We assisted Robert to move to Papua New Guinea where he had the opportunity to work across the beautiful South Pacific region. He recently offered to tell us about his experiences, this is his story.
“I moved to London back in the fall of 2010 with the intention of continuing my career in London. I attended several interviews but at the time they were not offering positions at the level I wanted. Then one of your colleagues phoned me up and suggested an opportunity in Papua New Guinea. I was quite surprised as I had never considered Papua New Guinea as a place to work, but I was open to listening to the opportunity.
It was a role working for one of Big Four at Director level. There was a big salary, interesting clients and it sounded like a very good role. The only thing I needed to know a bit more about was the location. I got a call from the firm’s Head Office in Australia as the Papua New Guinea office reports into the Sydney Head Office. It sounded like a very good opportunity. I would get to go out and visit clients out in the Solomon Islands, Fiji and get to Audit an oil company in Cairns, so there seems to be a lot of opportunities. After talking it through and hearing more about the role and location I decided to give it a go.”
“Papua New Guinea can best be described as a society in transition from its tribal roots to a modern society. It was a bit of a culture shock when I went over there but reading Expat blogs prepared me for it. There was a bit of petty crime but you got to be open minded and you’ve got to be respectful of the local people. Expats would usually go out in groups for things like Friday night drinks. But once I had understood the culture and where to go and where not to go, I found it a pleasant experience. I visited the five six biggest cities in Papua New Guinea going on assignments, to festivals and carnivals – I found it very interesting. I was able to enjoy a lot of the island’s dancing, paintings and culture. Most of the people in Papua New Guinea are peaceful and friendly so wherever I went was pretty welcoming.”
The Work Experience
“I really enjoyed my three and a half years in Papua New Guinea. In terms of work, I was based out of Port Moresby but was getting flown out to audit all over the South Pacific. I was flown to Cairns (Australia) to work on an audit engagement with a big oil company so that was a great experience. As we were a branch office reporting out of the Australia Head Office I got to go over quite often, flying out to Sydney, Brisbane and Cairns. I loved in auditing in Fiji, each time we went over there it was for three weeks at a time auditing the Bank South Pacific. I got to travel around to Suva and Nadi and see the local culture which was really nice getting souvenirs and trying the local cooking. I then went to the Solomon Islands where we did an audit for a Financial Services organisation and a telecommunications company. Even when I was in Papua New Guinea I would be auditing clients in Madang, Lihir Island, Goroka, Mt. Hagen and other places. Sometimes we would be going to the Goroka Festival or the Mt. Hagen Festival, so you’d get to see a lot of dancing, a lot of costumes that sort of thing. I had a very interesting job leading the IT Auditor function, I was working with a lot of banks, a lot of government organisations, and at the same time travelling and mixing business with pleasure. You would be going to a lot of festivals and carnivals it was a really nice combination so I was able to see a lot of cultures so that was really good.”
“In Port Moresby, it’s quite a quiet place but it depends on what you like. The standard of living for Expats is very good, you live in a gated community where you have swimming pools, tennis courts, gym, restaurants, bars so you could be in some of these complexes for the whole weekend without needing to come out. You could choose to stay in that Expat bubble where you could almost have a life comparable to back in London. But it’s only when you go out of that bubble do you get to become localised. So, in summary, I had a very pleasant experience and I would recommend to anyone to go there.”
The benefits of working abroad
“From working abroad, you learn to develop different strategies for different people and you also benefit from knowing customs. You learn to appreciate and work with different people. If you come over here to work you may get a bit of a culture shock, but if you are open minded you’ll be ok. People are nice, there is a rich culture – so my advice would be to try to understand the culture.
My Think Global Recruitment consultant was fantastic, he gave me a lot of information about my firm and Papua New Guinea. He kept on it throughout the process, speaking to me regularly and to the client. He listened to me at the offer stage and got me what I wanted. Even after I had been there for a few months he called me to ask how I was doing, so it was a great experience.”
We would like to thank Robert for sharing his story and wish him all the best for the future.
Please get in touch with us here if you would like to discuss moving overseas with one of our advisors.