For Eric this is not his first expatriate role. This experienced project manager already cast an anchor in the Cameroon port of Douala in 2009, to upgrade its roads. A year later, he was walking on the laterite soils of Equatorial Guinea, where a project for a new city is currently in its design phase. Returning to France in 2012, he spent 18 months in the Toulouse engineering office, before leaving again for Algeria in 2014. He has joined the site of the motorway which will link the Djen Djen port to the East-West motorway.
In his luggage Eric has carried more than his personal belongings. His recent return to France gave him the opportunity to regain skills and to get up to speed on the latest quality procedures. Today this experience has enabled him to take on the role of deputy head of mission for the Method, Costs and Contracts unit. “After several years spent in another country, your French savoir-faire has a tendency to wane with time, which is why I returned to France for several months, before being expatriated again to Algeria.”
“When you move internationally, you need to know how to adapt both to your environment and the people you’re dealing with. It’s a necessity. In Guinea I was in contact with no less than 14 different nationalities. This type of experience obliges us to look at our western lifestyles and opinions in a different way. You don’t work in the same way if you’re dealing with an African, a Brazilian or a Korean. You must demonstrate empathy if you want to know the person you are dealing with, their culture, their way of thinking and working. To be internationally mobile also means having more opportunities to work on major projects. All this requires a high level of availability and 200% investment! Of course it’s lots of work, but the diversity, the unknown, the novelty… All of this keeps you alert and stimulated every day.”