My Expat Experience in Angola – Eugenio Maggi
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Eugenio Maggi, our Angola Country Executive relocated to Angola to set up and oversee the staffing of our operations in Angola. He has been with the CA Global Group since 2008, gaining technical and specialist knowledge of recruitment across all sectors in Africa.
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It’s 2015… a new year and it all just became real! This is the year that I would be stepping out of my everyday life in Cape Town and making a move to Angola to open up our new office. Most people would ask me why I am doing this… why would you go “backwards” (lifestyle) to an African Country???
Well, the answer was simple. Not only was it a great opportunity to go to another Country for my career and open up a new office, but I have always believed in “challenging yourself personally”… So I did just that! I made the move with no hesitation!
I have travelled across the African region for the past 10 years, so I was no stranger when it came to understanding the environment and living conditions. I was fully aware of what I was about to experience living in Angola. I believe that you make the most of your experiences and that home is where the heart is. To me Angola was home, my new home and my objectives were clear.
During my first few weeks in Angola I was living in a guesthouse while I was setting up operations and looking for offices / accommodation etc… During my off time I would take every opportunity I could get to go and explore. I would take a jog down to the promenade every afternoon and explore the routes. During weekends I would walk down to the Ilha where all the nice beaches and restaurants are situated. This was by far my favourite activity on the weekend – basking in the sun and swimming, ending off with a nice picanha (sliced pieces of beef) and jindungo (chopped up chillies Angolan style).
As I got more settled in Angola I made friends with a lot of the expatriates living there. We would often go and have a braai (BBQ) on weekends and just enjoy the calm of the weekend. I was always busy in Angola and during the week I would go to Talatona and play touch rugby with the other expats. We had quarterly tournaments against the other districts in Luanda and this would be a great way to spend a weekend ending off with a nice BBQ and an ice cold CUCA or two 😉 Ping Pong and beer (not beer pong) also became part of the weekend activities and of course ended with a braai. I would recommend that anyone going to a new country to register themselves on the Internations website as this is a great way to meet new people. The Angolan people are friendly and “live” for their weekends. I made some great friends in Angola!
On long weekends we would get out of Luanda and one of our favourite places to go was the Kwanza River Lodge. It was great to get away from the city life in Luanda and go fishing. 🙂
In ending it is really what you make of your experience and I really enjoyed my time in Angola! The overall experience has not only been great for my career but I grew as a person and learnt a lot about myself. I learnt to speak Portuguese (not fluent yet) and I learnt to play the guitar which I have been wanting to do for years! I also started reading more as my lifestyle in Cape Town was always go go go go! I am really grateful for the opportunity and would consider another assignment with no hesitation! It’s not always easy being away from your actual home but this builds character and as I said earlier: challenge yourself, ask yourself today what you are going to do differently today than you did yesterday?