Global travel as a Field or Customer Support Engineer – Part 2
About to visit a country for the first time? How can you prepare – part 2?
If you missed Part 1, here is a link:
Secondly – what to learn?
Travel amounts and distances vary hugely for different field service and customer support engineers. Some trips are planned in advance but a lot of engineers have to respond very quickly and travel almost immediately in response to a major issue or problem. Project sites can be well away from major cities and the engineer might arrive at the coldest, hottest or wettest time of year. If the site is also in a new country to you, it can present more of a challenge. So, what can you do to prepare?
Let’s assume that your packing is sorted –
What should you learn before you go?
Read something about the country you are going to be working in. Websites or books aimed at children are often useful as it will give you a quick overview. Read a little about the geography, the food, the customs, the climate – anything really to give yourself some idea of where you will be. If you really want to understand the people of a country then, having an overview of their history is key.
If you don’t speak the language, learn a few local words. ‘Please’, ‘thank you’, and ‘hello!’ are an excellent start. There are lots of online resources to help. If it is a completely new language for you, then make sure every word you choose to learn is an important one.
Try this list to start with:
• Please/Thank you/You’re welcome
• Excuse me/I don’t understand/Can you help
• Can I have…? Where is….?
• The local word for ‘Cheers/Sante/Prost…’
• How much does it cost?
For certain languages, you will have a lot of choice, for others not as much.
This site offers 149 different languages:
One of the best known if you want to keep learning is Babbel:
- Dress and customs
Check if there any dress codes or taboos you need to know about. The best way to do this is to ask colleagues or someone at your destination. Make your questions specific rather than general so that they are easier to answer. For example:
• What do I need to know so that I don’t make mistakes?
• Do I need specific clothing for when I am outside the site?
• What are considered good manners when eating or drinking?
• Do I need to bring small gifts?
- Personal admin
Start a system so that your expenses are organised from the day you leave.
Check that you are well insured and have the relevant details with you.
Research if there is something you can do or visit whilst there so that you have something already planned which is non work.
Before you leave, print anything you may need when you get there. You may not have easy access to a printer once you are there.
Check the latest weather report for the time you will be away.
Add any new apps depending on where you are going:
Share your experience
What do you think is missing from this list?
The next blog, will look at what to do once you have arrived.