Expat Stories: Diana Diaz and Jaime Bustamante
Introducing our Latin America experts!
Please meet two of our regional Latin America in-house experts, Diana Diaz and Jaime Bustamante. Both Diana and Jaime have experienced living in Europe and Latin America and have kindly agreed to share their insights and tips for relocating to a new country.
Tell me about your role and your experience of relocating.
Diana: I am Colombian, and I began working at Mauve Group in 2014. I lived in my home country throughout my life until about four years ago when I moved to the UK to continue my role at Mauve Group as Business Development Manager for Latin America and Spain. The decision to move to another country was influenced by the great international opportunity this would bring for my professional career, the opportunity to learn about another culture, the chance to meet new people, work with an international team and of course the possibility to live in one of the most interesting, multi-cultural and beautiful countries in the world - in addition to being able to polish my business English.
Working as the Business Development Manager for the Latin American region and Spain and being based in Europe has enabled Mauve Group to help, advise and assist European companies with the process of international expansion and access to the Latin American market.
Jaime: At Mauve Group, I look after all business in the Latin America region, Hispanic countries, and Spain. I am based in Bogotá, Colombia and I connect Latin America with outbound opportunities across the globe and support businesses with inbound global mobility projects across the region. Our compliant global employment services attract organisations to Latin America because of the great business opportunities, employability levels, quality of the talent, breadth of the talent pool and bi-lingual people.
My experiences of living abroad in London, Bournemouth, and Madrid made me realise that I wanted my career to be focused on the field of business internationalisation. When I first moved to London, it really opened my mind, as I had the opportunity to learn about a new culture and country. I consider the UK my second home, my best mate is from there and I find London, in particular, a fascinating city because it is such a unique place and a window to different cultures. Madrid is equally wonderful, I love that it is a traditional city but at the same time modern; not too big, but not too small and with a very good gastronomic offer.
How did you prepare for relocation?
Diana: One of the most important aspects of preparing for relocation was getting my work visa organised and acquiring legal status to reside in the UK. Equally, for tax reasons, I had to alert the Colombian government that I was going to be a resident in another country. I had to complete each of the necessary steps to be able to move to another country and being organised with documentation is the key. I didn’t spend too much time thinking about material items such as clothes. I knew I would need a whole new wardrobe when I moved anyway because of the different climate.
Jaime: Knowing how to speak English proficiently helped both with the preparation and transition to London. Both times I relocated I was pursuing academic studies which gave me a focus on what to prepare for! Then came job opportunities in multinational companies, most of them with projects in Latin America. Destiny clearly wanted me to serve as a connection between Latin America and the rest of the world!
Were there any factors which made relocation easier?
Diana: Working for a company that specialises in global employment, relocation services and visa and immigration assistance made it much easier. I was fortunate to be in the hands of experts! I had to provide the information and documentation, but everything was very easy.
Jaime: When I moved to Madrid, I had already lived abroad in London and understood the value of professional services companies such as Mauve Group. I relocated to Spain to continue with my academic studies and was fortunate enough to gain support from my educational institution to assist with the relocation process. I found it is always better to pay for these services because it guarantees that your documentation is correct.
What were the most challenging aspects of relocation?
Diana: Relocating was a scary experience despite it being a good opportunity. All change brings some uncertainty at the beginning. Moving to another country that is new from every point of view can be quite challenging, which made the first few months quite tricky. Initially, I was in explorer mode, discovering and learning how to get around, naturally, this is the case when you are in the process of adapting. Now after a few years, I'm fascinated to have the opportunity to live in this country, in this city.
Jaime: When I first moved to London, one of the challenges I found was that everything was new, despite having a good proficiency in English. It was not my first experience living by myself, but it was my first living abroad. In comparison, when I relocated to Madrid, it was easier because the culture was more similar to Colombia. I also had more professional experience, and the university took care of all the details so that I could enjoy my time in Spain while doing my master's degree.
How important do you think it is to have experts such as Mauve Group, to assist and guide you through the relocation process?
Diana: I think it is very important to consult with experts from both the employer and employee perspective. Professional service providers, such as Mauve Group guide companies through expansion and relocation services and help companies to understand what they can expect when moving employees around the world. Having employees spread across the world can contribute to the success of a business by giving the organisation greater visibility across global markets and employing a broader range of talent, with multiple perspectives and life experiences.
Jaime: I think it is key. Many of the in-house experts at Mauve have experienced relocation themselves which gives them additional insights to help organisations with overseas assignments projects. Equally, businesses trust the experience and knowledge that Mauve Group has acquired over the last twenty-seven years to compliantly support global expansion projects.
What is your favourite part of living abroad?
Diana: I can now travel to new countries much more easily because of the proximity to mainland Europe. Equally because of the flexible nature of my job, I can travel around the world and spend periods back home in Colombia every year.
Jaime: My favourite part is my love for experiencing new cultures. I consider myself a nomadic individual - I wish I could be omnipresent so could always be in new places, because it is important to never stop wanting to learn new things! You can learn from books, meet new people, and the best experience will always be sitting at a table with locals and enjoying their cuisine.
What is your top tip for moving to a new country?
Diana: In addition to having a desire to live in another country, I would advise researching and speaking with people who have been in a similar situation. It is also important to focus on how to achieve this goal, such as what steps you can take to achieve it. Equally, I would advise consulting with specialists, such as Mauve Group to assist with relocation services.
Jaime: I would always advise planning. Whilst you can’t control every aspect of relocation, your preparation will help you react and navigate the situation in the best way possible. Also, everyone should ensure they have international health and medical insurance services and support from experts, such as Mauve to assist with a smooth experience.
What surprised you the most about the relocation experience?
Diana: It is interesting for me as a Latin person to understand British culture. Although there are things that differentiate us from the British, I think there are similarities between how we welcome people from other countries, and both try to be as helpful as possible, but, the dancing, the "recocha", that's something only we Latinos have.
Jaime: Naturally, you never know quite what to expect when you move abroad. Everyone was so welcoming and accommodating when I arrived in London, Bournemouth, and Madrid. I think if you have the right attitude, remain open-minded and show respect to anyone you meet you will have the best experience.
If your organisation is looking to expand overseas and requires immigration and visa support, find out how our global HR solutions could help your organisation, contact us today.
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