Written by Richie Bryant
Life in Belgium
When in Belgium, do as the Belgians do! No, be as much of a tourist as possible! Actually, do both!
The opportunity to be abroad for 3 months excited me from the minute it was struck up in conversation. And so far, it is yet to disappoint!
As a South African who enjoys travelling and experiencing new things, being in Belgium and, of course Europe, provides an abundance of opportunities to do so. With so much new to see and do, the idea of the BrightWolves South Africa team to have me experience the life and culture of its prosperous counterpart is one which I am extremely grateful for!
But what exactly is life like in Belgium? And how have things been starting at BrightWolves? Quite simply, great!
Having not worked abroad before, it was difficult to gauge what to expect. Engagements with BrightWolves colleagues before my commencement, however, quickly put me at ease. This filtered through to the warmth of my introduction at BrightWolves, which exceeded expectations and helped me to feel at home from the moment I arrived. (Being driven to work by my Buddy on day one instead of inevitably getting lost was a major role player in this regard!)
How it began! It began very socially at work in Belgium, with the first two weeks encompassing a welcome breakfast, evening welcome drinks, dinner with Wolves, a Den Meeting, Friday drinks, lunch with a prospect intern, shooting content videos and dinner with more Wolves! All of this whilst participating in onboarding trainings, which successfully laid a solid foundation of skills to equip new colleagues for life as a consultant. The onboarding training ended with a few days away to Obernai (North of France) for a company-wide bi-annual training (and socializing) event, further enhancing the skills of both new and existing colleagues in specific areas of interest. To me, there was no better way to get to know the Wolves and what BrightWolves was about!
Back to reality!
Reality in the sense of being staffed on a project because I quickly realized the social side at BrightWolves hardly ever slows down – I’m not complaining!
I spent an extremely interesting four weeks partnering with a client who was looking to expand its service offering through the creation of enhanced performance reporting for clients. Challenging from the standpoint of both the topic itself and the fact that it was my first project in the industry of Management Consulting! Fear not at BrightWolves! In line with our Iceberg principle, the BrightWolves team was always willing to take the time to help out and lend their wealth of expertise. I received the guidance I needed to successfully get the project over the line and kickstart my consulting career.
Being able to be involved in additional aspects of both the Belgian and South African entities, such as recruitment interviews, university campus events and presenting at an internal meeting, has also been extremely refreshing and allowed me to learn and be challenged in more ways than one.
The small things are continuously exciting for me being in Belgium. The daily tram to get to a client, deciding on various delicious baguette options for lunch, self-checkouts at supermarkets and conversations with my local Belgian flat mates. Having constant access to delicious Belgian beer, chocolate and fries! Catching electric scooters and getting lost on runs through my neighbourhood around the city of Brussels (good to burn off the overindulgence in beer and chocolate). And, of course, having Europe on my doorstep for an extended period to make multiple city trips – a one-hour speed train to Paris, a two-hour drive to Amsterdam, and a two-hour flight to Budapest are a few ways to make the most of every minute in this awesome part of the world!
All in all, spending time with the Belgian entity and grasping a feel for the culture, people and operations has been immensely fulfilling and helped quickly concrete my decision to join BrightWolves South Africa. Thank you to everyone for making the start of my journey such an exciting and pleasant one! Time flies, and with only six weeks left of my trip, there will be no slowing down to ensure I make the most of every minute!