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Italian about moving to Astana with family and searching for a job

Camilla Colombo

Hometown — Milan, age 36, recruitment manager


Italian about moving to Astana with family and searching for a job

About herself

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I’m from Italy, born and raised in Milan. I got a Master’s Degree in Organizational and Marketing Psychology. Right after my graduation from University, I started working in the Oil and Gas Industry in the HR Department, focusing on Recruitment and Talent Development. My first experience was with Eni, a Major Italian Oil and Gas Company. I was part of the Recruitment Team at that time, responsible for the full-cycle recruitment for the Exploration and Production Division.

When I decided to move to the US in order to follow my husband there, I took a temporary leave and developed my language and personal skills at the St. Thomas University in Houston, Texas. I then moved to London and I was offered a job by Saudi Aramco, the largest O&G company in the world where I had the opportunity to further develop my career path. That experience opened up new opportunities for me. Indeed I joined Sasol, a South African Chemical and O&G company, as HR Talent Sourcing Consultant for a few years.

About the city

We arrived in Kazakhstan on the day of my 35th birthday, a year and a half ago in April 2018. My husband was offered a new challenging role in Astana, and we decided to take this challenge together as a team. Following a twin maternity leave by far the toughest role in my career, we have landed in Kazakhstan.

Astana is a super modern and developed city offering a lot for families and entertainment

Despite the extreme weather conditions, Astana exceeded my expectations since the very beginning. It’s a super modern and developed city offering a lot for families and entertainment.

About searching for a job in Astana

Searching for a job was my job for the first few months. It was a very difficult process. In the beginning, it seemed absolutely impossible because I had to find a company willing to sponsor me in order to get a work permit and a working visa. And I didn’t speak a single word of Russian. So I decided to learn the language first, to be able to read all the online job posts. I also had several interviews but many companies I was interviewing for didn’t have offices in Astana. Due to my O&G background, it would have been probably easier to find jobs in Atyrau or Western Kazakhstan.

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But I never gave up and I found a company which was keen to open a new office here and was looking for resources with my background. So, now I’m the recruitment manager, managing the team and all the recruitment activities in an Italian Engineering company here in Astana.

About work ethic in Kazakhstan

I often worked in multicultural teams. Work ethic has for sure a strong cultural component and I would say it differs from many aspects whether you are working in Italy, in the UK, in Africa, in the US or Kazakhstan. But it also depends a lot on the personal attitude and behavior of the single employee.

Most of my colleagues are locals, and they are efficient and dedicated to their job

I always had the privilege to be with hard-working and reliable people and the same is happening here in Kazakhstan. Most of my colleagues are locals, and they are efficient and dedicated to their job. I really appreciate it when people go the extra mile showing they care for what they do. Being Italian, I definitely don’t miss the Londoners' “sad desk lunch” or the Italian Summer business shut down. I’m enjoying discovering new cultural habits, not only at work.

Job search recommendations

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First of all, learn basic Russian. It makes your life and your job search much easier. Then, try to explore the job market online. Engage and connect with locals and with other expats in your network in order to be updated on what’s out there in the market.

Astana is a developed and further developing city, I see business growing fast in different sectors. Local content requirements are quite stringent, however, there are still some areas where international experience can absolutely help in developing local capabilities.

About plans

I don’t have a clear idea about my future and I tend to be more focused on my present but I’m definitely keen to keep on with my International Career in the O&G Industry.

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