Blog Archive

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Working abroad in the Cayman Islands

By Melissa K. Barker
Assurance Senior
Phoenix, AZ

In January 2014, an email came into my Outlook requesting the assistance of two McGladrey seniors in the RSM Cayman office for a two and a half month period over the upcoming summer. As soon as I read the email, I jumped at the opportunity. I applied and found out within a couple weeks that I had been selected for one of the positions. I could not have been more ecstatic. 

I am now 6 weeks into my secondment with RSM Cayman and I can confidently say it has exceeded all of my expectations. To start with, since I joined McGladrey about 4 years ago my background has been primarily in the healthcare industry. However, my experience with RSM Cayman thus far has been entirely within the insurance industry. The first few weeks were a bit of a struggle. It reminded me of how it felt to be a first year staff! Now that I’ve gotten the hang of things, I’ve begun to really appreciate how much learning a new industry broadens your perspective on auditing overall. 

Melissa swimming with sting rays
And while the RSM Cayman office has had no trouble keeping me busy, one of the obvious benefits of a secondment like this is to get to experience the sights and culture of a different country. Some of the highlights I’ve experienced while not in the office include swimming with stingrays, yacht excursions along both the west and east coasts of the island, holding baby sea turtles at the Cayman turtle farm, parasailing and stand up paddle boarding. I’m also an avid runner and my daily runs along the beach just outside my condo have been an incredible perk! 

The culture in Grand Cayman has also made this experience incredibly unique. While I didn’t know this prior to coming to the island, there is a huge population of expats from all around the globe. As a result, the culture in Cayman is incredibly welcoming and friendly. I have made friends from all around the world that I will undoubtedly stay in touch with when I leave. I feel especially fortunate for this aspect of my secondment. 

As for the remaining month I have on the island, I have plenty planned to fill up any free time I get. In just a week, I have a weekend trip to Honduras planned with my fellow McGladrey secondee (Kelli Hall from the Kansas City office) and one of the managers from the RSM Cayman office. We have white water rafting and zip lining on the agenda once we arrive. Another item on my to-do list is to get my diving certification, as Grand Cayman is known for its world class diving. I cannot express enough how much I have gained from this experience, both professionally and personally. I would recommend a secondment to anyone! You won’t regret it!

1 comment:

Mike said...

Melissa, very cool to hear of your experiences, both personal and professional, resulting from your Cayman experience.

I was struck by your overall sense of adventure and the resulting benefits that are derived.

Well done