A dummy’s guide to living and working in a different country

by Dave

This article documents some Indian individual/company experiences in Guatemala and Argentina. Knowing to speak Spanish helped me immensely when I had business meetings in Argentina and Uruguay. Having a translator is just not the same. My sister-in-law and her family being Venezuelan (Gracias a la Familia Uzcátegui) was a huge motivation for me to learn Spanish. I am glad that Spanish is now the numero uno foreign language being taught in India.

via livemint.com

Sudeep Sriram, an operations manager for the call centre 24/7 Customer Pvt. Ltd, found the latest version of his home base in the unlikely setting of Guatemala.
“This place right now is booming with more call centres coming into the market and a lot of competition,” he says, referring to his efforts in setting up a new 24/7 Customer centre in the capital, Guatemala City. “It is the same going back to how it was in Bangalore seven years ago.”
Excitement aside, these world travellers usually point to language issues as the biggest problem they face in both getting around and successfully getting the job done.
Language also presents a problem in trying to bond with local employees. “If you know Spanish, it is a plus,” says Sriram in Guatemala. “When people are outside and on breaks, a majority of people (use) their language.”
Setting up operations in a new country has its own learning curve. When Prashasta Seth, a former head of equity research at Irevna Research Services Pvt. Ltd, helped create the company’s new centre in Argentina, that country’s bureaucracy proved to be as thick as sludge.
“It’s more or less like India,” Seth says. “The private sector is professional, but getting into government interface becomes really messy.”
Planning ahead also became key for Sriram, as he recruited agents for 24/7’s new centre in Latin America.
After some of the company’s first-round hires left within a few months to go back to school, Sriram sat down with the human resources team and mapped out ideal agent profiles. “We looked into what were the universities around here, what are the courses, when do they have off,” he says.