"It is a unique experience that contributes significantly to both personal and professional growth. It allows you to explore and experience a new work environment, as well as a different living environment. The package of benefits that comes with a secondment is invaluable."
Nuray, how long is your secondment in San Francisco and what is your role there?
My secondment began in October 2021 and will end in summer 2023.Throughout this period, I have been working as an Audit Manager and am responsible for managing and supervising external audit engagements, including Swiss component audits. This involves planning and executing audits, closely monitoring the overall audit process and ensuring effective reporting and communication. It is my responsibility to ensure that the high standards are maintained and that our clients’ expectations are met.
What led you to pursue a secondment opportunity, Nuray?
I was excited to break away from my usual work routine and explore a new professional environment while staying within my passion for Audit. The secondment provided a chance to step out of my comfort zone and gain diverse experiences that fostered personal and professional growth. Moreover, sharing this journey with my husband and two sons brought us all immense joy and wonder. We can experience this whole journey together. For example, during our three-week family trip to Northern California last summer, we visited breathtaking national parks like Yosemite and the Redwoods, as well as enjoyed a couple of days at Lake Tahoe. The stunning beauty of the national parks left us in awe.
What has been your most memorable experience during your time in San Francisco so far?
It's hard to choose just one memorable experience, as I've had many during my time in San Francisco. However, what has impressed me the most since day one is how open and accepting the people are here. It's been a pleasure working in such a diverse and dynamic environment, both on client sites and at KPMG. One cherished memory is our trip to Hawaii, where we spent a week during the Thanksgiving break. Despite the five-hour flight from San Francisco, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves on Oahu, exploring different areas across the island, basking in the beauty of its beaches and savoring some delicious poke bowls – a Hawaiian dish made of raw fish, seaweed, nuts and rice – which we have since adopted as a regular part of our meals in California.
What were some of the biggest challenges you faced while on secondment?
My biggest challenge was right at the beginning, as I started during the busy season and had to move my entire family with me. Adapting as a family takes time and one particular challenge that my family encountered was that my children did not speak any English when we moved to the Bay Area. Despite this, my older son started kindergarten right away, which over here is significantly more focused on academics. Not only did he have to learn English, but he also had to master the alphabet, which was quite an undertaking for him. However, my son had caught up to his classmates in terms of language and literacy skills so fast that after just six months, he had become so proficient that he even began correcting my pronunciation, which was quite amusing.
Nuray, what key learnings will you take with you?
From a professional standpoint, I gained valuable experience in conducting and applying various audit approaches, and enhancing my documentation skills. However, the most significant learnings I took away from this secondment came from being immersed in a culturally-diverse environment. Witnessing people from all over the world living and working together in the Bay Area was truly inspiring and created a fantastic work atmosphere.
Up to this point, it has been and continues to be a unique experience that provides the opportunity to discover and adapt to new working and living environments – in my case, with my family alongside me. The benefits package that accompanies my secondment is invaluable.