Cao Yiwen, Client Manager, Global Banking
For my first job, I have chosen a path less travelled. I am from Sichuan province in East China and graduated from my master’s degree only six months ago. I chose Cameroon, East Africa, to be the location for my first ever job. I am always up for a challenge! While both my parents have been supportive, my mother can’t help but worry about me. We speak a lot on the phone so I can reassure her that I’m doing very well.
I was fascinated by the environment, the food and the culture of East Africa. The advice my father gave me was to not think about it too much before I made the decision – just do it! You cannot live your life with any regrets.
When I stepped off the plane in Yaoundé, the capital of Cameroon, the first thing that hit me was the fresh air. The landscape was a lot more open and green than I expected. I quickly found myself a shared apartment where I live with other expatriates from China, Hong Kong and Japan. It’s good to have a sense of the familiar, in a world that is otherwise completely new to me.
“I am happy to be able to look back on my time in Cameroon as a very special experience.”
In the office, we speak English to one another, but I speak Mandarin with my clients who are mainly involved in infrastructure investments in Cameroon. I’ve made some great friends here – both colleagues and clients – which helps me to understand the market in more detail, as well as adding a level of enjoyment to my role. My colleagues have all been very welcoming to me and I am regularly invited to their homes for a meal.
I have always been interested in travel, and completed my master’s degree in Portugal. While I was there, I took the opportunity to travel a lot around Europe, and especially enjoyed visiting Prague. I thought the architecture was magnificent and I loved the sense of history in the city. I’m looking forward to doing some travel around the African continent while I am here too.
I am happy to be able to look back on my time in Cameroon as a very special experience. It’s such an exciting opportunity to be part of Standard Chartered as I help to grow the Group’s business with Chinese companies that are expanding globally. I think it is helping me to become a better, more rounded person who is open to new experiences. I have no regrets and would recommend the experience to anyone.