Benefits of international assignments
By Niloufer Thomas, Thomson Reuters
As a Learning Consultant for the IaaS Learning project, I was given the opportunity, in Q4 of last year, to go on a three-month assignment in London to get closer to the business and fast-track my learning support. The trip turned out to be so much more than a business assignment and gave me some great new perspective on our business and culture.
Over the years, I’ve met a number of people who have travelled on international assignments for durations ranging from a few weeks to a few years. The experiences are often similar in some ways, but there are certain things that aren’t talked about either because they haven’t realized it or because words cannot describe it. So I’d like to share some highlights, but I know – as others do – that words can’t do justice for such an amazing experience.
I started supporting the Learning project for Aurora in late 2010 with expectations and assumptions on what I would learn from the project…new technology, learning related tools, opportunity to work closer with the Heads of Business. As I reflect on my time in London, I learned all this and so much more.
A few highlights:
- Q4 included a number of organization changes that we had to work through to ensure the project progressed. There were times I wondered if I would survive the day, but I not only survived, we made great progress!
- Working in London allowed me to build and strengthen relationships with Specialists & Heads of Business – and the strength of those bonds has carried over now that they’re back in Bangalore.
- My respect for the knowledge and experience of our Business Specialists is extremely high, and I left London with a strong sense that knowledge and experience prevail.
- I learned how important it is to identify and understand cross-cultural differences and find ways to work around them. There are differences in the way people learn and what is important from their perspective. One size does not fit all.
- International assignments can have far-reaching benefits. Colleagues in London told me that I’ve positively changed their perception of the knowledge and expertise we have in Bangalore.
On a personal level, working and living in London gave me a great feeling of accomplishment. I’ve always wanted to travel to Europe and it felt great to be there and be so independent in a new home. Deep down, many of us look to management, colleagues, family, friends, etc, to recognize our efforts, and make us feel that we have accomplished a lot and are successful. While that is good, try realizing that about yourself and you’ll see that nothing can stop you. My trip to London helped me realize a lot about myself, and I’m more confident and more driven than ever to work harder for what I want. Dreams do come true.