If you really want to learn about a country, work there
The year 2019 has been a complete travel & learning experience for me. I was fortunate enough to travel to 3 countries – Malaysia , Philippines & United Arab Emirates. Each travel was a unique experience in terms of type of project work ,culture ,food ,weather and above all ..People. This blog post emphasizes on going beyond your comfort zone ,enjoy work related travels, explore new world and make the best out of every opportunity. Buckle up your seat-belts and get ready to experience the onsite travel world of SAP consulting.
January 2019 – Kuala Lumpur ,Malaysia
This project started in 2018 and ended in early 2019. The work visa process was pretty simplified and quick. This was my first professional visit to KL (The first one was personal with my spouse in 2012).City had changed a bit. I could see more fancy cars and new street food joints opened up.
I stayed near KL Central in a fully furnished apartment type of accommodation. Customer location was just a 10 min walk which was a very pleasant experience with intermittent rains ,birds chirping & people enjoying malls and local street food. An umbrella is a must in KL.
Let us talk food. In Malaysia, you will find a variety of non- vegetarian food starting from chicken ,fish ,eggs to exotic stuff like crabs & lobsters. I eat only some meats (Chicken, Eggs & Fish) but in KL i tried some crab. Thanks to our SDC Malaysia Colleges ,i was recommended some really tasty dishes and places like Shangrila Buffet ,China Market. The food was a bit smelly but with rich spices and flavors ,it was an amazing & tasty experience. Also , we have a lot of Indians (specially South Indians) staying in KL. I enjoyed some tasty South Indian food on Banana Leaf which included Idlis ,Dosas ,Sambhar , Rasam , Fried Fish & Curd.
KL has a diverse culture with Chinese , Indians ,Malays , Americans ,Europeans residents and visitors coming there for work & leisure. I went to the Famous Bird Park and it was simply amazing. Never knew that there are so many species of Birds & Flying creatures in the world. Enjoyed a local Hot-dog there. The Bird show in the park was brilliant.
Working at Malaysia is very simple. You work ,eat ,drink ,enjoy & repeat. People are really helpful and fun to work with. Life is quite pleasant..thanks to the excellent public transport like Buses & Metro trains. I did some shopping from the local Chinese Market & the bargains were quite amazing.
Kuala Lumpur – A highly recommended place to work & enjoy.
March 2019 – Manila,Philippines
Welcome to the Filipino world , a place completely following American culture and one of the most happening cities in the world. Yes its Manila. I visited Manila like thrice over a period of few months and each visit was special.
Coming straight to the fun part – Food, Drinks & Shopping. You can find multi cuisine eateries like Filipino ,Malaysian ,Indonesian ,Chinese ,American , Indian and many more. Drinks are quite cheap..Make sure that your glass is always full!!!. The best part about this city is the shopping culture. Practically everyone at Manila spends 2-3 hrs daily on shopping. I purchased clothes ,food items ,souvenirs , chocolates ….list is too big. In food , i tried Indonesian food at Garuda Indonesian Restaurant , Pure American stuff at Tim Horton’s , Some local Filipino street food.
Work culture is very different. People are not so punctual actually they treat work as fun.You find people working late evenings ,eating at their desks and enjoying themselves. I had fun-time working here.
May 2019 – Dubai ,UAE
Welcome to the rich & golden world of Arabs. Its Dubai – Land of Gold ,Oil , Extravagant Malls & Perfumes. The temperature levels are on a higher side here 42’C + but thanks to air conditioned work environment i was able to handle the heat.
Dubai Media City was the place where I stayed & worked. Luckily i stayed in a Hotel which was at a 5 mins walking distance from Customer location (which was another Hotel!!!).
Places which i loved the most were Kite Beach ,Dubai Mall ,Mall of Emirates ,Marina Walk ,Aquarium & above all Bhurj Khalifa. Dubai is all about spending money on buying great perfumes ,exotic jewelry ,beaches ,desert safaris & enjoying tasty cuisines. As a part of our 2 team lunches ,we enjoyed Lebanese food, beverages & sweet dishes. Let me put some super cool dishes here – Lentil soup ,Baklava ,Bulgur ,Fatteh ,Mulukkhiyah,Borek.
Work culture at UAE is quite systematic. Always on time meetings & to the point agenda. People are quite focused and yes not to forget we follow Sunday-Thursday working calendar.
Finally , i would like to conclude here saying that SAP gives immense opportunities for consultants and managers to travel around the world ,explore new work cultures ,people & challenges. Never miss any good chance and always enjoy your stay abroad. Forget that you will have any problems like Jet lags ,improper food ,language barrier ,Forex issues etc. Our Mobility team & Forex team are always at their best and you will not have any issues.
Few recommendations :
- Try to book service apartments so that you can cook and enjoy home food.
- Always stay close to customer office so as to avoid daily office travels.
- Keep some cash in local currency handy.
- Always keep mobility team informed on your travel plans.
- Stay connected with your offshore team and enjoy working.
- Don’t forget to submit your TER!!
To end here is a quote :
What I found appealing in life abroad was the inevitable sense of helplessness it would inspire. Equally exciting would be the work involved in overcoming that helplessness. There would be a goal involved, and I liked having goals. – David Sedaris
Bon Voyage !!!!
Nice! It was interesting reading about your travels. When I was doing consultant work, it was in the US. Sadly the travel drove me a little crazy. But it could have simply been timing. I had a 3 year old, and I always wanted to go home for him.
People - yes, I have noticed the difference here. We work with companies in other countries. I can even feel a difference there. From my experience, I would have to ask question of my Indian friends after I explained something. Why? Well because they didn't always ask questions for clarification. And when I know the project, I didn't always explain it well. Time differences can be exhausting for teams in different time zones.
Did you travel home at all during your travels?
Yes i did couple of fly-backs to home
I think most of us in consulting will have some experiences to share. One such memorable experience I have is from Maldives, where we went high sea fishing overnight and then had some freshly boiled fish in the morning. The travel to and from used to be on a boat and we could see colorful fish in the sea from our desks. People in Male hardly sleep. You can see coffee shops everywhere. Absolutely wonderful people.
Amazing Trishant..Thanks for sharing
Wonderful snapshot and very well said Shubham. Love the recommendations at the end too, they are so important.
Great write up. 🙂
Work life Balance.. 🙂