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Bisen Mereke about life in Vietnam, raising four children and a successful career
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27.04.2022

Bisen Mereke about life in Vietnam, raising four children and a successful career

We talked with a Kazakh who lives and works in Vietnam. She shared the peculiarities of the country and told us how the move affected her.


Bisen Mereke, 37, city — Thanh Hoa, Purchasing Manager, Refinery Supply at Kuwait Petroleum Europe B.V., Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd, Mitsui Chemical Inc., Vietnam Oil and Gas, @mereke_bissen

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About moving


I worked for Maersk Oil in Kazakhstan and decided to participate in the competition for grants to the master's program. I always wanted to go to graduate school but kept putting it off. I thought that work and family were more important than personal goals. But during the interview, I was told that I won a gold grant for the Management and Business Analytics program at the Higher School of Economics. On the same day, I posted my resume on the hh.ru website, and the next day I was invited for an interview for the Gazprom project.

So, in 2018, I moved to St. Petersburg. I was invited to the Nord Stream 2 project, where I was the head of the procurement and logistics department.

At the beginning of 2021, I had a transformation. I dreamed about Asia, I wanted to live there for a while and get to know a different culture. And when I received an offer to move to Vietnam, and I immediately agreed. The family supported me.

About adaptation and difficulties

The company arranged comfortable conditions for me, where everyone around spoke English. The first difficulty is the cuisine. Everywhere only seafood, there are no products that we are used to: flour, pasta. Also, taxi prices are high, gasoline is expensive. At first there were big expenses, but later we mastered the bike. We also use comfortable «sleeping buses».

There is a completely different attitude towards woman, no one gives you way ther. After arriving in Vietnam, I started to greatly respect our Kazakh men.

Another difficulty is the different culture and mentality. At first I was looking for the Kazakh community, but as it turned out, there are very few Kazakhs here.

I decided to make local friends among the Vietnamese. I was invited to events and weddings. As a result, I realized that local traditions are similar to Kazakh ones. They respect older generation here, and the traditions of the New Year Tet are similar to our Nauryz.

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Cities are located close to each other, so it is convenient to travel. I liked that here high service with low prices.

In a new country, you must definitely make many friends and get to know the whole culture, feel the local mentality.

About development and career

I am a Mechanical Engineer by education. As a student, I was the chairman of the committee on youth affairs. During a conference with foreign companies, I met company representatives who invited me to the ENI project in the procurement and logistics department. I worked for this company for seven years, after that there was a springboard when I was invited to Maersk Oil.

For as long as I can remember, I have always studied a lot, went to various courses, went in for sports. Thanks to hard work and communication, I have always found a job without any problems.

I advise you to be active on LinkedIn, where all the world's employers are located.

Now I work with my husband, I am engaged in the development and upbringing of children. Also joined a biker club.

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Most employees of our company are Japanese, Arabs and Vietnamese. The culture is different, but the culture of the Japanese is especially inspiring — respect for everyone and hard work. There is one feature that surprised me a lot — during lunch, all Vietnamese take pillows and sleep at their workplaces. They get up early and then always sleep during lunch.

About the impact of relocation


Every country and people teach something new.

I am convinced that home is where the family is. I feel comfortable anywhere if my big family is nearby. This is not a hindrance to building a career. Even if you have four children, as in my case. It is important to delegate all responsibilities among themselves: to be friends with children, to be one team.


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