Moving to another country for your job can be challenging, it may take some time to adapt. Angelique Godow, Director of Marketing Communications at The Laguna Resort and Spa and The St.Regis Bali Resort, talks about her life in Bali and bits of tips on how to cope with the new environment and living abroad.
Angelique has been living in Bali for work in the Marketing Communications department. She has lived in different foreign countries before, hence keeping up with the new culture and working phase has been her thing.
What are the circumstances around your arrival in Indonesia? What brings you here
I have always dreamed of moving to Bali, but never took active actions towards it. Then as if it was meant to be my partner received a job here and I followed him along to this little paradise island.
What did you think of Indonesia when you first arrived? What was your first impression of the country? How is it different from what you imagined?
It’s stunning! Nature, the people, the food, the spirituality, it’s very inspiring and definitely has a unique feel about it. I really feel at home here and was also welcomed with very open arms, which doesn’t always happen to foreigners in a country far from home. I am extremely grateful for all of the little adventures I have had so far and excited about what the future will bring.
What are the biggest challenges you face in your life in Indonesia as an expat? Your work life, your personal life, your social life? How are these things different from your home country or other countries in which you have lived and worked?
Obviously living abroad is not always easy, culture, language and customs are very different from home, although I have to say I very much embrace all the differences. I am very grateful that working in Indonesia is very pleasant and I have been welcomed with open arms. Having lived abroad in various other foreign countries this was not always the case. Socially I feel Bali is a very open-minded and welcoming place to live, in Nusa Dua where I reside it’s a little more difficult to meet new people but through work and event attendances it has opened up a lot more.
Tell us briefly about your work background and experiences, where do you originally come from?
I am originally German but brought up in Sweden. I have studied at the Hotelschool The Hague in the Netherlands and then moved to Dubai, where I resided for a little more than 7 years. It was a fantastic experience but after a long time, my urge to move to Asia was growing. I was fortunate to get a transfer to Ko Samui Thailand, where I lived for 6 months however I felt a calling for Bali. Shortly after we moved to the island of the gods and I have lived here since, feeling very blessed and fortunate to add this beautiful island on to my list of destinations where I have resided.
Do you notice any differences in marketing strategies in Indonesia compared to other countries, as you have worked in different countries before?
I am very positively surprised that marketing in Indonesia and Bali is very similar to other big international markets. Business is fast-moving and trends are pacing forward. International outreach is vast and tourism coming to the islands is very pleasant.
What makes you interested in marketing? Any other particular interest before marketing?
I enjoy creativity and design and have always been interested in brand marketing. Shaping a product image and creating demand, as well as telling its unique story has always been my passion, and I feel fortunate to be able to communicate these unique identities with a broad audience on a daily basis.
What was the main “culture shock” when you arrived in Indonesia? Have you adapted your behaviour in any way since you arrived to fit in with Indonesians?
Hmm, I wouldn’t say there were any major culture shocks, however, it did take some time to adjust to a different pace. I have lived in a very fast-moving environment in Dubai before and having moved to Bali, the pace has significantly slowed down. Now I embrace it and am grateful for being able to enjoy life just as much as the locals do. Also, I have never eaten so much (constantly) since I have moved here. Snacking really is a thing that’s very common and it took some time to adjust to that too.
What do you think is the biggest cultural difference in Indonesia compared to your home country?
I think the openness and friendliness of people, as well as the family first attitude. In Europe, we are also very much open-minded and certainly put our family first however since having moved here I can feel that even more. Also the sense of belonging and openness to religion. In Europe we have various different religions and practices too however it seems they are not as openly and enthusiastically celebrated as here. It really is amazing to learn about all the different traditions and practices. I will never forget my first Nyepi here.
Do you immerse yourself in the local culture? Is your home in Indonesia more like your home in your native country or is it influenced by your life as an ex-pat here and in other countries? Has living in Indonesia and/or other countries changed you, your views or your tastes at all?
I love exploring the country and culture that I live in and really embrace the differences. I try to stay away from too touristy spots and experiences and rather try to look for the realness. Since living abroad it has certainly broadened my scope and understanding of how different people live, their different values, religion, customs and beliefs. I am fascinated with the differences, want to learn and embrace them as much as possible. Travelling and exploring is close to my heart and keeps me wanting to explore further.
What advice would you give to Indonesians about living and working with expats? and vice versa. Any tips that might improve the relationship?
Stay open-minded and embrace each other’s differences. We all come from different backgrounds, education, and lifestyle however we can all learn from each other.
Mention briefly about your favourite thing about working and living in Indonesia. (the local culture, the place etc)
Personally I love the variety of experiences and also the easiness of travelling. You really have so many options. Since having moved here I have climbed a volcano, trekked through the jungle, dive with mantas, participated in sacred temple ceremonies, eaten amazing food and learnt so much about this beautiful country that I currently call home. Thank you!