'Do you fancy going abroad Ian?'
That was three months into my time at Helios. Little did I know that, a mere six months later, I'd find myself writing my first Helios blog about new life in Brussels. Part of me has always wanted to live abroad, and what better than combine it with a job!
I've always had an interest in European policy, so Brussels seemed like a natural fit. As the political capital of Europe, Brussels is a honeypot for young professionals working with any of the European institutions. Post-work drinks seem to be embedded into the culture, so making new friends hasn't been difficult! Throw in the fact that Brussels is conveniently located on the continent giving me the chance to explore what the rest of Belgium has to offer and to travel around Europe more regularly.
The work itself has been both exciting and eye-opening. I'm currently supporting the implementation of European regulations on the performance of and charging mechanisms for European air traffic management (ATM). Although I've been in my new role for less than two months, I've already gained fresh insights into the latest industry developments, met with various stakeholders and clients, as well as joined my colleagues to develop key business opportunities.
Helios has a considerable amount of work in Brussels, and I am part of a small team that has been seconded specifically to support our growing work out here. Given the amount of time that the Brussels team work on-site, including those that travel over regularly for meetings, it's nice to have the opportunity to catch up with people socially from time to time as well.
Whilst you might think that adjusting to the new work would be the most challenging part, the whole process of moving to Brussels and navigating the associated red tape, in French, has perhaps proved the most demanding! Thankfully, the company and my colleagues have supported me in adjusting to new life out here.
Even after my short time here, I'd recommend the chance to work and live abroad. It provides an opportunity to experience a new culture, as well as to meet and work with people from different backgrounds. Some of Helios' other recent placement opportunities have been in Toulouse, Dubai and Bangkok. Whether it's a short on-site placement or a full-time position abroad, with an increasing number of clients located globally, there are ever more opportunities to work and to live abroad should the right placement come along.
In my next blog, I look forward to sharing more about my work here in Brussels and give an update on how I'm settling in!