In 2011, Leah moved from the Philippines to the romantic, paradise island of St Kitts where she worked a 3-year contract with a Big Four accountancy firm. As her contract came to a close, Leah got in touch with Think Global Recruitment for a second time to further her overseas adventures. Leah is now based in the Isle of Man, just off the coast of England, where she is thoroughly enjoying the new style of island life. We caught up with Leah to ask her a few questions about her time overseas and here is what she had to say.
What motivated your original move overseas?
I was looking to gain international exposure and the chance for career progression, moving overseas was an experience that I had always wanted to gain. I really enjoy training and different office cultures and moving overseas provided me with this.
In the Philippines, the hours are crazy. Because it is such a big workload, it was sometimes quite difficult to learn everything – it was so fast paced, you do things so quickly so that you can move onto the next task so it can be quite hard to take it all in. Somehow, I learned to manage my time, but I still yearned for a better work-life balance.
A lot of my friends have left the Philippines and so I only really see them on Facebook!
What were your concerns with making an international move?
I had no idea what to expect from the culture but I wanted to be adventurous. When I first moved to St Kitt’s, I was the only Filipino in my firm. ack1-2While I was looking for somewhere to stay, I lived in the Marriott, I made friends with a Filipino chef – it was nice to have another Filipino there.
On the Isle of Man, there is a huge Filipino community so it’s really nice knowing that your fellow countrymen are there when you are so far away, it’s very comforting.
How long has it taken you to settle into the Isle of Man?
I arrived about a week ago but I already feel settled, the estate agents were very quick at helping me find a flat and I’m moving on Friday!
Abigail (Managing Director – Think Global Recruitment) was kind enough to put me in contact with another girl who she has assisted in moving from the Philippines, she was supposed to meet me at the airport but sadly the weather was too bad. We meet up regularly now and we are friends.
Did anything disappoint you about your locations?
The only disappointment that I’ve had so far is that my husband is not here yet! He is currently applying for his visa so he should be here soon.
In the Philippines, there are so many shops but I hardly had enough money to buy all that I really wanted. It was the opposite in St Kitts – I was able to save as there were very limited shops! Most of the shopping had to be done online which is quite difficult if you are getting the wrong sizes and have to send things back.
The Isle of Man is so close to London and I will be going there for a training course in a few weeks’ time so I am really looking forward to the shops! I’m not going to eat for the next week so that I can save money!
What are the main benefits of making an international move?
The work life balance on the Isle of Man is amazing! In the Philippines, I used to feel guilty leaving my work on time, even during the not-so-busy season. I think the longest I stayed there was three days straight with the client. On the Isle of Man, the latest I have to stay is 5.30pm so I have a lot of spare time now! Though I expect that I may have to spend more time when we’re really into our busy season. My officemates here assure me that it will not be as crazy as what I had.
My firm, they’re really into people developing, they always set goals and follow up on them to check your progress. They are very serious about it and it’s nice to know that they are always looking out for you.
The work experience I have had has been amazing, things that I have learned have really helped me to understand my profession, the way they do things here are much different to back home.
There is also the added bonus that internet speed is much faster than the Philippines!
What are the benefits of working with Think Global Recruitment?
I worked with Abigail, the managing director, she has a way with words. She used her knowledge and experience to coach me for my interviews. She helped and gave loads of details about how many people were in my firm on the Isle of Man and made sure that I would be able to answer all of the questions that they asked me.
Abigail was really nice to me throughout the process, she really listened to what I wanted. I had no idea she was the founder of Think Global Recruitment, she is very humble.
Do you have any advice for other CAs who are considering the move?
Do your research, see if there is a community there, look for people who have made the move too, they really can help you settle faster.
Find someone to look after you and tell you all about the local area – the things you can do and the things that you cannot do (like the shops in St Kitts) you also need to know what to pack etc,
Since speaking with Leah, her husband has arrived on the Isle of Man and they have been busy working and exploring! It was lovely to chat to her and hear about her experiences.
Please get in touch with us here if you would like to discuss moving overseas with one of our advisors.