My V.I.E. Story: Simon Barral, international trainee at Lesaffre Group
In which company are you working and what is your role as a V.I.E.?
I am working as a Financial controller for Lesaffre Group and more specifically for their Ethiopian entity: Lesaffre Ethiopia. This company is an international company with activities in fermentation, baking, healthcare and industrial biotechnology. Lesaffre has 10’700 employees around 50 countries, with its products distributed in 185 different countries with an annual turnover of 2,2 billion euros. As per Lesaffre Ethiopia, we are, for the moment, specialized in Baking products destined for the Ethiopian market.
Considering your background, what did you bring to your company as a V.I.E., and what did this professional experience bring back to you?
I had 2 and a half years of working experience in various fields, such as consulting and audit. My last professional experience was 9 months spent in Kinshasa, in Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as various trips in Ethiopia and other African countries. I already had some knowledge of the Ethiopian context, and since Lesaffre Ethiopia was created less then 1 month before my arrival in the country, my experiences in different fields were crucial in assisting in the creation of the company.
This professional experience has allowed me to have a great level of responsibilities straight away, which is learning me a lot, and not only in finance! My stress management has vastly improved, as well as my capacity of adaptation when facing issues.
How would you describe your experience in your host country?
This experience is very rewarding, both on a professional and on a personal level. Ethiopia is a fascinating country, with a very unique culture, which gives you the will to explore as much as you can while you have the chance to do so, you cannot get bored!
What tips would you give to future V.I.E. coming, or wishing to come, to Ethiopia?
Do not hesitate to come to Ethiopia, you will definitely learn and enjoy it a lot. Try to understand as much as possible the Ethiopian culture, and maybe try and learn how to speak Amharic on the way, it will help you settling and enhance your experience by a lot.
Contact us for more information about the VIE international internship program.