3/17/2016

The story of a Belgian in the USA. Atlanta is home.

An important step when you’re moved to another country, is when you start calling your new home, ‘home’. Home is Atlanta. I love visiting my friends and family in Belgium, but it is not home anymore. You get used to guns and ammo in the aisle next to the children’s toys, you think it is perfectly OK to drive 5 hours to go to the beach for a Saturday out, you find it incomprehensible that stores are closing before 3 a.m. in the morning, you do not look weird when shops refuse to sell you a bottle of wine before 12.30 on Sunday, you will start drinking sweet ice tea voluntarily, and you actually believe chicken and waffles is a good idea for breakfast. Chances are you will still look for a choice of chocolate and you will dream of having frietjes met stoofvleessaus. But you will accept that those things will need to wait for your next trip abroad, to that far away country named Belgium.

The experience

Even with all the weird things going on with yourself, you will still love the experience. No matter what the reasons are for you to want to (temporarily) leave your country for another one. The experience must be your biggest motivator. It is the only thing that is guaranteed. No matter where you are from, or what your goals are, moving to another country is always a jump into the dark. I have seen friends make a new life, and I have seen others falling into the home-sickness trap. Moving across the globe is never going to be an easy thing to do. At least moving with Delaware Consulting, we’ve got a reason to do it. To help connect teams, bridge language and culture gaps and spread the Delaware values over the continents and offices.

It's a cultural thing

Many people think ‘values’ or ‘corporate culture’ are just some buzzwords without any meaning. From my experience I could not disagree more. Those of us traveling much, and especially those in consulting jobs visiting many different and new clients all the time, have surely noticed how remarkably similar companies operate across borders and oceans. You can pretty much guess how customers will react in the US office, by knowing the people in the Belgian office. Our corporate culture is important to our customers, and I am very happy and proud to be able to incorporate our Delaware Consulting culture to our North American presence. It is something our customers not only appreciate, they expect it. It is something I know many colleagues, including our partners, find important as well.

My mission

That is why I am writing down my story today: in hopes that others will follow me, and spread our Delaware Consulting culture across the world. So we can act even more as one global entity, with strong local ties. Whether you would like to travel to other offices for training, projects or take the big jump and actually move… It is important that you let your intentions and desires know to the people within your organizations that can help you achieve this.

There are many obstacles (language, society, government, type of opportunities, etc.), and not everyone may be as lucky as I was to get the opportunity. But if you do not express the will to try and overcome those obstacles, it is impossible for any organization to give you the chance to prove yourself. I do not know where I will be in five years’ time. This depends on the US government, Delaware Consulting and myself. Do I intend to stay in the USA forever? No, I do not. But as long as I feel I have an impact building a Delaware team in the US offices, I will continue to do what I’ve been doing ever since I joined Delaware Consulting: grasping every opportunity for my team members and myself, to meet up with Delawareans across the world. To share our values of Care, Team Spirit, Entrepreneurship, Commitment and Respect, on a global level and across offices and teams. This way I’m hoping I have a lasting impact on how Delaware Consulting US operates, in the same way that the USA as a country and society has a lasting impact on myself, on how I perceive and experience the world around me.

 

Looking forward to welcome y’all to our Atlanta office one day!

Author: Nigel Grillet, a Belgian in the USA since 2013. You can connect with Nigel on LinkedIn.