Leena has relocated to Belgium to take the role of Senior Garment Technologist at C&A; she’s been in the role for five months.
What were your main motivations and reasons behind your international relocation?
I’d relocated before but this time it was because I wanted to gain experience at a different company and join a more established corporate retailer. I also had fewer responsibilities than I’d had previously, which left me open to experience working internationally.
How has relocating helped with your career?
It’s hard to say at the moment, I’m still in the very early stages of my new role, and although I’m getting on well I haven’t had time to really establish myself yet.
What is it like living in Belgium? How does it compare to the UK?
At the moment I’m finding it difficult to get an apartment. When I relocated to Shanghai previously, even though it was a completely different country and culture to the UK, I found it a lot easier as accommodation was included and I didn’t have to worry about it. I think the best thing to do is try not to compare countries, just get on with it.
What do you do outside of the office?
I haven’t had time for much so far, in between looking for an apartment and meeting with people from work at the weekends. I’m looking forward to getting more involved though, I want to learn French and I’ll be joining a gym when I’ve found somewhere to live.
What personal growth opportunities has relocating offered?
Because I haven’t been here very long, the best opportunity has been gaining the experience with an international corporate retailer. But I’m hoping to really establish myself here.
What is the hardest thing about relocating?
Again, the hardest thing has been finding somewhere to live, but that’s different with every opportunity; it just depends where you relocate.
What advice would you give to someone looking to make an international relocation? What will they need to consider?
First of all, research the area you’ll be moving to, although you can’t know everything about a place before you move there, it’s worth checking it out first. Work out what incomings and outgoings you’ll have and take the time to learn how healthcare, tax and other practical things work in that country.
What advice would you give to someone for trying to juggle settling into a new country and new job?
I would say just take one day at a time, and forget what you’re used to because you’ll keep comparing everything to back home. Make the most of your opportunity and keep a positive mindset.