Taking your opportunities: Life as an expat

Check out what our Consultants have to say about living abroad

11th April 2019

When I first joined Concilium almost 3 years ago now, little did I know I would end up being given the opportunity to establish an office here in Amsterdam...

Having spent the last 3 months settling in to a new home and making new friends I have been able to reflect on what this experience has afforded me thus far. As a Singaporean born, South African national, who has spent the last 10 years in the UK I was no foreigner to change, but this was an opportunity like no other. Living abroad provides you with many opportunities to develop as a person:

1. Professional development

As executive search consultants this is something we witness day in day out, people who are willing to take a risk are often rewarded with greater opportunities. There are countless opportunities out there, sometimes you just need to broaden your horizons and be willing to take the leap. This doesn’t necessarily have to represent moving abroad, many of my close friends have recently taken on roles where they get to travel to all parts of the world, gaining invaluable insight and development and at such a young age there is no better time.

2. Increased cultural appreciation and global mindset

Having the ability to collaborate and work alongside people of different nationalities and backgrounds is part and parcel of working in the modern globalised world. Employers often seek new hires who have a strong cultural appreciation across the globe and the ability to interact effectively with international clients. In the bustling, cosmopolitan city that is Amsterdam we have the luxury of rubbing shoulders with expats from far afield, whether that be bumping in to South Africans in the gym, hanging out with Finns over a drink or dining out with Korean clients, you get the opportunity to truly immerse yourself in other cultures and ways of life.

3. Test yourself – get out of your comfort zone

There’s nothing quite like moving to a new city. Leaving your friends and family behind is tough, but it’s a fantastic opportunity to test yourself and find out what really drives you in life. Starting with a blank slate you have the challenge of integrating yourself in to new friendship groups, trying to find new hobbies and keeping yourself entertained outside of work hours. As my colleague, David, put it:

‘I have been working and living here in the Netherlands for over 3 months and it has been a great experience so far.  I have wanted to relocate abroad for some time and have been encouraged to do so by friends and family who have already experienced the expat life.  For me, the best thing about moving abroad is the opportunity to break from old routine and implement a fresh, and hopeful, better one, focussing more on health and professional goals. But also, it’s a chance to meet new people and see a different part of the world!’

4. Learn a new language

Now I can’t confess to be fluent or even proficient just yet in Dutch, but we are certainly making the effort to learn and integrate. As native English speakers we often take other languages for granted, however making the effort to learn even a few key phrases goes a long way to assimilating with the locals. Additionally, you also improve your communication skills and patience having to converse with people of many different mother tongues.

To reach out to our Amsterdam consultants, send us an email at amsterdam@conciliumsearch.com or call +31 20 209 1595

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