Daniela’s reflection on her time working in a foreign country


I’m writing this article as my last footprint as Outsource Institute of Technology’s Marketing and Strategic Planning Consultant. My name is Daniela Iniguez, and I came from Mexico to Australia with the purpose of studying my Master’s degrees in Business at the University of Queensland. When I decided to study my Master’s degree overseas, I never imagined my experience would include having the whole package together: studying business while applying my knowledge in the real world. Definitely working in a foreign country enriched my entire experience living in Australia, among many other things, it helped me understand the Australian culture better and allowed me to share a piece of Mexico with my work mates.

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As this is my last week in the office, I took some time to reflect on my experience and I can honestly say it has been an adventure. My conclusion is that almost everything I’ve learned in this organisation, not only applies to my work experience, but to life itself.

Work-life balance is achievable

One of the first cultural differences that I noticed in comparison to life in Mexico, is that in Australia everyone follows a schedule. It doesn’t matter if it’s to start your day, having morning tea or lunch, here it’s important to take breaks while working and to leave the office at the right time. But beyond a schedule, this represents a respect for other people’s time. In Australia, family time and hobbies are as important as being good at your job. If you spend more hours at the office doing overtime, eventually it will affect your personal life and eventually your performance at the office.

In my country, everybody talks about having a work-life balance but it is very difficult to put that into practice and expecting to have a successful professional life at the same time. Here I discovered that, to achieve a work-life balance you have to respect the hours of work productivity as much as the hours you spend doing your hobbies or having a nice glass of wine in your hand.

Nothing better than real life lessons

Before arriving in Australia, I tried to research as much as I could about this vast and foreign place: customers, culture, weather, does and don’ts, etc., however nothing compares to learning first-hand particularly the communication aspect which is a big cultural barrier almost everyone experiences when travelling/living abroad. Even though I’ve been studying English since I was in primary school, I thought English would be the least of my worries, though I found this was more difficult than I expected!

Personality is reflected in the way people communicate with each other, and when I realised communication flowed differently to what I was used to, I faced a big culture shock! Though, working in an Aussie environment really helped me obtain a deeper understanding in real Aussie lingo. I won’t say that it was easy, I have to admit I spent my first month here nodding to people without actually knowing what they were saying, and running onto Google to use Urban Dictionary in order to get the meaning of the phrases I was hearing – there were so many surprises and good laughs! The amount of Aussie slang people use to express themselves is amazing, and I can safely say that Mexicans and Australians definitely share that characteristic.

Planning is good, but he prepared for the unexpected!

I had everything planned for when I was to arrive in Australia… on paper of course. I thought I had thought of every possible scenario that could happen and I developed a backup plan so that I could feel prepared and be one step ahead. The reality is, it was completely different! I was not prepared for what my future held. I never dreamed I could have a job that was related to my career (hence why I did not bring appropriate office attire). I was expecting a similar lifestyle I had in Mexico, but just with a different stage. The end result was that Brisbane is so different and so much better from what I had anticipated. I was expecting to increase my knowledge by studying my Master’s degree… The reality: I have been learning more from the experience and by living life in Australia. I wouldn’t say don’t plan, because it is important to be prepared, but somewhere between planning and ‘chilling’, is where you will experience the most unexpected, amazing opportunities for growth and life fulfilment.

I really want to thank Outsource Institute for this tremendous opportunity. I have learnt so much from this experience, and for that I will be forever grateful.

Muchas gracias por todo, les deseo un future brillante (thank you very much for everything, I wish you a bright future)

Daniela Iñiguez

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