Experiencing a bit of the Middle East

Four weeks abroad pass in the blink of an eye - at least that is how I feel when looking back at my recent time spent at our local office in Abu Dhabi. It has been an incredible experience full of new insights about Saab as well as learning about new cultures and exploring an amazing country. On top of that, I have met new colleagues and friends with whom I have shared great moments and interesting discussions. The whole experience of living and working abroad leaves me with a great feeling about the future.  

During my time in Abu Dhabi, I worked closely with the finance team and was involved with various tasks ranging from invoicing to financial closing and reporting. I also got some insight in the commercial side of our business when I took part in the preparation of a tender, which includes calculating price as well as preparing the contract proposal and internal decision support material. I think it is crucial to learn about other functions in the organisation and I believe there is no better way of learning than to get some real hands-on experience. Besides challenging tasks in the office, I got the opportunity to visit the air base where we carry out local support and maintenance on the Airborne Early Warning Systems operated by the UAE Air Force. It was for sure one of the highlights of my time in UAE and a thrilling experience to see some of our products in operation.

It is not bad to be able to carry out the evening workout on a Formula 1 circuit.

Living in another country does not only bring challenges at the workplace, but also in your everyday life when trying to adapt to a new environment. It was my first visit to the Middle East and I truly enjoyed my time there. I cannot get enough of the Arabic food, the hot (almost too hot) weather, and the super friendly people. Naturally, I experienced some cultural differences in our way of living. I am sure that some people that I have met during these past weeks would describe me as stubborn with a hint of “I can handle this myself”… It did not matter whether it was about carrying my own luggage or other people opening doors for me, as a Swede I am not used to this exceptional treatment. In hindsight, I definitely think everyone could learn something from this and start to acknowledge our fellow humans around us and offer a helping hand more often, as well as daring to accept one. Another prominent trait of the Arabic culture that struck me was the importance of relations, both on a business and a personal level. It may sound like a cliché, but relationships are everything and can truly facilitate your life and whatever missions you have in it.   

Until next time!

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