group photo of KR and PH team

Crossing Countries: How Lexcode Philippines Opened the Door to Lexcode Korea for Me

Cheska B. | 

May 8, 2024

When I first came across the job listing at Lexcode, one line particularly caught my attention: “Readiness to travel periodically to Lexcode Headquarters in Seoul, South Korea.” As an ARMY (a die-hard BTS fan) since 2014, I have always placed South Korea atop my travel destination list, so I was elated by the chance to have my professional life align so easily with my personal dreams.

I never expected that stepping into a managerial role and celebrating my third anniversary with Lexcode would be more than just a milestone. It became the gateway to an incredible opportunity. The offer to cross-train at our headquarters in Korea wasn’t just a step up the career ladder—it was also a ticket to a fangirl’s paradise.

First Impressions and First Dinner

My journey began with a flight to Seoul, filled with anticipation. I was excited not only about the professional training ahead but also about immersing myself in the culture I had long admired from afar. The moment I set foot in Seoul, it felt surreal; the vibrant cityscape mixed with the serene beauty of its palaces and mountains seemed like something out of a dream.

Grilled pork belly

Our first evening set the tone for what was to come. Our CEO, Mr. Ham, and COO, Misoon, welcomed us with a traditional Korean meal of samgyupsal at a renowned local spot. As we enjoyed the delicious grilled pork belly and soju, we discussed everything from our first impressions of Korea to the slightly humorous cultural shocks we’d experienced so far. The conversation was light-hearted, especially when we joked about the charm of Korean oppas.

After a hearty meal and insightful conversation, we enjoyed a leisurely stroll back to our hotel. Despite the late hour, I spent time preparing for my presentation the next day, fueled by the excitement and energy of my new surroundings.

Laptop

The days that followed were a blend of rigorous training and cultural immersion. Working at Lexcode Headquarters exposed me to new professional challenges and opportunities to collaborate with some of the best minds in the company.

The intricacies of an immersive company culture

While the atmosphere at the main headquarters felt familiar, echoing the warmth and friendliness of our Philippine branch, my time in Korea uncovered some interesting cultural trademarks.

First, my Korean colleagues have an incredible knack for hospitality. They are always keen on treating you to coffee or lunch and offer suggestions of the best spots to grab a bite. It’s not just about the food; it’s about fostering connections and making everyone feel included.

Second, everyone gives a round of applause after each speaker, no matter how short or long their talk is, during meetings or presentations. This adorable tradition serves as an instant boost of encouragement that spreads positivity all over the room.

Third, punctuality is a big deal in Korea. I remember hustling to make it to meetings on time since they were held at the basement in Thumbs Up. Even though it meant trekking down every time from the higher floors, I respected the unspoken rule of always being early.

Unveiling best practices at work: similarities and differences explored

I had the privilege of engaging in diverse collaborative projects across various teams. Partnering with the management support team provided invaluable insights into their highly automated tax filing procedures, a stark contrast to the cumbersome paperwork typical in the Philippines. Additionally, discussions on company policies underscored both similarities and differences, enriching our understanding of global business practices.

Brainstorming sessions with the sales-generating teams were energizing, yielding prospects for collaborative projects. Similarly, dialogues with the global marketing team centered on refining strategies for local clientele attraction and enhancing sales performance.

One standout moment for me was overseeing the printing of our company envelopes. It was a game-changer—lower costs, lightning-fast service, and top-notch quality. They whipped up 1,300 envelopes in just three days! This contrasts sharply with the prolonged process typically encountered in the Philippines, where administrative tasks often face delays and bureaucratic hurdles.

In essence, each day was intense yet rewarding, with lunch breaks turning into delightful culinary explorations.

coffees

I had been forewarned by previous cross-trainees that Koreans have a strong affinity for coffee—so strong, in fact, that it’s akin to their best friend. And true to their word, caffeine became an essential part of my daily routine during my week-long stay.

Our meals were a diverse array of traditional Korean dishes, generously shared by different team members. From enjoying jjimdak (Korean braised chicken) with Javi, reminiscent of Philippine chicken adobo, to the comical mishap of dropping my chicken into my beer glass during chimaek (Korean fried chicken and beer) with Mr. Ham, each meal was a memorable experience.

We indulged in gimbap, savored galbitang—a hearty soup made with beef short ribs that reminded me of my favorite Filipino dish, nilagang baka—with Sukyung and Youngran and relished in bulgogi and kimchi jjigae (kimchi stew) with Youkyung, Chaehyun, and Seongbin.

A special mention to Mr. Ham, who surprised us with a random corn dog left on our table—a small gesture that spoke volumes about his thoughtfulness.

We also joined the KR ATPE team for a dinner featuring lamb skewers, which turned out to be a delightful surprise tasting like steak despite initial concerns about its smell.

The highlight of my culinary journey was savoring tonkatsu with Mr. Ham on our last lunch together. Witnessing the efficiency of Korea’s contactless payment system—where a simple tap of the phone completes transactions—underscored the country’s knack for innovation and convenience, especially during times of global health concerns.

Throughout my stay, each meal was an opportunity to bond, share stories, and deepen connections, leaving me with cherished memories of my time in Korea.

temple

On our final working day, our CEO kindly granted us a half-day off, so we seized the opportunity to visit Gyeongbokgung Palace. Unfortunately, the chilly weather prevented us from donning traditional hanbok attire, a dream I had long cherished. With temperatures hovering around 9 degrees Celsius, winter was certainly making its presence felt. Undeterred, we made our way to Insadong for some exploration, soaking in the vibrant atmosphere of the streets.

As night fell, we found ourselves drawn back to Goto Mall—a familiar haunt that had eluded us on previous visits. This marked our third attempt, as I needed to purchase additional luggage for the plethora of souvenirs I had accumulated.

The first time we ventured there, much of the underground mall was already closed. The second time, a transport strike forced an early closure. As they say, third time’s a charm!

Mr. Ham’s advice popped into my head: “Keep it light; a 7 kg luggage is all you need.” As I sifted through the endless options, his words made perfect sense. Sometimes, less luggage means more room for souvenirs and spontaneous purchases!

Lasting Impressions and Heartfelt Goodbyes

As my training period neared its end, I realized how profoundly this experience had affected me. It was not only about professional growth but also about personal transformation. Through immersive work and cultural exchange, I acquired invaluable insights into effective collaboration, cross-cultural communication, and adaptability in diverse work environments. These skills will undoubtedly benefit me in my future career endeavors, equipping me to navigate the globalized landscape of today’s professional world with confidence and competence.

Moreover, reflecting on my initial aspirations and goals at the outset of this journey, I am struck by how seamlessly Lexcode Philippines facilitated my transition to Lexcode Korea, turning my personal dreams into tangible realities. What began as a job listing with a tantalizing promise of periodic travel evolved into an enriching odyssey of self-discovery and growth.

Cheska, Andie, Mr. Ham, and Lexi, the cute puppy

On my last day, as I bid farewell to the colleagues and friends I made, I knew that part of my heart would always remain in Korea. Returning to the Philippines, I brought back not just souvenirs but also a fresh perspective on work and life.

Lexcode didn’t just allow me to cross geographical borders; it helped me bridge cultural gaps and expand my horizons in ways I had never imagined. So, to those reading this, whether you’re considering a new role that involves travel or simply someone who loves exploring new cultures, remember that your career can sometimes take you places beyond your wildest dreams. Thank you, Lexcode, for this incredible journey—here’s to many more adventures to come!

And if you’ve had similar experiences or want to share your thoughts, I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to leave a comment or reach out. Who knows? You might inspire someone else to take that leap of faith.

Crossing Countries: How Lexcode Philippines opened the door to Lexcode Korea for Me

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments