'It's easy to communicate with colleagues here'

Expat zone

'It's easy to communicate  with colleagues here'

Claire Blondel, husband David Blondel, daughters Julie and Ines, who hail from France, came to Bangalore a year back.

Though it is David’s job as director of purchasing with a multinational company that brought them here, they have had other expatriate assignments and love their stay here. David is from Amiens while Claire is from Troyes in France.

Both Claire and David have worked in Japan and France before coming to India and they have lots to share about their work here.

Claire, who works as a quality manager, says, “My work profile by itself is very different from my earlier jobs but that has nothing to do with the City. It’s the first time that I’ve worked with such a small company too.”

She says that the company’s nature is very different from what she’s exposed to but since people are very open-minded, it’s been a learning experience.

“People are dynamic and open to change at my workplace. But there is lesser structure in work, which is why I’ve been hired, for the company to grow bigger,” she says. How different is work here? “I see lesser productivity and organisational skills here,” she says, adding, “organising meetings here is a challenge. It’s a hard task to make people aware what a particular meeting is about, to come on time, to not go off-track from the actual agenda of the meeting and more.”

Claire laughs and says that she hasn’t been able to find any strategy to handle these issues and is still battling with them.

 “I try to remind people prior to a meeting about these specifics. There have been times when people would agree to be present at a meeting and wouldn’t turn up. So, I have made it a point to meet them before every meeting now,” she smiles and adds.

David, on the other hand, says that his experience has been fulfilling though there are glitches that he has to deal with regularly.

“Working in each country was a different experience. What I really like about the professionals here is that they are good at fixing things. But there is little planning,” says David.

He adds that most people communicate in English, which has been a bonus. Talking about delays in deadlines and work done, David says that he tries not to get worried about it. “I try not to break my head on this. One has to adapt accordingly and accept certain things. So, I do not push beyond a level,” he says.

On the cultural differences in the City, Claire says that India is a contrasting country. “When I came here, I used to interact only with people in the home service sector like maids, drivers etc. This gave me a limited and a wrong image of the country. But, now I have a different idea of the country because I’m working here and have exposure to different people,” she says. Claire says that people belong to varied cultures here. “It is easy to communicate with colleagues here compared to other places I’ve worked in,” she says.

Claire loves the fact that there are people from across all religions in the City. “It’s amazing how they are able to live in peace with each other and live in the same area. It’s nice to see temples, churches and mosques close to each other. In France, people are very intolerant of each other. What I see here is a great example to follow,” says Claire.

She says that the best part is that most people are deeply spiritual here, and this striking balance surprises her.

Claire says that people in the City are curious about their culture.
“People are very inquisitive here. They ask all sorts of questions like where we are from, the differences between the nations, cultural habits etc. This is something new to us,” she says.

The girls Julie and Ines love their school here. “I love my school and my friends here. We don’t have many Indian students in my grade, but I love the mix of internationals (students) in the school,” says Julie. Ines adds that she loves the teachers in the school. “The festivals and the vibrance here are very impressive,” says Ines.
Like most expatriates, given a chance, the couple would change the traffic scene and the garbage situation in the City. What do they love about the City? “The mix of colours and festivals are really impressive,” say the couple.

The family has been to Goa, Kerala, Pondicherry, Mumbai, Hassan and Mangalore; and is planning to explore the North of the country very soon. “There’s so much to explore in the country and we love our stay here,” concludes Claire.

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