Nederlia is a company that helps IT experts from around the globe move to different countries, so it was fitting that I joined - I think I've become an expert in the field of moving to a new country. It's been a year since I joined and can honestly say I have one of the most rewarding jobs in my field.
In this short time, I have helped people from Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, Australia, England, USA, Portugal, Spain, France, amongst others, move abroad, so they can fulfill their dreams of experiencing new cultures, being exposed to new and different challenges, and enriching their IT skills with new ways of working within new organizations. Keyword: NEW.
When going through the interview process with them, we start focusing on the typical things: right fit, company background, candidate experience, work/life balance, salary expectations, etc. If they are successful, and are still interested in the opportunity after the first few rounds of interviews / tech tests, then we go into what they had thought of, but never really imagined would be 100% possible: ACTUALLY moving abroad. Excitement and nerves start kicking in, and with them, doubts about being able to go through with it. Depending on the candidate's situation (do they have a family, are they single, what about their pets...) their thought process will vary, but the basic instinct of immediately questioning if it’s something they can actually go through with or not, will always be the same.
This is the most sensitive part of the process, and it's completely understandable. This is when my experience comes into play.
In short: I was studying a 6 year long career in architecture, in Chile, which I decided to drop off from, half way through (my parents' reaction was one to frame!). I immediately decided I wanted to travel and explore the world. Cutting all financial ties with my family, and with only 1,000 USD in my pocket, I moved to Australia, alone - it was both an exhilarating and an absolutely terrifying moment in my life, but I knew I was going to pull through and be successful in whatever I set my mind to doing (anybody believe in mind over matter? - I do). From that moment on I haven't stopped. I have lived in 8 different countries (Australia, New Zealand, England, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, USA & Spain), in 7.5 years.
Within that period of time I've learnt so much, and this is what I share with candidates who are having doubts about taking the plunge, and now would like to share with anyone who is considering moving abroad:
- Home will always be there for you
It's really hard leaving loved ones behind, not knowing when you'll be able to see them again. It's heartbreaking saying your goodbyes at the airport, and leaving the life you know and have always known, behind. The reality is that you won't be able to interact with everybody as you are used to, getting together with them for birthdays, family gatherings, weekends, drinks, etc. You'll think of everything you will be missing when you're away: weddings, births, graduations. Yes, you'll miss all those things (unless you can fly back for special occasions - which wasn't my case), but the amazing thing is that when you do come back, you will find that everything is just as you left it, despite all the changes you knew were happening in your absence. It's such a gratifying thing. We are also so connected nowadays, that, apart from the physical presence, we're more involved in everything going on than before.
Another important thing here is that if you ever decide to go back to your country, you know that it doesn't matter where you are in the world, your home, family, and friends will always be there waiting for you. It's an incredible concept to grasp, which lets you know you have something to fall back on, whenever you decide it's time.
- Stepping out of that airplane is a game changer
As mentioned before, the part where you are saying your goodbyes and stepping into that plane is one of the toughest things you'll do throughout this experience, but when you arrive at your final destination and step out of that same airplane, you'll be a completely different person, who will be taking in things in a different way than ever before. There's a certain power to the person who has just arrived in a new city, with their heads held high, ready to take whatever comes their way with all the energy in the world. It has to be one of the most exciting times you'll ever live, when going through this. All the heartbreak and sadness is left in the plane, because you know you have to "survive" in this new environment. So, your survival skills (which maybe you didn't even know you had!) kick into gear, and there's no stopping them, or turning back.
- You will join a community you didn’t know existed
When you go back to visit your family and friends, you'll immediately realize that it doesn't matter how amazing your experiences were - if you have a really cool office, or if you were finally able to work within an international environment, and you've learnt a new language, or all the amazing things you're able to do in your new city - they will just not "get" it. You will find yourself answering the same questions about your experience abroad, but not really feeling understood in the way that you'd like to be.
Luckily, more and more people are taking off now and experiencing life abroad, so it's becoming an easier thing to share with others. Whenever you find those who you can truly relate to, you will find it hard to let them go - it won't matter if you continue living in the same place as them, or if they move to a different country. Friendships built with this in common stay strong, despite long distances or long periods of time without communication. This is one of the most valuable things you'll have with this experience. Our community is growing, and this is a really exciting thing!
- Country borders are fading
When people ask me where I'm from, I honestly have a hard time responding. My background may be different to many of yours, but I have found that it's more and more common these days. I always answer this question in the same way, so people can make up their own minds about it: my father is Italian, my mother is Chilean, I was born in Ecuador, and was brought up in Ecuador, USA and Chile. Go figure, right? "Which team do you support in the World Cup??" - Whichever one is winning!
I'm not the only one with a background like this - we're all spread out around the world. The more time passes, the more country borders fade, and we're not the only ones who are making this happen.
With globalization and the internet, people are starting to see how important it is to not be stuck in just one place for your whole life. If you only know one language, you know that learning another one will help you in so many ways. The same goes for the experience with different cultures, ways of living, different employers, etc. Companies are also more interested than ever before in bringing people from other countries on board, because they too know how valuable their experience and knowledge will be for the organization.
In this sense, it doesn't matter where you are from. If you have the skills and the right attitude and mindset for a specific city/country, you'll be welcomed with arms wide open.
- It's true - stepping outside of your comfort zone is the best thing you'll ever do
I know this can be a very repetitive thing, especially with all the posts about it going around on LinkedIn, but it's a very true statement. The only way of truly moving forward with yourself is by stepping outside of that comfort zone that you may be stuck in. Call it inertia, routine, comfort zone, "the known", whatever you like - it's still all the same. For the last 7.5 years I have constantly lived outside of my comfort zone, and I wouldn't have done it in any other way. Instead of following the well built/paved road that "society" had for me, I decided to make/trace my own. This is when I finally felt I was truly living, and I've never looked back since.
One of the main reasons candidates are interested in speaking with us is that they are looking for new challenges / experiences. They are tired of the same old same old, and want to experience something different in their lives. They feel they are stuck, and want help with coming out of that. If it's the first time they are moving outside of their comfort zone, little do they know that they'll never be the same again. It's the only way of putting yourself in situations you're not used to, and challenging yourself to solving problems related to them, without really knowing how. This is when your survival instinct kicks in, and you discover new things about yourself and about your capabilities, that you would have never seen if you had stayed in the same situation as before. When you discover these things about yourself, adrenaline pours in, which can even become a very addictive thing. The idea is to never stop moving. Don't think you can do that? - Everyone can!!
- Professional growth is unavoidable
Once you get this started, there's no turning back, and without you even realizing it you'll be changing as a person, always towards the good (normally / hopefully). Apart from becoming a better person, and adding more "tools" to your "toolkit", you'll catapult your career.
As mentioned before, I didn't finish my studies, and nobody thought I would get very far without a degree or a piece of paper that said I had completed 6 torturous years of studying something I didn't enjoy. Fortunately, I didn't worry about that. I developed skills I didn't know I had in me just by trying new things - I realized I was good and really enjoyed sales and working directly with people. From then on, I’ve been able to build an international career, always making my next step a better one than the one before. Call it hard work, good timing, or just pure luck, it's taken me to where I am now - never in a million years would I have predicted I was going to be part of an incredible company, helping people from around the globe do exactly what I've done and feel passionate about... with the added bonus of being able to work with the top tech companies from around the world, of course.
It doesn't matter which industry you're in, which country you live in, or which company you work for - moving abroad and experiencing things in a different way will only add to what you already have, and it will open so many other doors you never even knew existed. Also, and just to add importance to this subject: Companies, our clients, nowadays are looking for just that.
- You will only regret the things you didn't do, as opposed to the ones that you did
A few years ago, I read an article on what older people, who were in their deathbeds, regretted about their lives. It stuck with me, and I've never let it go ever since. It basically showed interviews that were done to different people, and it stated that the vast majority of them said that they didn't really regret what they had done, but that they regretted what they hadn't done. These are powerful words coming from people with long lives lived. Immediately I asked myself if I had any regrets in my life, and my answer was "no". My goal from then on was to continue being able to answer "no" to that question.
When being put in front of a job offer, giving you the opportunity to move abroad, you need to ask yourself: If I don't take it, will I, in 10 years time, look back and say to myself "WHY?!". Everyone knows that circumstances in life change from one moment to the next, so if your situation right now lets you have that freedom to move, why wouldn't you take it? Maybe you think that you'll have plenty of those opportunities in the future - but what if the future has a different plan for you? Life is NOW - you can take it or leave it, but please take it if you think you'll regret not having done so, down the line. I can promise you will never regret an experience like this, even if it becomes one of the hardest things you’ve ever done.
- It's harder and easier than it seems
Which brings me to my final point:
If you think it's too hard, you're wrong. It's easier than what you would expect!
If you think it's too easy, you're wrong. It's harder than what you would think!
All I want to say with this is - don’t close your mind off to anything, and don’t make your mind up about anything without going through it first. It's easy to have a predetermined idea about something - this is who we are, and how we're built. The important thing is to just experience it without any prejudgement (good or bad). It will be really tough some days, and very easy others. The thing that matters is that the good outweighs the bad, in every way, always.
Well, now that I’ve shared these things with you, are you ready to take the next step in your life and career? If you are, I think I can help... :)
2. Adrenaline junkie, with a passion for photography
3. Professional office prankster
4. Pet peeve: listening to other people eat
5. Mother / Creator of our Avatars