I have had five excellent years in the Expleo Durban office in South Africa, contributing to a period of large growth for the company. When my daughter moved to study in the Netherlands, I started to think that it could be a good time for a change. I spoke to my manager here in South Africa, as well as other members of the Expleo sales community in Europe, and it transpired there was a position available in Expleo Norway. As a family, we were ready for a bold adventure, and we have some distant Norwegian heritage, so we thought, why not? Nothing ventured, nothing gained, as the saying goes!
My main concerns were around a potential language barrier and leaving my network behind, but I was more worried about missing out on an exciting opportunity to push myself and discover new experiences. It’s better to make a wrong decision for the right reasons, than to regret not trying at all.
As it turns out, language is not a big barrier here. Most people speak excellent English. My new colleagues have been incredibly supportive, they even sent me a welcome video before I arrived. They have helped me to adapt to Norwegian life: where to find a great cup of coffee or get my hair cut. Small things like these really do make such a difference.
The biggest challenge is going from an established network of close clients into a brand-new environment. By putting one foot in front of the other, that is slowly getting easier.
Out of the Expleo values, I’d say that courage and collaboration are the most relevant for an international transfer. You need to take the plunge for yourself, but you also need support from others too. The teamwork here is fantastic and we have a lot of fun working together!
I’ve been able to add a bit of South African culture too. For example, litter used to be a big problem back home, and I suggested a sponsored beach clean-up, known locally as a “Strandryddedag”, to help protect the environment. I’ve also put forward the idea of Phuza Thursday (phuza means to drink in Zulu), where you go out with colleagues on the first Thursday after payday. Why not try it at your office!
As a mum and a wife, I am a bold woman who is proud to lead this change for the whole family. They were on board immediately. I think it’s incredible how they’ve embraced the move and adapted so quickly.
I’m very grateful to them and to Expleo that I can have this experience.
At Expleo we celebrate bold women, read more about our engagement towards gender diversity and equality in the workplace here.