With this interview I am starting a set of articles on expatriate success in London. 

This time the interview is with Betty Encinales, a successful entrepreneur and CEO of her own company BeCruit, specialising in Finance, Economic and Technology recruitment. Betty is originally from Colombia, and moved to the UK when she was 18 years old. Today she shares with us the journey to her expatriate success in London:

BettyWhat brought you to the UK?

I lived in Colombia until the age of 18, my father was a successful entrepreneur/ politician and back in the 90’s the security situation for my family was unstable, I had the opportunity to move temporarily to England  and so I did.

Do you remember your first challenges?

I was shocked: the way of life is so different, everything is definitely more expensive and you feel you are nobody. I came when I was 18 and then I started living the student life, learning English, struggling a lot with the cultural differences at the beginning – I did not have friends and had to learn how to look after myself and for the very first time I became my own “cheerleader” to keep on going trough the challenging times.

You have to find your own path. The spoilt girl who I was at home: with daddy, own car, maid to clean the house, in the UK became a strong woman who had to work for every penny to survive.

I was lucky at home, but here I was also lucky to learn the small meanings of life: the meaning of a first wage and learn that everybody is equal, no matter which jobs they have, we can all have the same opportunities.

How did you overcome the challenges?

I overcome challenges by not staying still, but by working hard towards achieving my goals and believe in myself.

How did you start your road to the success?

I found a several job opportunities within the financial sector where I also had to travel and live abroad. I lived in 8 different countries including Spain, France and Mexico but England is the place where I come back. I guess because I grew up here, have my friends and company here.

Two years ago I was fed up with my job and I had a chance to move to recruitment, because I liked people and liked connecting people. And I ended up loving it. It fits perfectly my personality. I was so happy to talk to people every day. I like to develop spiritually and professionally. That job was great, because I had a meaning not just to earn money, but to change people’s lives through work.

So many people hate their jobs. They are stuck, because they do not know how to change it. I think outside the box. I help people to change that, to find what they truly love. I find the specific skills and experience what the employer really needs and connect that with the right person, even when they might not seem to be a “perfect” candidate based on initial experience. I have a talent of finding unique skills in people.

I work in finance, economic and technology recruitment, but we are looking to grow and cover more sectors, as well as open new branches abroad. If you do a good job, you can achieve BIG [results]. Everything starts with a dream – so, Dream BIG!

I have clients in the UK, France, Germany, the US and LATAM. I take 2% of the fee we charge to clients towards building a school in Colombia in a very poor area for kids who never had opportunity to go to school. That kind of charity work I want to do. Because I know what I do and where the money goes.

Betty informalWhat is YOUR success?

Success is something different for everybody. For millionaires, when you have 5 millions, to have 1 million more, will be just another million. Success is something you cannot measure. You are successful for people around you because of who you are and what you are doing. People just should stop listening and thinking “Am I successful? Will people accept me or not?” You have to believe in who you are, follow your heart and your dreams. If you dream is working in a pub – go for it. Listen to your own voice, your own answers, achievements. To be successful is very personal and you have to listen to who you are. My success is inspiring other people trough out my job and my life – that’s when I feel successful.

What is your advice for the expatriates who would like to be successful in London?

  1. Never give up

On the low days put colour in your life, even if you are totally broken and think that you never gonna make it. Life comes with rainy and sunny days. You have to keep on trying and keep on going. Never give up! Life always has problems, but you can never not stop living.

  1. Take any opportunity, which lives brings – from small to big, “let’s try it”

Life is full of surprises:

  • I have never thought I will live in London: when I was 18, I thought I will live all my life in Bogota and be a family lawyer.
  • I have never thought I will work in recruitment;
  • I never thought I will going to end up where I am;
  • I truly believe wherever you are, you are meant to be;
  • If you are open, the doors start opening to you.
  1. Have a passion! I love what I do – I have a lot of passion in what I am doing.
  2. Be motivated! I am motivated by helping people.
  3. Dream BIG! Why dream small? We have one life!

How to find your path?

  • Believe in who you are, listen to your heart, do not listen to others.
  • Get to know yourself, who you are.
  • Let things be. Do not force anything what is for you. It will come naturally.
  • “Sometimes the path is not clear until it becomes clear “that’s when you start finding your purpose on this earth.


Thank you, Betty, for sharing your story to the expatriate success in London and your valuable tips!

Did you enjoy this article? Share it with your friends abroad, they might also find valuable tips! 😉

2013-05-02 08.55.47When you move abroad for work or studies, at certain point you will face a dilemma – how to spend your holidays. Usually expats have four options:

  1. To go to home country, to visit family and friends
  2. To explore the country, where you are living, going to other towns, visiting new places there
  3. To stay at the same place where you live and just do nothing, relax…
  4. To go abroad, somewhere where you have never been before etc.

In general, the choice depends on personal priorities, capabilities and opportunities. Often part of the vacation expats are using to go to their home country, and the other part – to go abroad. Some stay at the same place and relax, but this is rare. And for exploration of the country, where you are living can be used also the weekends, if the distance is not too big. read more →

Cow bites globeYou have decided to get a job abroad and:
  • Have no idea where to start?
  • What to do first and what can be left for the last minute?
  • Do not know how much work abroad will “cost” you in terms of time, money, not seeing your beloved ones? And therefore not sure whether you actually want to go for it?
  • Do not know where to search for a job?
  • Do not believe in yourself that you can get it?
  • Think that you can just pack your luggage, go to new country and find a perfect job straight away?
You know what? I have been there and done that. I lived and worked abroad, experienced its beauties and difficulties.

read more →

This time Ilona Sabera  kindly agreed to give an insight into her experience in Egypt and provide tips on how to fit and feel comfortable in a different country:

When Margarita from Happy Abroad, asked me to share some tips about living in Egypt, I could not decide where to start. After three years in the country and a marriage to an Egyptian, am I the right person to give general advice? Can I still retrieve the feeling when I first came here without any work, study or personal commitments? I must admit the more time passes, the more my eyes and mind get accustomed and it takes effort to remember what impressed or amazed me before. While the first year was the hardest, it was also the most intense experience. I want to focus in this post on internal struggles I had to overcome to fit in a new place, taking into account that each experience is deeply personal. I want to talk about psychological states and social factors I had to consider to live in balance and peace in Egypt.


Language and Communication

One of the most important elements for living in any country for me is knowledge of the local language. It is not so much a practical issue – there is always somebody who speaks basic English or a million of other ways to communicate with people. Still it is a completely different dialogue and attitude if you speak in the language of your conversation partner. It is not only a way to gain respect and trust but also to show a strong will and readiness to overcome challenges. Indeed, my personality slightly changes when I switch to a different language.

Arab countryAcquisition of a language is never memorising a mathematical equation. Learning becomes a natural and easy process for me when I feel the language. This psychological internalisation is especially important in practice. Why a foreigner at the beginner level would want to speak to a native, knowing it inevitably leads to an embarrassing situation, where wrong words cause funny looks while the grammar is being reinvented? Still you cannot avoid this phase in order to master a new language. So what makes one leave a comfort zone of poorly spoken global English and overcome the psychological barrier of fear and timidity? The motivation should be very strong and nothing is stronger than emotions. This is why, if I hate a language, I will never be able to learn it properly, on the other hand, if for any unexplainable reason I love the language, the people or feel attracted to the place I am in, speaking with locals becomes the most natural and logical thing to do. read more →

International? It does not matter how you have arrived there… whether you came from a multi-cultural family, lived in several countries, studied or worked abroad… it makes no difference… the difference is inside you and you know it, you feel it. read more →

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Do you have any questions? Want to share your experience abroad? Or just send greetings from whichever part of the world you are - you are more than welcome! :) Please use this contact form or email: happy@happy-abroad.com.

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