#31 Sandra Fuld – The five building blocks for a successful expat experience
International SOS Clinic Manager, Sandra Fuld, was born in Belfast to an Irish mother and a Dutch father. She grew up in Germany where she also trained as a nurse. After graduation she moved to London where she worked in Infectious diseases and HIV, while simultaneously training to be an Acupuncturist. It was this interest in eastern medicine that led her the first time to Kunming, China in 2005 to learn more about this country. In the same year she moved to Saudi Arabia, met her French future husband and followed him to Indonesia where they had 2 kids together who are now 7 and 5. She started to work for International SOS, a medical assistance company, but left them after 4 years to follow their dream of opening a fine dining restaurant in the Caribbean. After only one year she and her husband decided that some dreams better remain a dream and relocated back to Asia, this time Hanoi, Vietnam. Tune in to hear how Sandra got from Hanoi to Shenzhen, China where she and her family have been for 18 months…
Let go of your expectations and enjoy the experience.
How she got to China
It was in Hanoi that Sandra reconnected with her former boss at International SOS and he suggested she get back with the company. They offered her the role in Shenzhen and she first had to check it out on a map because she had no clue where it was in China (oh how each one of us has to do that!). She brought her kids over first while her husband finished up his role in Hanoi and thanks to the support of the community and of course her ayi (nanny) she made it through the first year. Now, she and her husband are both in Shenzhen working to juggle challenging assignments and life abroad.
Sandra had to work through adjusting her management style to best manage her Asian team. She worked to adjust her expectations and the way to communicated to ensure that her team fully understood what she needed. Basically, she has learned to read between the lines and understand when they are saying yes, I can do; yes, I might be able to do and yes, I have no clue what you’re talking about.
Sandra’s victory includes wrapping up superiors in toilet paper for a prize! OK, so maybe it wasn’t as dramatic as it sounds, but what’s cool is Sandra took a cultural lesson she learned from another country and made it work in China to get her team loosened up and working well together. Tune in to hear the whole story!
What about her family
Her 7-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter don’t know any other life besides the expat life and for the most part they love it. Her son often talks about how he loses lots of friends but then is quick to note that he also is constantly making new ones! Her husband is right in the thick of his first year adjusting to a new, difficult posting mixed with a load of culture-shock, so for him, he’s not loving it at the moment. Sandra is sure it’ll get better soon.
Sandra laughs at this question. Balance? What balance? She and her husband are working to put the all-important “Date Night” back onto their calendars. In fact, Sandra and I both have made it a New Year’s Resolution to schedule them in amidst busy schedules and demanding careers.
Connect to Sandra
Email Sandra at firstname.lastname@example.org