Transferring to a new country: from Copenhagen to Singapore

Oct 21 2019
A photo of Michael Thomsen in Singapore

J. Lauritzen has offices in five locations: Copenhagen (head office), Singapore, the USA, the Philippines and Dubai. This provides opportunities for our employees to experience life and work in another country.

Michael Flening Thomsen originally joined J. Lauritzen as a Shipping Trainee in 2015 and now has the role of Operation Manager with Lauritzen Bulkers. He moved from Copenhagen HQ to Singapore in September 2019.

How did the opportunity to transfer to a different office come up? 

Since I started my career at JL, it has been a goal of mine to get the opportunity to work abroad, and I have talked very explicitly about it with my manager.  

Having studied a semester in Hong Kong, where I fell in love with the Asian culture, I knew that Singapore would be my priority. Therefore, I was thrilled when I was offered a position as Operations Manager at our Singapore office, having completed two years traineeship and two years as Assisting Operations Manager in Copenhagen. It felt like perfect timing and a natural step in my career path.  

What inspired you to take the transfer to another country?  

The curiosity and inspiration I have from my parents, who have lived abroad in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Sierra Leone. Actually, Singapore was the first country where they too began their globetrotter adventure. So, it is funny to repeat family history following Dad’s footsteps.   

What were your first impressions of your new country – and of the new office? 

Much like Hong Kong (despite recent turmoil), Singapore is a flourishing multicultural city that provides a wide array of sightseeing and culinary opportunities. The city is very clean and green with cheap and fast public transportation that runs almost flawlessly. However, the humidity and warm weather is something I am still adapting to, especially when playing football on Sunday afternoons.  

I had a warm welcome from my new colleagues at the office, making the transition period easy. Within our staff we have six different nationalities, emphasising the cultural diversity of the city-state of Singapore.       

What are you hoping to gain from this experience? 

I am looking forward to getting acquainted with the trades i.e. clients, ports, agents, cargoes, challenges, etc. out here. I am also looking forward to learning more about Asian culture and maybe even learning some Mandarin.  

On a more personal level, I hope to have invaluable experiences and adventures as well as gaining cultural and personal acquaintances. I have a Padi scuba diver certificate, so I intend to exploit the many beautiful diving sites around Asia.     

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