Earlier this morning I arrived at my office, switched on my laptop, opened the window, and checked the view as I probably do most mornings, and then it hit me…it’s going to be a while before I am back in this familiar environment doing the same again. Tomorrow I’ll be leaving my husband and three children – as well as my colleagues and friends here in Walldorf – and will set off on an SAP Social Sabbatical to Curitiba, Brazil. What makes it easier is knowing that globally, 11 like-minded SAP colleagues will be doing – and probably feeling – exactly the same as me.

As I write, the SoSa Curitiba WhatsApp group is buzzing on my mobile with as much excitement as I am feeling. Last minute questions are being answered, safe journey wishes are flying back and forth. The “Curitiba Cohorts” will be travelling from all corners of the world to finally meet up face-to-face in Brazil: from Germany (Walldorf, Hamburg), France (Paris), Russia (St. Petersburg), Singapore, the Philippines, New Zealand, the USA (San Francisco, Newtown Square), and South Korea (Seoul). In the six-week preparation period leading up to the start of our assignment, we have had the chance to get to know one another quite well during our various conference call, so in some ways, it feels that when we finally meet up at in Curitiba, it’ll be a bit like a family reunion. I am probably not the only one who can’t wait to finally meet the other Cohorts face-to-face!

During the four weeks that we are in Curitiba, we will be assigned in groups of three to work on projects where we can hopefully make a positive difference using our diverse skill sets. Pannie, Markus and I will working with Elo, Apoio Social e Ambiental, an NGO that describes their mission as “To establish virtuous circles between youth and civil society for the support of a sustainable future”. Elo provides support to disadvantaged youths, providing training to enable them to enter the work market as apprentices. Our job will be to develop a financial sustainability plan together with Elo. Watch this space to find out how we get on!

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