Mónica Casado, ULMA Architectural Solutions expatriate in Brazil — ULMA Begira

Ulma Architectural Solutions

Mónica Casado, ULMA Architectural Solutions expatriate in Brazil

“O tempo voa-Time flies, as the Brasilians say, it’s already almost a year and half since I came to São Paulo. From my point of view, the thermometer telling you that the expatriation process is still a positive experience is the very fact that with each passing day you feel less like an expatriate. Evidently, this point cannot be reached today for tomorrow, this process occurs in several stages.
Mónica Casado, ULMA Architectural Solutions expatriate in Brazil
Apr 08, 2013

The first stage lasts for about two weeks, a new city, a new project, a new culture, a new language, every day brings something new with it, something to discover, a thousand emotions crowd this short space of time. You pass through this stage, you begin to realize just where you are, you begin to experience the city firsthand, and until this moment you have only called home to tell them how big it is here!!

Brazil as a country has broadcasted itself as an idyllic image of paradise thanks to Rio de Janeiro, its beaches, the carnival, the sun. But São Paulo doesn’t contain any of these features. Sure, on arrival you see an incredible city before you, its dynamism, its skyscrapers, its size, its avenues.

The process of expatriation is above all a positive experience; it’s the very fact that with every passing day you feel less like an expatriate.

This “New York of the south” is a metropolis that people from São Paulo are proud of, it being the economical and commercial heart of Brazil and Latin America. On the other hand it is a city that overwhelms you with traffic day by day and with its constant traffic jams. (you can be stuck in traffic for as long as 3 hours sometimes when travelling to one of the city’s airports that is only 25km away!) with such a hectic lifestyle, you should become accustomed to living with a lower level of personal security than that we are used to in Europe, the high cost of living surprises you, provoked by the rapid increase of both the city’s and the country’s economy.

At the same time you have to start looking for places to live, something that you can’t live without if you want to do things like open a bank account, credit card or even a telephone contract, you have to search for a place to live, which unfortunately brings with it added stress and worries and you end up dedicating time that you don’t have to it because you are so busy settling into work.

In terms of your professional life, in this period you begin to understand just how complicated Brazil actually is in giving fiscal (the management of taxes is one of the most complex in the new world), administration (the most time dedicated country in transmitting and managing documentation), and with high benefits (the Port of Santos takes the most time loading and unloading worldly goods).

The help of Mondragon Brazil and the businesses within the ULMA Group have been a great help to me especially in helping me settle into the formal processes of the establishment.

In this period you realize that you can count on the help of Mondragon Brazil and the businesses within the ULMA Group who have been a great help to me especially in helping me settle into the formal processes of the establishment, in understanding the world of economics, fiscal matters, work, regulation, legislation in the import and export fields, structure of payment and the process of earning within the first few projects completed in Brazil. In this second stage your calls to home will be to say: this is too big!!

After 6 months you will barely even notice that you are in the third stage, you begin to embrace the city, the people, you feel more comfortable at work, you are starting to pick up on the language, your friends consist of other expatriates like yourself and locals, who are your friends, because at the end of the day, they are the people who share your interests, who want to explore new places as much as you do, who help you with necessary everyday things. Most importantly, your expectations have changed and you see the city as it is and not how you expect it to be and this helps you to make the most of it.

Ultimately, here at ULMA Architectural Solutions we have a difficult but exciting challenge ahead of us along the lines of facades and enclosures. Difficult, because we are breaking into an immense market, that up until now has known nothing of our brand or products. Exciting because the first finished products: Shopping Riomar, Shopping Salvador, Building for the Trade Federation, give us confidence as well as something to show off to the Brazilian market, because we have a team, 3 business managers and a technical director, all eager to carry projects forward, and because we have such great experience in other markets and confidence in the quality of our products.

To conclude, to live as an expatriate out here in Brazil is a personal experience made up of both difficult and exciting times; it is a professional challenge for the entire organization. In fact, it is an enormous challenge that we are confident we can succeed in with hard work, a steadfast attitude and with a drive for business; we will be able to continue looking toward the future.“

It´s time to call home: Brasil o país mais grande do mundo!!