DUO Oost-Vlaanderen celebrated its 200th duo in February! And they are none other than Marie & Hasti! We asked them a few questions:

– How does it feel to be the 200th duo?

Hasti: I feel happy about being the 200th duo, and somehow consider it as a sign of luck. I hope this will be my lucky number and I will manage to get my dream job after completing this mentor-mentee program.

Marie: It feels like the Ghent office is doing a great job bringing mentors and mentees together in this beautiful project! And of course, I am very proud to represent the 200th duo!

– What is your approach for your first meeting with the mentee?

Marie: I do not really have a pre considered approach 😉 It is always such a wonderful experience to meet someone for the first time. We talk (a lot) and just let the magic of a new encounter follow its natural course.

– What convinced you to sign up for DUO for a JOB?

Hasti: I got a good impression of Duo for a Job right from the beginning. I just filled in a short online registration form, and was surprised to receive a follow-up call shortly afterward I think in 1-2 days.

After I received explanations of the goals of the program in my first video meeting, I was convinced that it was something I was looking for, and therefore I didn’t hesitate a minute to sign up.

– Why do you think we matched you with Marie?

Hasti: First of all, I must confess that I am super happy to have Marie as my mentor, and I thank you again for this allocation.

To answer your question, I think I managed to make it clear in our first introductory sessions that, as someone coming to Belgium just recently and from a different continent, I didn’t have enough knowledge of the Belgian job market, required trainings and/or language levels. Even more importantly I had not yet made my mind on what I really wanted as I had few different directions in mind. So it was evident that I would need a mentor with experience/interests in a broader range of jobs rather than one single job. I think this could be one of the reasons, not perhaps all, you allocated Marie to me.

– What has your first month with Hasti been like?

Marie: The first month with Hasti was just perfect. We live really close to each other and were able to meet in person several times. We talked about everything women talk about, I met her husband and her young daughter. Last week I picked her up for a meeting with the VDAB consultant and thus we started working on her project. Our duo really got off to a flying start.

Hasti: I am extremely happy about the first month. Despite the COVID-19 crisis, we managed to meet up few times in person. I learned a great amount of things from Marie, and have now much better understanding of the steps I need to still take to get my dream job.

– This is your third duo Marie, what did you learn in your previous duos? Do you maybe have any advice for other mentors and mentees?

Marie: In my first duo I wanted to get right down to business 😉 But I learned that is not a good idea to focus exclusively on your mentee’s project. Getting to know and trust one another, exchanging experiences on other fronts, building a warm relationship, etc. is a very enriching experience and a big and important part of being in a duo.