The branch held its first virtual technology meeting of the year on 10 February, where John de Castro (a long-time friend of the Durban SAIMC) gave us some insight into his experiences working abroad. The attendance was good and the presentation was very interactive with plenty of feedback from another expat currently working in Saudi Arabia.
John de Castro braving the sub-zero temperatures in Kazakhstan.
John has been fortunate to have worked in the People’s Republic of China, Singapore, Malaysia, Angola, and more recently, the Republic of Kazakhstan. Paired with interesting and delightful photographs, John took us through each of his tours of duty, highlighting the tourist attractions (and food), the extreme and sometimes challenging weather conditions, as well as the more mundane office environments, and we even got to ‘meet’ some of his foreign colleagues along the way. One of the highlights for John was the cultural differences and it was great to see how expat workers are included in cultural festivities, weddings and the like, which of course adds so much value to any experience like this.
From the point of view of seeing the world, this was certainly the ‘glitz and glamour’ side of expat working, but we got to see some of the downside as well, like the constant waits in airports, economy class travel on extra-long flights, lost baggage, and of course, missing out on so much family time. One of the take-aways from this presentation was with all the different package options on offer, we were urged to ‘read the small print’ and ensure we are up to speed on matters of tax.
Entertaining and interesting, John’s presentation was a great way to kick-start the year and the branch thanks him for taking the time to speak to us.
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