3 νέα πρόσωπα από την Achmea

Ο Van Den Boorn Stijn, η Manouk Slutter και η Anouk Goes βρίσκονται αντίστοιχα στις ομάδες Sustainability & Stakeholder Relations, HR και σε rotation σε διαφορετικές ομάδες. Διαβάστε τις εντυπώσεις τους από την Ελλάδα και την Interamerican.

Van Den Boorn Stijn

Hi, My name is Stijn van den Boorn. I’m 28 years old and I come from Amsterdam. I started the Achmea management traineeship after completing a Master’s degree in International Relations, Security & Global Order because I wanted to further explore my leadership skills. I’m currently working in the Sustainability & Stakeholder Relations teams.

What do you find most challenging about working in a new country and culture?

The fact that my friends and family are not just one bike ride away and I’m not used to the heat, however, thus far it very doable. Can’t wait for summer though…

What do you enjoy most about your traineeship program experience so far?

That everyone is really keen to help or explain things to me. For example, people from the executive board, at Achmea or Interamerican, are very easy to reach. I don’t feel any limitations there. Furthermore, the structure of the traineeship with different assignments gives me the opportunity to get to know a lot colleagues and business units throughout Achmea.

What are some of the biggest cultural differences you’ve noticed between your home country and the one you’re currently in?

Well, I touched upon this in one of my earlier answers but not being able to cycle everywhere is a big difference. Next to that, the time Greeks eat dinner remains challenging, the language is difficult, the occurrences of riots or strikes, traffic in general, that life in more centered outside and people are very strict and polite when taking the escalator compared to the Netherlands.

What are your career goals and how do you see your current trainee program helping you achieve them?

The only goal that I have is that I want to find something that I really love doing. The traineeship helps me in this search. However, it would be a lie when I told you that I don’t have the ambition to once reach the C-level.

Have you had any interesting cultural experiences or insights that you’d like to share?

Please wear helmets when driving your motorcycles!

What advice would you give to other international trainees looking to make the most of their time abroad?

Talk to your colleagues! They are your personal tour guides. I’ve experienced some great tips from all the people at Interamerican I’ve spoken to which was not only fun but also the best way to get inspiration for weekend activities. Also, learn some Greek in your first weeks.

Manouk Slutter

Hi! My name is Manouk, I’m 25 years old and I started working at Achmea since November ’21. My bachelor was Human Resource Studies, and during my Master’s degree I specialized in Work and Organizational Psychology. People, especially employees, and their behavior is something that has always interested me. Every person is unique and has their own qualities, which will flourish the most when matched to the fit job.

What do you find most challenging about working in a new country and culture?

In the beginning literally everything is new, so that was quite exhausting sometimes. A new alphabet, new names, new office, new city… After some time it got easier, since I then knew my way around.

What do you enjoy most about your traineeship program experience so far?

I really like the challenge of a new assignment every few months. I love the ‘rush’ of learning at a quick pace, which definitely happens when starting a new position. I love getting to know new colleagues, and especially during this assignment abroad, also getting to know the Greek language, customs and habits.

What are some of the biggest cultural differences you’ve noticed between your home country and the one you’re currently in?

The meal times! In the Netherlands we have breakfast between 7.00 – 9.30, lunch between 11.30 – 14.00, and most people eat their dinner around 6 pm. So that was quite a difference! However, I am already very used to it. Also, I feel like Dutch people are a bit more direct than the Greeks. Which might come across as rude sometimes, but it’s something that we’re very used to do.

What are your career goals and how do you see your current trainee program helping you achieve them?

After my traineeship, I hope to find a job in which I am able to grow and develop as much as during this traineeship. I would still like to be challenged, but I have also experienced that having a nice team is something that I value as well. Additionally, I would like to discover even more sides of HR.

Have you had any interesting cultural experiences or insights that you’d like to share?

I got the change to celebrate the Orthodox Easter with my colleague and her family, which was such a special experience for me! The traditional food, the candle and the church, that is something I will never forget.

What advice would you give to other international trainees looking to make the most of their time abroad?

Be very open towards everyone you meet. Each and everyone has their own story, and you will find a common ground one way or another!

Anouk Goes

Hi, my name is Anouk Goes and I’m 25 years old. In the Netherlands I live in The Hague, near to the beach. International Relations and Organizations was my undergraduate major, while Leadership and Change Management was my graduate focus. After my graduation I applied for Achmea Management Traineeship because I think it is a fantastic opportunity to jumpstart my career. Due to my traineeship I work in different departments and get the chance to determine which one best suits me.

What do you find most challenging about working in a new country and culture?

When I begin a new assignment, I get to meet new people and learn about a new department, which is always very exciting. The fundamentals, such as the language, the method of doing things, my house, and my friends and family, do not change. Here when I started my assignment, I also got to meet new people and learn about a new project. However, my fundamentals changed. Therefore, I believe that adjusting to a new culture, language, way of working, and living environment is the most difficult element of working in a new country.

What do you enjoy most about your traineeship program experience so far?

That you get to explore other departments, meet new people and learn about diverse (work) cultures. I enjoy how each assignment is a new challenge with the opportunity to make it your own. Also, I appreciate that my trainee program combines educational experiences with learning by doing. Furthermore, I am thankful that I get the opportunity to learn from so many different persons throughout the whole organization.

What are some of the biggest cultural differences you’ve noticed between your home country and the one you’re currently in?

I’ve spoken with several Greek coworkers who have also completed their traineeships in the Netherlands. We both believe that we can benefit from one another. Our Greek colleagues are talented at keeping connections and concentrating on the process. Our Greek peers may learn from the Dutch that it is sometimes beneficial to set strong interim deadlines and adhere to them in order to fulfill the final deadline. We got to the conclusion that the ideal colleague would be created by fusing a Greek and a Dutch colleague.

What are your career goals and how do you see your current trainee program helping you achieve them?

I would want to take part in reorganizations because of my expertise in leadership and change management. I enjoy the challenge of analyzing how to redesign an organization, particularly in terms of determining how to stimulate and inspire change in others. In my current trainee program I have the chance to see how teams function and how leaders perform and I am able to learn a lot in various situations just by watching.

Have you had any interesting cultural experiences or insights that you’d like to share?

There are too many to share, but a few include: name day, the evil eye, and the story behind the pomegranate. Greece is a nation rich in traditions, which I like. I do miss that sometimes in the Netherlands. I find it lovely that you continue to practice these traditions from generation to generation.

What advice would you give to other international trainees looking to make the most of their time abroad?

Simply observe and learn. Watch how our Greek colleagues conduct themselves, engage, and speak. Additionally, my advice is to get to know your colleagues as much as possible and see what you can learn from each other. Be open minded! And don’t forget to enjoy the lovely Greek culture and everything Greece has to offer!