BLOG – Holland in a Brazilian perspective

Quest is an international transfer program which connects Arcadians from all over the world. Quest is sponsored by the Lovinklaan Foundation. Every week we are highlighting one of the stories our employees who went on an exchange. In this blogpost we cover the Quest story of Giuliana Netto who traveled from São Paulo (Brazil) to Amersfoort (the Netherlands).

Why did I apply for a Quest

Like almost everything I do in my life, my motivation was multifolded: I wanted to get closer to the people in charge of our global corporate sustainability practices (as I dedicate some of my time trying to bring them to my region) and also learn more about the new World Bank’s Environmental and Social Framework with which a team in the Netherlands has been working more in depth for the past 4 months.

“No one should miss the opportunity of going on a Quest!”

Highlight of my Quest experience

I was fortunate to be hosted by incredible people, not only they were willing to help me put together a nice agenda for my week, but they also did everything possible to make me feel welcomed, taken care of and involved. A special thanks to Matthijs Engelbert van Bevervoorde who has been the most supportive colleague I could ask for!

Visiting two different offices, Amsterdam and Amersfoort, and talking to specialists from different areas within the realm of Sustainability enabled me to get an even better (as being a Global Shaper 2012 had already contributed to that) sense of how diverse our company is in terms of the solutions we offer and the knowledge we hold.

Not only was I exposed to a great extent of information during my face to face conversations, but also was able to actively contribute in discussions regarding real initiatives (internal and external to Arcadis) being pursued in the Netherlands and explain what kind of projects our Environmental Department is Brazil is involved in, with more detail regarding the ones I take part in.

My Quest in one word

Samenwerking” – the Dutch translation for collaboration.

Learnings and experiences

Work related learnings:

  • They are more similarities than differences in the work that we (Europe and Latin America) do for our clients
  • There are tons of business opportunities out there if we join forces – language barriers need to be overcome though
  • Social Sustainability is a stronger topic in Latin America (as you would expect it to be as a developing region) but everyone is truly interested in learning more about it
  • Quest is truly a two-way street: even if your motivation is to learn, you’ll be teaching as well throughout the process

Typical Dutch customs I experienced:

  • Dutch people eat lots of bread – lunch meals are very light and quick ones.
  • Greetings involve three kisses on the cheeks.
  • It is common for one person to offer the other to bring him/her coffee if he/she is going to get it for himself/herself – they even have a specific tray available to help accommodate that.
  • Don’t think of only bringing cash to the Netherlands, some places will only take cards.

Being on a Quest is an opportunity no one should miss. When I say NO ONE, I really mean it. There is no chance it would be an unfruitful week. We can all be promoters (aiming at our internal audience in a global perspective) of our work, our office, our region and our company.

The international transfer program Quest, which connects Arcadians from all over the world, is sponsored by the Lovinklaan Foundation.

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