to have an impact, you need to be involved in the relational fabric of a culture.
Quote of the Day: Most of our schooling crams us with content to build our competence in a certain discipline or subject. It prepares us for vocations like church planting, investment banking, medical research and so on. However, in our push for knowledge and technical competency we often overlook the one element that determines success or failure. The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) discovered this overlooked element some years ago. They conducted a study that asked, "What characteristics does a person need to be effective overseas?" Before you read further, what do you think are the most powerful factors in overseas effectiveness? The CIDA study, replicated several times, demonstrated that, far and away, the most powerful factor in overseas effectiveness was the ability to initiate and sustain interpersonal relationships with the local people. Solid, long-term relationships with host country people was the most important contributor to (1) satisfaction in one's overseas assignment, (2) transferring technology to local people, and (3) the ongoing success of the projects (sustainability).
Duane Elmer. Cross-Cultural Servanthood: Serving the World in Christlike Humility (Kindle Locations 950-954). Emphasis mine.