Starting A New Job Abroad. From the Canary Islands to the Netherlands: José’s story
Changing from one job to another is not an easy quest. Especially when involves relocating to another country. From Antibes to London, Cluj to Amsterdam, and Milan to Berlin; Try Catch has helped many developers in starting a new job abroad.
José is one of them. He has just left the Canary Islands to start 2016 afresh with a new position at SnappCar in Utrecht, the Netherlands. I talked to José over a coffee in his new hometown about his experiences so far.
We know each other already of course, José, but could you please give a short introduction of yourself?
Sure, my name is José and I’m a 32 year old software developer from the Canary Islands. I’ve been married for a year and currently working in the Netherlands waiting for my wife to join me in July.
What did you do for work previously?
I was working as a freelance full–stack developer. I was associated with another developer and one graphic designer. Together we had a small software company where I was the most technically oriented; the other developer was our business man.
What made you decide to look for new opportunities abroad?
First of all, I was already familiar with the Netherlands and its culture, and it got me deeply interested. The Dutch have rules and practices with a purpose in mind, and they don’t lose sight of said purpose. Traffic rules are put in place to protect cyclers; special parking spots exist for electrical cars; the country is committed to going green. No system is perfect, of course, but you get a “sense of purpose” for everything around here.
The other one is directly “your fault”. Most “talent hunters” get in touch and shoot offers indiscriminately, trying to make their numbers. When I received an offer from you, it neatly described how my profile could actually fit the position. I knew you had taken a proper look at my skills and immediately trusted that you actually knew what you were talking about. It felt best to take this step to go abroad with you.
How did you experience the relocation process?
Ah, well, that’s the bitter pill to swallow if you want to work abroad. The Dutch real estate market can be a bit a bit closed off if you come with preconceived ideas of how it should be. It takes a second to realise that things are not the same as back home. One thing I have to say about Dutch houses is that they feel like homes. As a tip to newcomers, I’d say: accept the relocation process as a rite of passage, it will help you to release your “inner Dutchman”, or woman.
Could you tell me in one or two sentences what SnappCar exactly does?
SnappCar tries to make the world a better place by reducing the number of necessary cars. It does so by connecting car owners who are willing to share their cars with others when they’re not using it. This way people who don’t use their cars very often can share vehicles, rather than owning one each.
Why did you decide to accept the offer at SnappCar?
SnappCar is trying to change the world into a better place; what’s not to love! They have a great work environment — the best I’ve seen so far — and they trust their development team to achieve the outcome they want. To me that was, and is, very important.
What will you be doing exactly in your new role?
Developing all the way to conquer Europe. We are in constant communication with SnappCar’s business team and we try to evolve our application according to what’s needed at every point.
Great. So having worked here in the Netherlands now for nearly two weeks, what are your first impressions of the country, of Utrecht, and of course of SnappCar?
People all around the world praise German engineering, but they forget that the Dutch actually built their own country. I discover new things on a daily basis which to the Dutch are normal, but for me are amazing little wonders. And Utrecht is a great city, if you are, like me, looking for a place to settle down and raise a family. The moment you lay eyes on Utrecht you know you are done with the search. As for SnappCar, it’s the kind of company you’ll read about in books years from now, talking about how they managed to grow that much. And I’m here, in the moment this company is about to show Europe that we can actually do it. That’s how I feel, people will talk about this moment, and I will have lived it.
So what are your expectations for the upcoming year? Anything in particular you’d like to achieve?
First of all, I want to settle down with my wife as Dutch citizens and be able to focus on my career. Within work specifically, I’d like to make a difference. By the end of this year I want to feel that there’s a bit of SnappCar that is part of me, as much as I am part of the company.
And what do you think will be your biggest challenge this year?
Well, it’s a new culture, a new position I’m still not used to and we have a “soft winter” here that is pretty harsh for someone coming from the Canary Islands. Not sure; it’s a bit too soon to choose a nemesis.
What do you think you will miss most from your life back at the Canary Islands?
There is a lot to miss; as soon as I arrived in Utrecht in December I had the feeling in my face that the weather was going to be the first thing I would miss. And I mean that literally, my face came from 27º to 8º, I had the feeling right in the face. But that’s the easy part. Then you have to go home and not see your wife (she’ll be joining me soon, but not yet), neither the dogs (they will come too). But really not much other than friends, family and weather. The Dutch culture is fantastic and offers a lot to do and to see. We are also extremely well connected here in the Netherlands. If I want to go and visit Camden market in London, I just have to pick a train and be there in a blink of the eye, and the same goes for the old town in Prague, Berlin, Brussels and of course, just twenty minutes to Amsterdam. There is just too much to do here to stop and tell myself that I miss this and that from my life in the Canary Islands.