Keeping in mind of the differences in language and working habits, we were mentally prepared for an array of difficulties and challenges prior to arrival in Addis Ababa. Yet, we were wrong. Contrary to popular beliefs about African nations, Ethiopia takes on a culture that entails great kindliness and respect. Every day we are greeted with smiles and handshakes from the locals. Despite some of the locals are not so well-versed in English, they would still make an effort to drop words of concerns. All these deeply warmed our heart and eased the process of settling in a foreign country.

Keeping in mind of the differences in language and working habits, we were mentally prepared for an array of difficulties and challenges prior to arrival in Addis Ababa. Yet, we were wrong. Contrary to popular beliefs about African nations, Ethiopia takes on a culture that entails great kindliness and respect. Every day we are greeted with smiles and handshakes from the locals. Despite some of the locals are not so well-versed in English, they would still make an effort to drop words of concerns. All these deeply warmed our heart and eased the process of settling in a foreign country.

During work, as we approach our local colleagues to clarify doubts, they are always more than willing to help us despite their busy schedule. Even as we raise certain recommendations to streamline the business operations, which might result in them doing more work, they always maintain a receptive attitude and strive to cooperate with us to implement our suggestions.

Travelling in a foreign country has never been easier with the strong hospitality and peace-loving nature of Ethiopians. In events when we are unsure of directions, the locals would readily help us and offer to guide us to our desired destinations. Walking on the streets during late nights were so safe as if we were in Singapore.

Ethiopians hold an immense pride towards their country and local culture. They would always encourage foreigners to understand their culture by bringing them to try the local cuisines and practices etc. All these great hospitality made us feel at home and gave us a valuable opportunity to appreciate their culture.

Besides the interaction with locals over here, working in a foreign subsidiary of Wilmar also meant that we had the chance of meeting several international colleagues from the various subsidiaries of Wilmar in India, Sri Lanka, China and Ghana. Through working and interacting n with them, we got to understand a bit more about the culture of their respective countries and this had greatly enriched our experience here. We also exchanged opinions on world issues and the discrepancies in the standard of living across different countries. These discussions offered us new perspectives to examine an issue.

All in all, it was truly a fulfilling and enriching experience in Ethiopia. Not only we had an in-depth understanding of Wilmar operations in developing nations, there was also a fruitful exchange of ideas with the locals and the expatriates with many bonds forged. This internship would definitely be one of our stories to tell in the future and we are deeply grateful for this experience in Ethiopia – the country with 13 months of sunshine.

Contributed by: Ng Jun Hao | Teo Joo Hou

Published : 18 July 16

 

 

 

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