By the SMU School of Accountancy Social Media Team
When the Covid-19 pandemic struck, international travel was brought to a standstill. At that time, relocating overseas for a job posting might have seemed like a distant dream for many – but not for Joanna Chung.
Joanna, who graduated from the SMU Bachelor of Accountancy Class of 2016, has always set her sights on working overseas. She had been working in food and grocery delivery service Foodpanda as a Finance Manager for about a year when she spotted an opening for a finance role at Delivery Hero SE based in Berlin in early 2022.
“I’ve always been interested in overseas postings, and with Covid transiting to an endemic phase in many countries, I saw it as the right time to start looking. I eventually landed the role of Senior Finance Analyst in the Finance Modelling team, which is part of the Finance Insights team here in Delivery Hero SE.”
However, even with the relaxation of safety measures in many countries globally, Joanna faced a monumental task in navigating the administrative processes involved in relocating to another country for a job posting. Travel restrictions may have been lifted for Germany, but the paperwork involved proved immense. Despite that, to Joanna, her bigger challenge was an emotional one.
“Trying to find a social support system while integrating into a new society with a new language is definitely one of the biggest challenges I’ve had to face so far.”
A diverse environment
Fortunately, Delivery Hero SE is made up of a diverse workforce boasting more than 100 nationalities in the Berlin Headquarters alone. This enabled Joanna to assimilate quickly into her environment and role, as English was the official language adopted at Delivery Hero SE although German was the preferred language in other Berlin-based organisations.
“The wider Finance Insights team consisted of over 30 nationalities and everyone has been so welcoming and friendly, I’m extremely grateful. In the chaos of this city, I found my home away from home.” Language differences aside, she was also deeply struck by the unique personality of Berlin. “Berlin has a lot of history and culture. There are also events every single day, bringing life and excitement to all who are in Berlin in the moment.”
Benefits of global exposure
A firm believer in exploring other cultures and environments outside of Singapore, Joanna spent a year in Myanmar in a previous job and is based today in Berlin with Delivery Hero SE. In her words – “Global exposure helps one to see issues from a different lens – be it living in a developing or developed country, in Asia or in Europe – the perspectives are extremely different. Working in a local entity, regional hub and headquarters are also different, it is like looking at the same problem but from many different angles.”
Joanna celebrating Singapore’s National Day 2022 in Germany
While in SMU, Joanna had the opportunity to travel to Hong Kong and China for a study mission and spent a term on an overseas exchange programme in the Netherlands, all of which ignited in her a passion for exploring unchartered territories in foreign lands. “The global opportunities offered by SMU allows one to experience life outside of Singapore, and helps one to decide if they would like to explore life beyond our borders after graduation, which is what I did.”
With international travel returning to pre-pandemic levels, Joanna encourages her juniors at the SMU School of Accountancy to join her in stepping out of their comfort zone, “Living in a new city, making new friends, trying different food and experiencing life the way locals live take a lot of courage, bravery and adaptability. Once you have had a taste of it with the safety net of an overseas exchange or overseas community service trip, you will surely find the courage to do so again in future.”
Did you know that global exposure opportunities are guaranteed for all SMU students? Learn more here.