After trying for such a long time to get a job in Colombia, I decided to stop my search and go back to Switzerland.
What led me to this decision are the following reasons :
- I believe that out of my different interviews I had in both Medellin and Bogota, that Colombian companies are still young and not yet used to hire foreigners. They do see and picture the added value of a foreign person for their business and the fresh ideas I could bring on the Colombian market, but they are afraid to dare making the step. If I considered any big advertising agency which could count up to 300 people, there might only be 2 foreigners (but still from the latin american continent), but no one from Europe of the US. Which puts me in the situation of being the first who tried it.
- Even if a lot of people tried to help me get a job, which I am grateful of! There is a lot of corruption existing at all levels, so without having the right connections and the right people with the good influence, it’s a lot harder.
- It’s difficult to know exactly what to expect when even the big boss of the agency/company ensures you “we will call you if an opportunity comes up”, and it took me too much time to realize this is more a polite saying than anything else. So waiting a couple of weeks more hoping for the best, remained useless.
- Bogota remained my second choice in Colombia as a city to live after Medellin, this is where everything is happening but it’s also a pretty chaotic city in terms of transport and you have to take extra care taking taxis for security reasons, furthermore it’s quite fresh-cold due to it’s high altitude 2600 meters high. Therefore the dream of taking a coffee every morning in the sun wearing light clothes before going to work is roughly not possible (but it is in Medellin).
- On a more personal level it’s surely the hardest decision to make, because I spent great moment with someone I really like and with whom I was starting to build up future plans.
- And the more obvious reason is of course financial, I have spent a lot of money, time and energy on this quest, and I cannot go on like this without earning money.
I believe that a foreigner can make it in Medellin by opening it’s own business, a hostel, a restaurant, or opening a language school or anything else which could work, Colombia is a big booming market especially on the tourism side. And there is a lot to be done on different levels. But you need a bit of money to invest initially obviously.
Out of my experience living and job hunting in Latin America for these months, I got fluent in Spanish which i am proud of, I learned a lot on the latin culture and on the Colombian one of course, I got better at dancing latin dances, discovered almost all Latin America by now (this last trip covered Mexico – Guatemala – Nicaragua – Costa Rica a bit of Panama and Colombia). And furthermore I have now a TEFL Certificate at hand which I could use anytime in the future to teach English around the world.
So bottom line I haven’t said my last word on trying to make it on this continent, but it’s just not yet the right time.
This experience also made me realize that most Swiss people do not realize what chance we have to live in such a developed, clean, secure, organized country where everything is close by. Most latin american countries look at Switzerland as an example in terms of economy, education and place to live, and when you think about it, you may think that all Swiss people should be extremely happy, social, enjoying life and such. This very nice picture falls completely apart as soon as you take the train with people commuting to work are unsocial as unsocial can be and have a face as if their mother died the day before.
So yes, sometimes it’s worth getting out of the country and look at it from another perspective. And I think everyone should start smiling a bit more everyday and be more open and social (this is the way Colombians are and I love it!).
Thinking of being back in Switzerland, I will happily laugh at people who are waiting for the train and who will stupidly get annoyed when the train comes 3 minutes late… (Seriously ?? is the world going to fall apart if you’re 3 minutes late ?, think it twice!!)
But before living this beautiful country, I still have a few days to spend and will discover and live a few things such as el Eje Cafetero and Medellin for “La Feria de las Flores”.
Thanks for reading me and feel free to comment.