The Best Moves Are With The Experts
Trawling through the minefield of stages and processes of moving abroad can often be overwhelming for many people. Organizing everything before the big move is also a tiring and laborious process. Thankfully, most companies engage relocation experts to aid employees with their move. Alumni share their respective relocation experiences and how relocation experts have helped them settle in into a comfortable environment, sans all the stress and fuss of relocation.
Dennis Lin (MSc MOT 1997):
Before I moved to Beijing to settle down, I was shuttling back and forth between Singapore and Beijing for almost two months. During this period, my boss, who is also based in China, shared with me his previous relocation experience and guided me on adapting to the culture and working practices in China. A human resource company was engaged to assist me with administrative matters, and company staff also helped to arrange for my accommodation.
Initially, my wife was not in favor of my decision to relocate to Beijing although my two sons were supportive. They were the ones who helped to convince my wife to support my relocation.
Eventually, only my wife and I were relocated because my sons were all grown up – one is now working in Singapore and the other is studying in London. The move was tougher on my wife as a mother, so she stills travels frequently back to Singapore to see my elder son.
One factor that I considered before the relocation was my potential adaptability in the new environment. As a Singaporean Chinese, I was confident with the fact that I could speak the language and understand the culture. Another factor was whether I could still maintain my active social life – for example, my involvement with the NUS Alumni and my professional societies.
Inevitably, I had to make some sacrifices. But fortunately, I am still able to connect with other NUS alumni in Beijing. One interesting observation I have made since the relocation is that the Chinese tend to observe hierarchy more than we do in Singapore. For example, even for a restaurant meal with colleagues, there is a protocol to observe. Sometimes, only the boss gets to be seats; and always, the boss will start the meal first.
Janet Ang (BBA Hons 1982):
I have faced relocation four times in my career – first to Tokyo, back to Singapore, then to China and then back to Singapore. That is why I would say that my family is reasonable mobile. Each time we had to relocate, my family was enthusiastic and adaptable. In fact, I will be relocated again in one year’s time once my daughter, Maryanne, completes her major examinations.
Of course, we could not have done it without the help of relocation staff. Whenever I was assigned out of Singapore, they helped us with the necessary arrangement – everything from my children’s education, accommodation, banking, medical needs, down to groceries for the household. Their strong support definitely helped both my family and I adjust quickly and made each experience favorable.
I must say that I have also been blessed with a company of good friends who helped us. In Tokyo, I was fortunate to have been reunited with three BBA classmates who had similarly been posted there. They, too, soon became “family” for us in Tokyo. Likewise in Beijing, I connected with colleagues who helped us settle in and get into a rhythm of life in our new home.
Chen Jianwen Brian (BBA Hons 2008):
My first relocation took place in August 2008, shortly after my graduation. I moved up to Hong Kong from Singapore for a job I am currently still in. At that time, I knew that I would be leaving my loved ones and close friends behind in Singapore to live alone for an extended time – for the first time in my life.
One individual who then made the relocation smoother and more bearable was the relocation specialist who assisted me in all my relocation needs, arranged my working visa and helped me find a permanent place to live in Hong Kong.
My company also put me up in a serviced apartment located near the office for a month on the company’s expense to give me time to look for a permanent place to live. An ample relocation allowance was also given to me by my company, to be spent at my discretion so as to facilitate my relocation.
Along with my adaptable nature and the mental preparation I had made before the move, the help of the relocation specialist and company staff helped me handle the relocation well.