Fanny: “I did all my career at ALTEN and there is a real opportunity to evolve in a big Group”
Could you introduce yourself in a few words?
Hello, my name is Fanny, I am 28 years old. I come from Stockholm in Sweden. I studied engineering at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. During my studies, I did an ERASMUS program in France, at Ecole Centrale de Paris. I am a big fan of sports, both performing and watching. I especially enjoy watching big championships and tournaments (Olympic Games, World Championship, etc.) where Sweden participates.
What was your first motivation to move abroad?
First, I wanted to improve my French because my father is French but we never spoke this language at home. We had one rule: we speak Swedish in Sweden and French in France. So, I came here to practice my skills. Secondly, I wanted to experience a new culture and country. So, when I got the job in Belgium at ALTEN and I thought “why not!?”. I just wanted to discover something else than Sweden where I spent all my life.
How did you get this job opportunity?
Actually, I applied to the International Business Program at ALTEN. I first had interviews with Sweden and then with Belgium, where there was a job opportunity as “Business Manager”. I accepted it and I thus started my first job in 2014!
How were the first 3 months in your new country and job?
Everything was new: new language, new work, new city. Everything!
I had to discover a lot and learn new things, which was in the beginning exhausting.
First the mission at ALTEN was demanding and I had to learn the job. Even though I had the “Amplify” training program, I still had to learn a lot by myself.
I also had to find a new home but it was not that difficult because I arrived 2 or 3 days before. Then, I had to discover Brussels, my new city I did not know. Actually, the first months were very intense also because I had to translate everything. Learning and translating at the same time is very challenging!
What are the main issues you had to cope with at the beginning?
Paperwork for sure! The language barrier was very difficult in administrations.
Then, I would say that it was hard to feel like home at first because I did not have all my belongings. It was a substantial organization to get all of them coming from Sweden to Belgium!
Do you feel now integrated in the company? In the country? How have you been welcomed?
I do feel integrated in the company, and I got several friends in ALTEN. I even shared a house with one colleague some time ago. I also feel integrated in the country but not really involved. I do not vote for example. The main explanation I think is that I know that Belgium is a temporary home. With the European Commission here in Brussels, the city is established as a stopover and people come and go all the time. But for sure I feel good here since Brussels is my stopping place since 4 years now!
I have to say that I felt welcomed when I arrived. The team was very small and very welcoming with me. Also, Brussels is a very open and welcoming city. It was easy making new friends.
Do you think that this opportunity will bring you more possibilities within the ALTEN Group?
I am sure of it. I did all my career at ALTEN and there is a real opportunity to evolve in a big Group. I saw people enjoying their mobility, I am in the international center and I often meet International Directors when they pass by in Brussels.
Is this step in your career was the best decision to make and why?
Four years ago, I had to choose between this job and another one in Sweden. I decided to move here. I had lived almost all my life in Sweden and I needed to discover new people, a new environment. For me it was the best decision to make at the time because I needed to create my own path.
What kind of advice would you give to people who are willing to work abroad?
Above all, you have to be flexible and proactive. When I arrived I did not know anyone so I did my best to meet a lot of new people. The best option is to share a house because you see new people all the time. That is how I met one of my best friends for example! So my main advice would be: be prepared to adapt to situations you did not even imagine yet.
What could be the next step for you in a medium-term period?
Everything depends on what I am proposed to do. Belgium is a growing market so it is possible to take responsibilities but the ALTEN Group offers also other opportunities so I do not know. I stay open to opportunities!
What ALTEN should improve to facilitate mobility?
ALTEN could be clearer about opportunities and processes about mobility in the Group. We do not really know the period of time we need to do a mobility or the different job offers or new areas that are being developed in the Group.