‘My FLITE to London’ – Sandra Jansen
Thursday 21st of September, the day my journey starts. Although the goodbyes were hard, I was very excited about moving to London. I arrived in the evening at St Pancras International station and immediately found myself being helped by some very friendly passers by, who helped me with my ‘3-months-of-clothing-and-shoes’ heavy luggage. Honestly, I did not expect this kindness in such a big city as London. As it was late, I took a cab to the apartment, an apartment we found through Airbnb and which hadn’t seen before. I so was excited! It was amazing, my second home in Paddington and I immediately fell in love.
On Friday I started my first day at the UK office, I could instantly sense the international vibe. The act of kindness yesterday wasn’t just a one-time thing, everyone I’ve met in the office is genuinely so nice!
During my first week of London I felt like a real tourist, taking pictures of every thing I saw, going shopping in Oxford Street and doing the typical touristy things. Although Belgium and UK aren’t very distant from each other, there are definitely some cultural differences. I’m slowly realising that I’m not just staying here for a week, but that I’m going to live here for the next 3 months.
In the second week, my roommate arrived, a colleague from Norway who’s also a participant in the FLITE Mobility program. Together we are exploring the city even more, and I’m starting to get used to people driving on the other side of the road. I’ve even started to run regularly in Hyde Park!
My family, friends and colleagues at home worry about me sometimes especially on the day of the accident near the Natural History Museum (which we were visiting at that very moment). However the police and other visitors were acting calmly and so we continued a lovely day wandering around in London. I’m starting to feel really comfortable here and I’m really looking forward the next couple of months.
When I applied for this programme my first choice of country was the UK. Why? As a researcher I’m curious and wanted to learn new ways of working, and you only learn this by doing things differently; where else can I learn as much as possible at but at the heart of the EMEA research team.
During the past month I’ve had the chance to work on some very exciting projects. In Belgium we don’t get involved in pitches as much you can here and I must say I absolutely love it! I really enjoy the insights you get from working on a pitch. The tight deadlines that for some can be stressful makes me feel completely in my element (some people will think I’m crazy). I will certainly take this back to Belgium and try to connect more with the strategy team.
As well as working on lots of pitches, I’m also working on WAVE and the iRetail study, its exciting to be working on these studies across different countries!
The Belgium office are looking forward to me implicating the new skills that I have learnt here into my everyday work. I also played with Megastar a tool for econometric modelling and RARE a tool for consumer journeys. I used the term ‘played’ because for me it is so much fun to learn how these tools work, and learn how to create an econometric model or a consumer journey myself.
The past month wasn’t just one way learning, I’ve also introduced the London team to some developments from Belgium that could help to analyse studies more efficiently and in a user-friendly way. Belgium is already working on the implementation of these developments in the Netherlands. I’m constantly learning and doing new things which is why I applied for this program.
I can’t wait to share all of this knowledge with my colleagues and clients back in Belgium. It will be sad to leave this amazing team behind in the UK and I will need to create a few joint projects so I can come and visit for a few days.
Earlier this year, IPG Mediabrands EMEA announced the launch of the first talent mobility programme, FLITE Mobility. 90 of you applied from 15 countries and 16 agencies for the chance to work in one of our diverse markets for a maximum of 3 months. We have been closely following the 10 outstanding employees chosen, and it’s proving to be a great opportunity for not only professional development, but also personal growth.