Brunei United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi   14:30

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Sabine, 28 September 2007
Brunei Brunei ,

A new beginning

I am so happy that the chapter Sunshine Borneo is over, even tough they didnt pay me my salary for the three weeks I work there, but I am just happy that Im at the Empire hotel now. The first week is almost over, today is already Friday and since I only have internet access in the office I use the rest of my lunch break to write a new entry. During the weekend I will not be able to go online, thats the only thing that is a bit annoying, but well, I can use the internet the whole week from 8-17 so I should be fine Wink

My first week here was nice, after a relaxing long weekend in a great hotel I had my first working day on Monday. I think it was quite weird to get introduced to all the employees there, because the past 4 days they thought I was a guest. After a brief introduction with the HR department (where I got my name badge, id card etc.) I attended my first important meeting. It included Mr. Keiler (General Manager) as well as all the vice presidents of the different departments. I was quite surprised that Heidi and I were allowed to attend, but apparently we will do that regularly. A funny thing about that meeting was, when somebody asked Mr. Keiler who we are, he just said that we are the new vice presidents of the new markets department Wink

During this meeting I also got the assignment I will work on the next four month and I have to say I really like it because it is exactly what I did the last two years during my study. I will be supervised by the vice president of global sales but my desk is in the office of Sales & Marketing were everybody from PR to Events, F&B and Graphic is sitting. My project is basically about finding new distribution channels to promote and sell the packages from the Hotel to potential guests. Furthermore it also includes a big part of research to be able to get a better insight into potential markets (especially focused on customer behaviour, travel behaviour etc.) like Korea, China, Japan as well as Europe, the whole of Asia and other countries that might be of interest to target. After this research is done it will be used to get a clear picture of the existing distribution channels and also which ones would be the most effective to use. So far to the work I will be doing here the next four month.

Heidi and I also got a tour of the whole property that belongs to the hotel and it is just amazing how big and luxurious it is. The golf course they have is already huge and btw they also have an own cinema, they even have there own exit from the highway. You can really find everything you need here. So if somebody feels like visiting me here I can arrange a really cheap rate, just let me know Wink

After my first working day I had the luxury of staying one more night in the nice hotel room, before I had to move on Tuesday to my new home for the next time. But after the place I stayed at my old placement nothing can be worse, so I was even a bit surprised that the apartment was that big. Heidi and I have to share it with two other girls but we both have our own room and bathroom!! Additionally there is a huge living room, eating room and kitchen. Its all really basic but at least clean and thats all that counts. After moving all of our stuff to the house we went back to work and when we get back to the apartment there was no electricity at all because the other two girls used all of it. Because here you have to buy a prepaid card for a certain amount and then you activate it to be able to use electricity. So after we bought that we finally had light and air condition again, this is the most important thing in this country Wink (Pictures will follow soon)

On Wednesday there was another exiting day, because I had to leave the country for a while, because my old company cancelled my working visa and they only gave me a few days time to exit the country and re-entry it to be able to get a new visa (which will be valid for a month) The good thing is that the border is not that far away (only 40 minutes) because the rest of the island Borneo, where Brunei is located is owned by Malaysia and Indonesia. So we went with a German cook, who also had to renew his visa to the border and then we had to walk by foot to the border of Malaysia, cross it, get a stamp and walk back to Brunei again. Really stupid and useless as well I think, but thats how it is done here. After that we went back to the office and worked till five. Back in the apartment I was finally able to wash my clothes, because we have a washing machine now. That was not the case at my old placement. There I had to wash my clothes by hand and with cold water. But since this, in my opinion, doesnt bring anything I saved all my laundry from the last two weeks.

Yesterday Heidi and I tried to get an overview of what we need to do for our project. We actually work on it together but we will somehow try to divide it a bit so that everybody has her own part to write about for the final placement report we have to hand in with our supervisor at the end of the placement period. After the research questions were defined and the time planning was done we started with our research. And that will go on for quite some time, but thats always like that at a beginning of a project that you have to do a lot of research.

Now its almost weekend, only a few more hours to go and it will even be a long weekend because tomorrow is a public holiday so I dont have to work. But usually I have to work every other Saturday till five. Officially I only have to work 5 days but here they do it like that, that one week you only work 5 days and then the next week you work 6 days. I think thats better, because then you can also already plan things in advance.

I dont know yet what I will do on the weekend, because Heidi and I are kind of stuck at our apartment now, because we dont have a car. Before we could at least walk to some places but now thats not possible anymore (because the Empire hotel is somewhere in the middle of nowhere) But luckily the people here are really helpful and are always willing to pick you up and drive you somewhere.

So far for now, I will do a little more research before I am off. For those of you who want to send me mail, you can find my new address below.

Sabine Keil
The Empire Hotel & Country Club
Jerudong BG3122
Negara Brunei Darussalam

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28 September 2007


28 September 2007

Hi! I just can say...the best choise you every made! I was sure of it before but now I am even more sure! I should say complain a lot of sinshine to school and recommend them Empire! ME and three other attachment complain about Sunshine as well, but it did not help because they still send you! I warned Claudia as well not to go, but you signed your contract already! But I am happy that you are more happy now and I am sure you will have a good time there! And I am sure that people will still bring you around as well because all Brunei people are so nice!!! Have fun! And take care! Love, arielle

Elise & Wouter

1 October 2007

Hey Sabine!
Indeed the best choice you ever made! Enjoy your stay as much as possible, try the golfing it's really fun, and don't think of the other company anymore. I'm glad it all worked out for you so well...
A big kiss from Sarah.
Love, Wouter and Elise


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