Schneider Electric gives women the chance to work abroad

Schneider Electric gives women the chance to work abroad

 January 08, 2019

Aswita Wulandari Saragih works under Schneider Electric's Business Development team in Indonesia, managing Business Intelligence for Schneider Electric Indonesia. Aswita shares her early career journey experience of Schneider Electric's Energy Generation Program (EGP) and her exciting experience working for Schneider Electric in Thailand.

An international experience

After graduating from University of Indonesia with a Bachelor of Engineering degree, Aswita joined Schneider Electric's EGP. Once Aswita passed her two years of progressive learning, she got the exciting opportunity to travel to Thailand with work.

"2018 has been a self-fulfilling journey with various uniquely challenging tasks and especially so as I had my international assignment to Thailand – the Country of Smiles!" says Aswita.

"Although it was only a 3-hours flight away from home, I felt a surreal mix of foreign and fantasy as the 4-month period seemed like a year. All those stretchy feelings grew as I enjoyed every bittersweet of my life there. It was a story with lots of multicultural twist in between."

A diverse working environment

Aswita is a strong supporter of a diverse society, and being in a diverse workplace like Schneider Electric encourages her to work and learn better.  Aswita was assigned Strategic Business Intelligence (BI) for four months in Thailand where she focused on a project about competitor analysis. Aswita found that visiting Schneider Electric customers with her BI manager was an interesting experience.

After these visits, Aswita and her manager often discussed the progress with their director.

"The discussion was nothing short of interesting exchanges, as my team consisted of three different nationalities; French, Thai and Indonesian," says Aswita. "After two months, we successfully wrapped up the project. Now our BI team on the zone level is interested in learning more about our project."

Language challenges

The first challenge Aswita needed to overcome in Thailand was the language barrier.

"Due to my physical resemblance to a Thai lady, people were inclined to converse in Thai language with me. Day by day I improved my Thai conversation skill, thanks to my surroundings and  the internet. Eventually I could finally brave myself on communicating it at restaurants or even during taxi rides," explains Aswita.

"During office hours or market visits, I encountered an average of 1-hour meeting with Thai language and understood none. If you happen to experience the same case, the sensible approach would be to empathize, sense their gesture and follow up after."

A network of support

Aswita's experience in Thailand was made all the more memorable bu her friendship with her EGP peer from South Korea. According to Aswita, they formed a strong connection and constantly inspired one another to be better people. As they worked in different roles - him in the Sales team, Aswita in business - their different experiences complemented one another and enriched the other's knowledge. 

"Interestingly we found that our personality differences could blend together as we switched hobbies, favorite food and many more," adds Aswita. "Embracing the culture together as foreigners (in Thai they termed it “Farang”) with him was truly enjoyable and I treasured every moment of it."

Aswita also reassures others that there is nothing to worry about working abroad alone, especially when you are still very young, as Schneider Electric is a globally well-connected community that supports your efforts within the company.

"Who knows that you could meet a like-minded and compatible soul like how I met him? You will also find peers within your like-minded group so long as you open-up your curious mind to your surroundings. We live in increasingly digital world. Finding mutual friends and new activities through Mobile Applications is also safe nowadays," explains Aswita. 

Aswita struggled with some core skills that she was only just learning in the work place. However, she was helped by two European colleagues, French and Dutch, who Aswita says were really supportive during her assimilation period.

"Being part of company events is something that I would always recommend for anyone to participate in. Recently, Schneider Thailand celebrated the “International Day”, where at that time I had a chance to be the Master-of-Ceremony (MC) while donning on my country’s traditional costume. It was uplifting and cured my home sickness. Truthfully, I must admit that being immersed in a foreign environment became a massive source of energy. It fueled my inner self," says Aswita.

Inspired by her experience

After her experiences, Aswita is certain that Schneider Electric has a great career development program for university graduates and students wanting to pursue a career in the industry. Now, Aswita wants to build her own international career path, inspired by her experience in Thailand.

"I’m currently enrolled in the “Catalyst Program” to accelerate my career further with the company," says Aswita. "I certainly look forward to another amazing development journey ahead. Wish me luck!"

Join talented women like Aswita at Schneider Electric

Schneider Electric appreciates what makes you you — your talent within talent. Schneider Electric is a dynamic, global company looking for passionate people to help it innovate at every level; champions of safe, reliable, efficient, sustainable and connected energy for everyone.

Schneider Electric is keen for talented women to join them as one of their #SEGreatPeople.


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