Happy people, stunning views, helpful colleagues, interesting projects and great food, South Africa knows how to deliver an extraordinary experience from several perspectives. My two months rotation to our office in Centurion, South Africa is coming to an ending, at least for this time. The feelings are mixed and I will for sure miss the country and all the lovely colleagues.
I, Erik, who normally works with strategic procurement in the business area Surveillance, based at the office in Gothenburg, Sweden is currently in South Africa for a two months rotation to the Saab office in Centurion. My time is coming to an ending, at least for this time. It is now my last week in Centurion and the time in South Africa has been amazing and I hope to return shortly. The atmosphere at the office is extremely friendly and helpful, even more than I expected.
One great part of the graduate programme is that we are getting the opportunity to see and try different kind of tasks. Normally, I am working with strategic procurement but during this rotation, I have worked on a small project, looking at how to improve the transition between design & development and serial production. There are similarities between what I have done during this project and what I normally do, but it is fascinating how much you can learn from working in a different field. I had, during this project, the opportunity to meet and talk to people from design & development, procurement as well as production and it is extremely interesting and educational to get different perspectives on the same thing. The reality is complex with many different perspectives, perspectives that are easier to consider if you understand them fully. A great way of experiencing these perspectives is therefore to make rotations, rotations to other departments, sites or countries. The graduate programme with its setup is therefore a good way to start the career and to gain a greater understanding of how people defending on their background sometimes have different approaches or views.
photo: Jan Potgieter
I have to admit that I was a bit nervous before I arrived. This was not the first time for me in South Africa but it was different this time: It was the first time that I was supposed to stay in the country for a longer period; it was the first time I came alone to the country (not exactly true since all the lovely colleagues were already here); my “local” manager was not Swedish; it was the first time driving at the left side of the road, etcetera. The crime level in South Africa is unfortunately very high and a large share of the population live behind walls and electrical fences, not because they are criminals but to protect themselves from criminals. This scared me a bit in the beginning, especially when I was driving after sunset. The interesting part of this is how quickly you adjust to a new environment where your life is very different from home. All these things have become normal and I have pushed myself outside the comfort zone to make the comfort zone bigger, pretty much like during the entire programme. It is not that scary anymore to drive during the dark hours and the taxi cars might not be that predictable in their driving, but I can now be on the same road as them without colliding!
South Africa is a beautiful country and it is easy to forget how big and diverse it is. The country never stops surprising you with its stunning views, from the Cape of Good Hope in the south to the great national parks in the north.
Do you like meat? If yes, then South Africa is a compulsory place to visit. I have tried to ask all local people what they are doing with the meat to make it so tender. Unfortunately, it seems to be a well-protected secret. It obviously has something to do with the grass that the cattle eat, but the rests seems to be an unrevealed secret.