The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step…
It was the 2nd of August, 07:10 a.m. in Carrasco Airport, Montevideo. There I was with my two big suitcases and my laptop. I went out through the automatic doors and I could already feel the high wind blowing through my hair. For a moment, I wondered if I was still in Denmark. But no, that was Uruguay in plain winter, that was me for the first time in Latin America and those were the first steps of my new journey in Montevideo for the next 5 months.
But wait, you will wonder who I am and what my new journey will be about?
My name is Elisabete, I am Spanish and currently an International Business Trainee working in IT-Logistics Solutions. I was given the opportunity to work in a Logistics Project in Uruguay office, with the objective of establishing the Logistics setup in Chile to distribute BESTSELLER products in the Chilean market by optimizing costs.
Being born in Spain, I assumed I would feel like “home” because of similarities with my home country. But once being here, I realized that there are many differences. Even with the language. Although the official language in Uruguay is Spanish, I got stuck in conversations suddenly and had to ask about the meanings of specific words, because they have different meanings in Spain. This is fun, especially, when you are in a team among Spanish, Uruguayans, Chileans, Colombians and Mexicans. We always end up joking about it, trying to guess who speaks best Spanish!
BESTSELLER LATAM team
BESTSELLER LATAM international team is located on the 20th and 21st floors of World Trade Center tower in Montevideo. I remember my first day in this office, I was amazed by the view. Due to the flat land of “El Uruguay” as they call it, you can enjoy seeing kilometers of coast.
In the first days, I felt a bit “out of place”, due to the fact that I was on the other side of the world in a matter of hours and that it was winter suddenly for me in August! It always takes a bit of time to get used to new environments. However, due to the Uruguayans’ openness and nice attitude, I felt welcomed and well-received from the beginning. Did you know that in Uruguay everyone greets you with a kiss on the cheek? While in Spain you kiss on both cheeks and in Denmark you shake hands, this is something that I had to get used to.
But today, the end of October, I can already say that I feel like home here and trying to get as much as I can from this experience.
A steep learning curve
I am continuously learning and it is a change coming from the big offices in Denmark to the new office in Uruguay with 41 employees, which was opened about 2 years ago. One can feel the entrepreneurial atmosphere in the office. In 2 years’ time it has already been able to enter into 10 different markets. New countries, new customers and different ways of handling each customer makes it challenging, but at the same time it gives a sense of motivation; motivation to help the business grow and see the results really fast. This is what a fast business like BESTSELLER is all about!
The uniqueness of being an IBT
I also realized that whenever thinking about solutions for the project that I am working in, I consider different aspects and think with a broader mind than just Logistics. As an IBT, we have the advantage that we get all the necessary training and knowledge in order to get the whole picture of BESTSELLER’s value chain and its complexity. This is really valuable when talking with any employee in the company, making it easier to understand their points and interests and find solutions which are beneficial not just for Logistics, but for BESTSELLER as a whole.
I feel grateful and lucky, not just by the amount of knowledge, growth and experience that I am gaining through this stationing in Uruguay, but I am also personally becoming more and more open minded and aware when it comes to cultures. Sometimes we tend to think that by speaking same languages, the cultures could also be similar in some countries, but then you realize that there is much more to learn from each other and that makes you feel eager and enriches you.
Well, what else could I ask for?
Oh! We had “Sweet Friday” in the office today. I grabbed a piece of cake as source of energy for the last hours of work this week.
Next week, I will continue contributing to BESTSELLER LATAM which is becoming bigger and bigger, overcoming challenges and always remembering that the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step…