Gabriel’s first months at WAES

September 7 2021

Gabriel was born in Caracas but moved to Bogotá in 2017. In 2021 he joined WAES. This is his story.

What were you doing back in Bogota?
“In Bogota I worked for four years as a Data Engineer in two different companies. The most experience I gained there was working with Cloud Platforms, specifically with the Google Platform. And building Data Pipelines for a big airline company from Chile.”

When did you arrive in the Netherlands?
“I arrived in the Netherlands on Thursday the 25th of March.”

At what WAES client do you currently work?
“Right now, I’m working as a Sr. Data Engineer at Wärtsilä. Wärtsilä, is a Finnish company which manufactures and services power sources and other equipment in the marine and energy markets.”

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How do you like living in the Netherlands?
“At first, it was pretty hard to process all the new experiences. I think the people here are really welcoming to foreign people. I really appreciate that WAES helped me with everything I had to go through. Getting a job, a house, a visa, helping my girlfriend to come over.

From the moment I got there, the biggest challenge – besides the language – was the weather. I have never experienced cold or snow, but because I arrived just after winter it was still pretty cold. The first days I thought it was fun, but then I realized that snow isn’t that much fun when you have to go to work.

Something I was really impressed by is the level of English everyone in the Netherlands speaks. Literally everyone speaks English.”

Use three words to describe your time in the Netherlands so far.
“Challenging. Warm, because of the people and exciting.”

What are the biggest differences between the Netherlands and living in South America?
“For me, the biggest difference is the working culture. I feel very lucky to be working with WAES and Wärtsilä. I get the feeling that people here really want me to take my time to get things done in a way that I like to do them. I experience a lot of freedom and I have time to think about things thoroughly, instead of being pressured to do things right away.

In South America it is very common, that when you start working at a new place you get a week to get to know the company and the different teams. At Wärtsilä that was not the case at all. I got all the time I needed to get acquainted by the company and the different people that work there. I’m very glad that the working culture here is like that because I think it’s very healthy. I have the feeling that my team at Wärtsilä has a lot of trust in me, which is also why I have a lot of trust in my team.

Another cultural difference is that people here don’t hug as much as people in South America. In South America, we always think the people here are pretty cold. But, from my experience everybody in the Netherlands has been really welcoming and warmhearted. People always teach me different Dutch words, want me to try different foods and they are very helpful. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting that at all, and I think it’s really cool. Also the entire WAES team was super interested and helpful from the beginning and I love to join them in the office on Fridays to work and for Friday afternoon drinks.”

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What did you know about the Netherlands before coming here?
“Honestly… I only knew a few things about the Netherlands. My girlfriend invested much more in getting to know the country. I knew some things about the migrating process, the working culture, nice places to live and things like that. I didn’t know any details, for example about the food. So, when I got here, I was surprised that there is so much diversity in international food in the Netherlands.”

What surprised you the most about the Netherlands?
“The public transportation system here is a real gamechanger for me. It is very punctual and allows you to plan your trips a week ahead with the 9292 app. Even when I compare it to other countries I’ve been to, it’s awesome.”

How do you stay connected to your loved ones back home?
“That’s quite a challenge because of the time difference between the Netherlands and Colombia and Venezuela. Often, my first contact is around noon via WhatsApp. We use this app a lot to communicate, and do video calls in the weekends.”

What do you miss the most from home?
“I used to have two ‘homes’. One in Colombia with my girlfriend and one in Venezuela, where my family lives. What I miss the most from Colombia is the food, the food there is really nice. From Venezuela, I miss the people the most. The feeling of not being close to my family is something I must live with.

My mother’s family is living pretty close to each other, so when I was still living in Venezuela I could easily walk to my aunt’s house after work. There always were people to engage with, which gave me a really warm feeling. That feeling of being surrounded by people that I really know and care for is the feeling I miss the most. Luckily, in a few weeks my girlfriend will arrive.”

How did you get in touch with WAES?
“I was sleeping when I received an early morning text message from one of the WAES recruiters. At that time, I didn’t know anything about WAES, but that message got the entire process started. When I received the message, I started doing some research about what kind of company WAES is, and I read some reviews. Everything went very fast; the first contact was by the end of November, then the holiday season started so it was quiet until the middle of January and from then everything was really fast.

My experience about the relocation process was very easy. The interviews with WAES and the possible client were scheduled one after another in a timespan of two weeks.”

Did you think about moving abroad to pursue a career?
“In 2019, me and my girlfriend made a trip to Europe to visit friends in Spain and the Netherlands. By that time, I thought Spain would be a nice option for me to work but I soon realized I didn’t feel like living in Spain. After Barcelona we went to the Netherlands, and I really liked it from the beginning. From that moment, my girlfriend started researching our options to move there and we noticed that it would be a very good option. If it wasn’t for the worldwide pandemic, I think we would’ve moved to the Netherlands in 2020 already.”

What worries did you have before relocating to the Netherlands with WAES?
“At first, I wasn’t very confident about my English skills. I thought it would be too poor and I still think it is. But I can manage to communicate and make myself understood at Wärtsilä and in my daily life.”

What advice would you give someone who is considering WAES?
“I think you should consider WAES because you enter a company where your voice really matters. At WAES you enter a community of people that are trying to help each other and to improve WAES even further. I really got the feeling that I can contribute to that and that gives me a nice feeling.

If I would have to give myself an advice when I was younger, I would say: take it easy. It’s easier than you think.”

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