Working in the Netherlands and Ecuador is different. I even feel different in these two places.
Today, I am not bringing you an extensive analysis of the work life of employees across these countries. I will just share a few of my observations with you.
Transportation: In the Netherlands, I do everything by bike and public transportation. I don’t have a car. In Ecuador, I walk (but only in a limited amount because of the current crime surge) and do pretty much everything by car. I don’t even have a bike.
Morning schedule: People in Ecuador are early risers (and they work long workdays). University starts classes at 7am. Many people start their commutes around 5am. I wake up early in Ecuador. In the Netherlands, life starts a bit later, so I don’t wake up that early when I am there.
Dress code: Lecturers dress more formally in Ecuador than in the Netherlands. In Ecuador, I wear a jacket most of my days, whereas in the Netherlands, I wear clothes with which I can jump into the lab right away.
Work-life balance: I tend to feel that my work-life balance is better when I am in the Netherlands. There is more of a societal focus on wellbeing and balance in the Netherlands, whereas in Ecuador the focus is on growth and career development. I often have to remind myself to take the time for my family and for myself.
Exercise: Since I bike a lot when I am in the Netherlands, I get my exercise “for free” with my commute. When I was living in the Netherlands, very few gyms would open early in the morning (this aligns with the morning schedule as well). In Ecuador, the gym opens at 5am and I have to make a conscious effort to exercise.