Sam Hazeldine - While others saw my desire to travel as an inconvenience, Netcompany saw it as an opportunity
My name is Samuel Hazeldine. I am a new Consultant for Netcompany UK, but my first day at the company was at their office in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
I graduated from the University of Bath in June 2018 with the desire to travel. While searching for a temporary job to save money for the trip, Netcompany approached me with the intention (if the interview went well of course) of filling a position immediately. However, the interviewer took a genuine interest in my experience, my background, and my plans for travelling. While others saw my desire to travel as an inconvenience, Netcompany saw it as an opportunity. I was offered the job of Consultant, with the exciting opportunity of working in the Ho Chi Minh City office for a month before I returned home.
In January I set out on my trip. Six months, and seven countries later, I have had some once in a lifetime experiences. Beating my fear of heights by skydiving over the Southern Alps, watching wild kiwi birds, and swimming with dolphins in New Zealand. Spotting wild orangutan, proboscis monkeys, and many more animals in Malaysian Borneo. Visiting exquisite temples and spending time with rehabilitated elephants in Thailand. Floating down the Mekong and sleeping in the jungle in Laos. Visiting the Banaue rice terraces (claimed to be the 8th wonder of the world) in the Philippines. And finally riding the breath-taking Ha Giang motorcycle loop in the north of Vietnam.
After six months of constantly moving around, sleeping in small hostel beds, living out of a backpack, and lacking any responsibility, it was time to get settled in Ho Chi Minh City. Netcompany were incredibly flexible and timed my first day around my travel plans. It was luxurious sleeping in a huge bed, in my own apartment, without the noise of snoring coming from an adjacent bed.
On my first day I was welcomed into the office, with wide smiles, by my project manager and the rest of my team. I blurted out the Vietnamese phrases I had been practising, only to be given blank looks in return. Unfortunately, I am not gifted with languages, and Vietnamese proves to be very difficult for a western tongue. Fortunately, everyone has taken it well, and kindly let me get away with my terrible pronunciation of their names.
The team in Vietnam treated me incredibly well and were excited to get me to taste a wide range of Vietnamese food. Foods of particular interest include: Bún đậu mắm tôm, a platter of tofu, noodles, and vegetables, paired with an incredibly stinky fermented shrimp paste for dipping; bánh xèo, a savory crispy pancake that is wrapped up inside rice paper with herbs and salad; and bánh tráng trộn, a popular snack among local teenagers, consisting of strips of rice paper with lots of garnishes. As well as food, my colleagues enthusiastically introduced me to the Vietnamese drinking culture. Nobody is allowed to drink alone, and chants of “một hai ba vô” (one, two, three, go) blanket the bar. Karaoke was another highlight, with team members singing passionate ballads that I couldn’t match with my poor rendition of Angels by Robbie Williams.
Excluding the social aspects, working in Vietnam has been a valuable experience. I have gained an understanding of the dynamics and work culture of my Vietnamese colleagues, as well as becoming friends with many of them, which will help us to work closely together into the future. In addition, I have had the opportunity to network with several Danish colleagues, who have helped introduce me to the Netcompany methodology and culture.
My experience over the last seven months has been incredible. Travelling around the world, meeting amazing people, eating fantastic food, and having some wonderful adventures. Followed by an exciting new job in the crazy city of Ho Chi Minh. I am really looking forward to properly meeting everyone in the London team, getting stuck into my project, and seeing where my position at Netcompany takes me in the future.