Blog written by Ariane Vieira, Graphic Designer at CCM Group.
I arrived in the UK from Brazil on July 26th 2019. Yes, it was mid-summer, but Brazil felt much hotter than here (no surprise there)! The average temperature in Belo Horizonte, where I was living, is between 13°C - 29°C, whilst in Nottingham the average is from 4°C - 16.7°C. Yep, quite a difference!
During the first few months of working in the UK I was working from home as a freelancer for my previous Brazilian employers. It’s ironic that just two weeks after I got a full time office job at CCM Group in March, we all started to work from home. And as this all started back in March, the sun seemed to be shining every day, right when we shouldn’t have been going out. One just can’t have everything...
I decided to look towards the positives of this situation, maybe that’s my “brazilianness” coming through. So, instead of thinking about being indoors all week, I was very grateful for how this situation had and still is drastically reducing my commute to work: from over an hour to approximately 17 seconds!
I started at CCM Group in early March as a Junior Graphic Designer, a similar role to what I had back in Brazil. Since then, I have already been offered great progression opportunities and I am now the Graphic Designer for the B2C division of the business, CCM Axis. When I first started working here, I expected the environment to be very quiet, considering I learned that Europeans tend to be reserved. I am so glad that I was wrong! I can be myself at work - just like I was in Brazil. I love sending gifs to my coworkers on our instant messaging Slack channels, making jokes and talking lots (I still find it very funny that English people think that Americans are loud - they’ve seen nothing until they’ve met a Brazilian!).
The major differences I noticed between working in England and in Brazil are mostly practical ones. The first one, of course, is the language - I hope you as the reader knows that Brazilians speak Portuguese, and not Spanish. Anyway, being bilingual has put me in some very funny situations throughout my life. One classic Ariane moment was when our Managing Director, Trent, asked at the end of a meeting: “Does anybody else have any other business?” to which I sensibly replied: “Yes, I do! I have an online shop for selling cards!” I mistakenly thought he was asking what work I did outside of CCM Group!
Being bilingual has given me so many funny moments, but some scary ones too… A few years ago, when I was asking for directions, someone told me to follow a cycle path. I turned to him, astonished, and shouted: “FOLLOW A PSYCHOPATH?!”
Believe it or not, I have been speaking English for over 10 years.
Jokes aside, I haven’t had too many serious lost-in-translation moments so far. It took some time for me to get used to speaking with clients over the phone, but I soon got the hang of it! Practice makes perfect. This is actually something quite cool about the UK - so many different people from so many different places! I have three polish coworkers, and having a multicultural team makes me feel even more welcomed. Surprisingly, in the many, many years I lived in Brazil, I only ever met about five foreigners.
Another thing that always amazes me is how much English people adore hot drinks. I think my coworkers drink over 5 cups a day in the office - perhaps even more at home! And here’s a curiosity about Brazil - not only do we prefer coffee, but most people who drink tea don’t add any milk to it. Yes, you’ve read it right! When I was younger I thought I was pioneering the art of making tea! Then I moved to England...
Well, moving to another country is quite challenging and scary, so being warmly welcomed at CCM Group has made me very proud of myself. Not only for overcoming language (and food) barriers, but also for finding an enjoyable career in my field of study, while being an immigrant. Ironically, I have never valued my own culture so much as I do now. I miss my family and friends, but I’m also very grateful for the amazing people I have met in the UK. And speaking about gratitude, this is what I’d like to say to everybody from the CCM team, who have made me feel so welcome: Obrigada - thank you!