Cabin Crew Profiles - Madina
Welcome to the latest edition of Cabin Crew Profiles, where we give you an insight into the personalities that make up flying rosters around the world. They all started their journeys in different places, at different times and for different reasons. Yet they are all currently flying us across the world. Today we speak to Madina, currently based in Dubai.
ECC: Hi Madina, Thanks for joining us, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Madina: Of course, thank you for having me, I am Madina and I am originally from Zaysan, a small town in east Kazakhstan. I completed my all of my high school education in Kazakhstan and then left the country in order to study Business Chinese at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, close to Shanghai, China.
ECC: Did you always want to go to China?
Madina: My aunt Sanata was my inspiration, she had always travelled and encouraged me to push myself, Kazakhstan and China are neighbouring countries and I have always known that I wanted to explore the world. She convinced me to try and see if I could get admitted and I did. Learning Chinese was going to be something that would help me in the future as Mandarin Chinese is the most spoken native language in the world. When the opportunity came to study in Hangzhou, I took it with both hands. I was there for 4 years, with an additional year in Beijng, I learned many different things in China and I wrote my dissertation on the relationship between Kazakhstan and the Shanghai Cooperation Foundation.
ECC: Impressive, so how what made you decide to move to the Middle East?
Madina: After finishing my university I worked back in Almaty for 2 years, I was working for a big multinational company but I knew I wanted to travel more. My Aunt Sanata suggested I should move to the Middle East as there were many jobs available. I ended up working in a hotel in Abu Dhabi and lived next to one of the Etihad Crew accommodation buildings, I would say that this is when my dream of flying started. I didn’t know much about the job, the benefits or the salary, I just knew I wanted to do it. I ended up applying for several companies and in the end; I was invited to attend a Qatar Airways assessment day in Dubai. I went and I took the opportunity with both hands.
ECC: Did you get the job?
Madina: I did and I was so happy!
ECC: Did you know a lot about Qatar at the time?
Madina: I didn’t know much, it was like another world for me, I had never met anyone from Qatar but I was so excited about the job that I didn’t have to think much about going there! I expected it to be quite similar to the U.A.E. and in some ways it was, but in other ways it was completely different. I lived in the old section of Doha called Mansoura, it was very traditional but only 15 minutes away from the ultra-modern skyline of Corniche.
ECC: How long were you in Qatar for?
Madina: I was in Qatar for over 2 years, I really enjoyed my time in Qatar but I flew so much that I felt like I needed a rest. I constantly flew over 120 hours per month and I was beginning to feel burned out. I enjoyed flying so much but I felt like I was only living to work and I was constantly tired. I had applied to work in Dubai twice in that time and I had not passed the assessments and part of me began to think that it wasn’t meant to be. All I knew was that I needed to rest.
ECC: So you flew back home?
Madina: Yes, I flew back home for 2 months, I took time out to relax, to see my family and friends, after 2 months the itch came back and I decided to work in Dubai again, this time through an agency in Moscow. I ended up getting the job, third time lucky.
ECC: Do you remember what you did differently in your third interview that got you the job?
Madina: I remember I felt more confident because I knew the job already, the only thing I had hoped for was to not have a recruiter from an English-speaking country as I wasn’t completely confident in my English. My recruiter was American! But I definitely felt more confident in my abilities and I believe that being confident in who I was played a big part in me getting hired.
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ECC: Fantastic, so then you move to Dubai, how did you find it?
Madina: I had been before but for me it was like the city of the future, I loved how I didn’t need to travel to countries to meet people from there, they were all already in Dubai. I feel like there are so many things to do in Dubai and that the city has so many personalities. I am really enjoying my time here.
ECC: What are some of the differences between working in Qatar and working in Dubai?
Madina: The job itself is very similar, it’s what happens outside of your flying time where things begin to differ. We used to fly a lot in Qatar, we would have at least 100 flying hours a month and it wasn’t unusual to have two months with over 120 hours of flying. Here in Dubai I average between 80-100 flying hours a month. It was much stricter in Qatar as well, we had to be in our accommodation by 4am every day and we were not allowed to leave before 7am every day. Another thing was that we would have to be inside our crew accommodation 12 hours before our scheduled pick up time for a flight. So if you have a 4am flight, you had to be home by 1:30 - 2pm the day before as the pick ups are scheduled 2 1/2 hours before your flight departure time. You definitely get the opportunity to live more in Dubai. In Qatar, as I said before, you lived to work.
ECC: Do you have any favourite destinations?
Madina: I find that this is one of the hardest questions you can ask us crew as there are so many nice places out there that we have seen! I love Italy, the food is really nice, the Tiramisu in Italy is amazing and so is the Pasta, I also like the nature there, there is a mixture of green, of mountains and the beach. It has most things. I also like the Seychelles, we stay at the Eden Island resort and it is just beautiful. I like most cities in Australia but my favourite there is Sydney. Then there is Brazil…..like I said before, there are too many destinations to pick from.
ECC: Where do you see yourself in the future?
Madina: I really love my job and I want to have more experiences here, I can’t imagine doing anything else apart from this right now. I know that aviation at times can be uncertain but I can’t wait to be back flying again!
ECC: Finally, what advice would you give to anyone that is thinking of becoming a flight attendant?
Madina: I find this question quite interesting, I believe that this job is difficult for those who are not naturally empathetic to others as well as those who don’t like socialising too much. I love the social aspect of my job, the interactions that we have on board every day and even though the long days can be tiring, I love knowing that each flight will be different, that I will be surrounded by new customers and new crew. I like being around people so to me it doesn’t often feel like a job.
ECC: Thanks Madina, it was really good to speak to you. Madina: You are welcome. It was nice speaking to you too!
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