Story by Sharabh Kochar
July 5th was an auspicious milestone in my life, and will always remain memorable, because it was the day I received the confirmation of my co-op assignment at Schlumberger in Ecuador.
My departure itinerary to Ecuador was perfectly scheduled and I received a warm welcome at the airport. Reflecting on my first day at the headquarters office in Quito, I collected my enthusiasm and met my coworkers, thrilled to gain on-site experience, and realized that I was the first ever co-op at this location. Within a week, I was pampered by everyone, which made me feel like part of the team immediately. As welcomed as I felt, I was equally as overwhelmed by the work and the responsibilities that were placed on me.
I was assigned to work on the Supply Chain Management of Imports and Exports in the Logistics department. With the help of my supervisors, I developed in-depth knowledge, ranging from simple Excel sheet updates, to supervising and tracking of the import supplies of merchandise and products.
Due to my arduous work ethic, my supervisor included me in newly implemented software assignments, from SAP, to VLOOKUP and MACROS, which fellow engineers can appreciate. Similarly, I went through numerous certification trainings organized by the company, which helped me to understand how important each stage of a project is.
After three months, I was switched to work on the field at the El-Coca base of Schlumberger. This was a thrilling journey which allowed me to work in the middle of the Amazon Rain Forest. My daily tasks as part of the Materials Team included planning, coordinating and monitoring of the cargos (quality and quantity) in the warehouse, organizing them in the safe storage and ensuring efficient and effective operations of the storehouse.
Another highlight of my time in Ecuador was my work as a volunteer with Schlumberger Excellence in Education Development. I have always had a passion to help others, so the chance to provide aid to a team of a special children orphan home, as well as an old age home, was especially gratifying. The experience was memorable and brought back memories of all my past social work in India.
Ecuador has beautiful weather, very friendly people, breathtaking scenery and is, above all else, affordable. But at the same time, it lies in the seismic zone and is vulnerable to high magnitude earthquakes and active volcanos. The recent intense 2016 earthquake somewhat complicated my decision- as I felt scared initially. However, as I learned more about the company’s mandatory protocol and specially designed mass disaster training program and mock drills, I felt more comfortable.
Living in Ecuador brought me many adventures, and was a once in a lifetime opportunity to venture into the wilderness of the Amazon Forest that I will never forget. I visited the Charles Darwin’s museum Galapagos Island, La Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús, Cotopaxi, Otavalo, San Francisco Church and the surrounding Old Town, Baños de Agua Santa, and Mindo village. I enjoyed my time in a Spanish lingual environment, which challenged me to survive by interacting with people using Google translator. Also, though I am a vegetarian, I can affirm the quality of Ecuadorian cuisine.
Concluding my tenure of Schlumberger del Ecuador, I can say with confidence that it is worth taking risks to explore new opportunities in a totally new environment.