We’ve had the pleasure of assisting Genevieve with her move abroad to Malta. Recently we caught up with her to find out how life is going living on the island.
With sun, beaches, ice cream, and great coffee all around; we’re delighted to share Genevieve’s story in her own words, her experiences, and the advice she has for others.
‘It’s a personal thing.’
‘My big dream has always been to move abroad. I got my degree, did a secondment, and with that it made it possible for me to apply, and I got a lot of experience. I’m still trying to get my ACCA and once I’ve got that then it’s onto the next step.’
‘I think as a woman it was a safety matter for me to go abroad, especially here in Malta it’s quite safe. I can walk to the shop or go for a run when it’s dark out and nothing will happen. People laugh because I always have pepper spray on me all the time and they ask, ‘but why?’ So, it’s quite refreshing.’
‘The biggest thing for me settling into the new role was the methodology.’
‘This year was a rough year for us because the firm ended up merging with the Mediterranean. So there was a lot of cross over happening and we had to change the accounting system that we were using, which was quite challenging for me having to settle into the new role. The way they approach their audits and the way they want things done is different. It was quite a lot that’s happening at the same time.’
‘Also, the language barrier. I got put into the national team, which is mostly Maltese people and they are just more comfortable speaking in Maltese. When I was living in London, you’d never hear somebody speaking a different language. Here, people will speak in Maltese whether you’re in the conversation or not. But overall the people here are quite friendly.’
‘I’ve grown quite a lot.’
‘I think in both ways [professionally and personally] I’ve grown quite a lot. I wanted to move to a country where I didn’t know anybody, like I said me and my big dream, because I wanted to prove to myself that I can actually stand on my own two feet.’
‘When I came here I made friends quite quickly. I mean I was really surprised at how quickly it happened. I was quite lucky I think in the sense that when I arrived there was a leaving party, so I basically met 10 people on the first night! So, when I walked into the office the next day, there were already a couple of familiar faces. But yes, it’s definitely made me stronger. I mean you’re all alone and you don’t have a support system, but I managed to survive. Now I can laugh about it, and things don’t upset me as much anymore.’
‘And professionally as well, you learn something new with everything audit. Now I’m doing something I’ve never done before which is good. It’s one of the reasons I decided to move as well in the first place, it was for the experience I wanted to get and I wanted to learn.’
‘Currently I’m busy doing an audit on a firm that’s going through liquidation, which has its differences, so that’s also something new and challenging. You have to wrap your head around the legal team, and involve them in the audit. But I think mainly the scale and the approach is different and I get more exposure on sectors that I didn’t before. Now I do work on shipping companies which is huge in Malta, and on retail, and manufacturing.’
‘You can go anywhere and you’ll never eat bad ice cream.’
‘The summer! They told me it never rains here, but when I arrived I pretty much almost drowned in the main road! (Laughs) So when it rains, it floods and you literally need a boat to get to the office, it’s insane! But, the summer is really nice. I enjoy the beaches, they’re quite small. And what’s nice is that you can have a BBQ on the beach. The water is amazing! It doesn’t get cold and there’s no waves. There’s no sharks! So that’s really nice to just go to the beach over the weekend and relax.’
‘When my family came over, I got to do some of the sightseeing. It’s very historical, and it’s a very beautiful island. We went to the Dingli Cliffs, which are like the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland, which were breath-taking. The buildings are beautiful and the nature on the island.’
‘We had a candle light festival which we went to last week, and this weekend we’re going to the chocolate festival. Everything is in a pastry here. The ice cream is amazing! You can go anywhere and you’ll never eat bad ice cream. You can go to any coffee shop and the coffee will be good. That’s always a highlight for me. Also, the fireworks! They have fireworks here in the summer, every day and sometimes at 8 o’clock in the morning. No one could really explain why at 8 o’clock in the morning. It’s beautiful, every night you can go anywhere and there will be fireworks somewhere.’
‘It was my birthday a few weeks ago and I wasn’t going to do anything, but my friend said, ‘no we have to do something!’ So, I invited the people I know and hang out with, and it turns out it was 20 people and everybody came. It was the first time in my life that I had such a big get together, so the people here are nicer. But it also depends on yourself and your personality, because I’m outgoing and I put myself out there to meet new people, so it’s been great.’
‘You have to have an open mind.’
You will encounter lots of different cultures. One of the big things I think people tend to struggle with is the culture shock. If you leave your own country and your own comfort zone, then you have to be open to change, because it will come and it will be tough. Especially if you go alone.’
‘In the end, if you’re open to change, it’ll be ok. I enjoy making friends with people from different cultures. You get to learn a bit about their background, their countries, and I’ve learnt so much about the different languages, so for me it’s been a very enriching experience. I’m happy I made the choice to move.’
We would like to thank Genevieve for sharing her story with us and wish her all the best the future.
If you’re interested in taking your career global, we’re here to help. Please get in touch with us here to talk about your move abroad with our trusted consultants.