Relocating with WAES: Jonathan de Paula

In the spring of 2022, Jonathan and his family relocated to the Netherlands with WAES. One year later, he is planning on staying in the country. He is considering getting citizenship and has even changed his warm lunches to cheese sandwiches.

Rik Staals Head of Marketing

Jonathan (LinkedIn) already knew; he wanted to live abroad. Born and raised in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, he already went to Canada for six months to learn English. He knew little about the Netherlands. Of course, Johan Cruijff and Amsterdam, but his knowledge of the country was mostly based on football and the Dutch national team. “Some of my colleagues from the consultancy firm I worked at in Brazil, left the country to go work for WAES. I also tried to enroll. But I then lacked experience and was rejected”, said Jonathan.

Two times lucky

Determined to not give up hope of living abroad, he buckled down to gain experience. He broadened his knowledge of dev ops and updated his basic background knowledge in IT. And then he tried again. This time he was lucky. WAES was interested and wanted to hire him. But he was not only lucky in work, his private life struck gold as well. His wife was pregnant. “I told WAES that I still wanted to come but we wanted to have the baby in Brazil first and have like six months to get used to the new situation. Of course, we wanted to have our family close to help with the new baby. Living abroad, you know that is not in the cards. I thought WAES would not hire me because of this. But they didn’t”, grins Jonathan. “They have a wall here where you see a photo of the person who is coming over to work. My head was on there for so long, there were bets on whether or not I would come.”

Smooth process

In the end the new family came to the Netherlands. Because there was plenty of time to arrange things in advance, the process went smoothly. They could even bring the dog immediately. Jonathan: “WAES basically helped with everything. They send the right forms to fill out and they do all the admin stuff. They arrange appointments at the embassy for you and tell you when to show up. Between having a new baby and relocating, this was the easiest process.”

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Less stressful

Before moving, Jonathan and his wife managed to find a house in Veldhoven through whatsapp groups of South American expats in the neighborhood. His son goes to Dutch daycare and learns to speak Dutch. Something Jonathan and his wife are now also eager to learn. “Because he is so young, I sometimes don’t know if he is speaking Dutch or just making sounds. So, I want to be able to understand what he says”, said Jonathan. “I want to stay here for him. Where we live, he can just cross the street and go play. We don’t have to worry. It feels so safe here. His life will be less stressful here. And I can watch him grow up and witness every milestone.” To Jonathan, safety was an important factor to choose the Netherlands.

Living here he has discovered more benefits. “We are so close to other countries. It’s easy to just head off to Paris. Berlin or London for the weekend. Everything is so close.” He is planning on staying in the country. He is considering getting citizenship and has even changed his warm lunches to cheese sandwiches, a famous Dutch staple.

“We are so close to other countries. It’s easy to just head off to Paris. Berlin or London for the weekend. Everything is so close.”

Jonathan de Paula

JAVA Backend Consultant

Crafting your career

Before coming over, Jonathan already had three interviews lined up. He did them and when he arrived on the Friday, he started on the Monday at Wärtsilä in Drunen. He was recruited as a Senior Java Software Engineer but his job title now is Back end external consultant part of the Watchdog team. “I used to be in teams developing features. Now I am monitoring the system as a whole. We’re taking care of the system doing platform improvements. We don’t have the planning stuff. It sharpens my trouble shooting skills so it’s good to be a part of this team.

Wärtsilä is a very big company relying on a lot of software. There is huge context. Sometimes I’m not fully aware of how things work. Then I have to be like a detective to be able to know what to do”, explains Jonathan. “I did work for one year developing features. It was my personal decision to move to my current team to challenge myself a bit. Wärtsilä has self-managed teams so when you decide you want to go somewhere else they help in finding the right team. You have the freedom to decide what you want to do and what you want to learn. For me that is something that I would not have been able to do in Brazil. There you have a specialism and you stick to it. It’s more siloed. Here, when you have a good idea, you go and pitch it. And if you get others to believe in it, you get the green light. You have so much more control over your own career.”

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Lifelong friends

In WAES Jonathan found a warm, welcoming company with several like-minded people. “There are lots of Brazilians in the company so you have group of people that understand where you come from. But it also helps being expats together. Sometimes it can get lonely and knowing you have WAES- colleagues helps. I’ve made lifelong friends here already and same goes for my wife and son. WAES actively tries to organize fun events for us, but also for our families. And that really helps in the team spirit and the speed of settling in”, beams Jonathan. “I also really like our Tech Talks where we discuss new technologies and share experiences. This way we learn by example. And it helps to find a way to apply it in your daily life.”

Asked whether he would do it again. Jonathan is adamant: yes. In a heartbeat. “And definitely with WAES. The quality of life is really good here. The combination of the country, WAES and Wärtsilä is so good. I would do it again. Not just for me but also for my family.”

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