When I first found out I would be coming over to Guernsey for secondment at Firstcall’s Guernsey headquarters and told my sister, she asked a question most Bajans would ask. “Where is that?” I however had known about Guernsey from my time at university studying for my Banking & Finance degree. But even then, there was some slight trepidation about exactly what to expect culturally and more importantly for a Caribbean native, the cold weather.
No matter that my first few weeks were a bit of an adjustment in terms of temperatures being over 50% lower than a normal day in Barbados, it’s been overall a very interesting, exciting and educational experience for me.
One of the major things I noticed within my first few weeks was the completely different pace of doing business here which I had previously heard from Tina (Managing Director of Firstcall) and my mom who had lived in England. Nonetheless even knowing this, it was quite a stark comparison between the prolonged time businesses in Barbados and the Caribbean can take in actioning matters and how quickly things move here.
Something that I absolutely love about the island is how close everything is in terms of work, supermarket, gym and bars. In Barbados my work commute is significantly longer even though our island is not terribly larger than Guernsey. However, with the number of cars on the island, a journey that should take 20-25 minutes can take nearly 2 hours. You truly only notice the difference in work / life balance and the extra time you have in your day when you get a chance to cut down on your work commute.
Some of my other highlights in Guernsey have been going to two music festivals in July and August, with Vale Earth Fair at such a beautiful location and having superb tropical weather being a real delight! I have always been a fan of enjoying nature and my two trips to Herm where I got a chance to see the beautiful landscapes, sea views and meditate in idyllic surroundings have been absolutely amazing.
I have met with a few expats who have said they have had a tough time fitting in and making friends. Island life I think, no matter where you are in the world, can be quite parochial and closed off in a sense as locals can immediately notice who is not from the island. However, I have found that once you put yourself out there, it’s certainly possible to make strong connections.
Life is all about what you make of it! I have been blessed to have had the opportunity to come over to such a beautiful and friendly island and have made friendships that I hope will last a lifetime.