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Candidate Stories

Meet Roja: It’s completely normal to feel scared and excited at the same time during your journey abroad

May 31, 2021 by Monica Garcia

Moving abroad can be exciting but nerve-wracking, and the current global pandemic can add an element of stress to the whole process. We know that many questions can run through your head before making the big step of applying or accepting a job offer: Should I wait until I am vaccinated? What if the situation gets worse?...  However, everything just goes alright in the end! And our former candidate Roja can tell you about it - being an expert globetrotter, she really appreciates having found a job abroad, particularly in Dublin, during these uncertain times. Full of stories to tell and advice to give, this bubbly Swedish (as she describes herself) shared her lovely experience with us!

Previous to her experience in Dublin, Roja’s curiosity and love for the exploration of the unknown has led her to work in multiple fields: from customer service to teaching and healthcare. However, one of the jobs that she fondly remembers -related to her travel addiction ;) - is her role as a cabin crew for Etihad Airways. “The fact that we have a pandemic going on and that we can’t travel as we used to is just sad. I love travelling so much that I fulfilled my dream to work as a cabin crew. It was an extraordinary experience that I can not find words to express how amazing that journey was.” 

Like many of us, Roja’s wanderlust hasn’t disappeared during the pandemic, and the excitement about experiencing new adventures abroad is ever-present for her! As an experienced candidate, she defines working abroad as a journey full of learning and discovery: “Working abroad forces you to do certain things. You learn and grow on a whole different level. It forces you to explore the unknown, something that people are not used to. It is scary but rewarding. Working abroad is like enrolling in a world school: you learn so much from making that choice!”. 

Roja’s job search journey

Roja’s job search journey wasn’t really focused on finding a job in a specific place in Europe - the combination of living abroad and a role that fitted her interests and profile was enough for her! However, she had some concerns about whether or not she was going to be able to make her plan happen during these uncertain times:  “I thought that the recruitment process would be long and complicated because of the situation in the world.  I also thought that Workwide Recruit perhaps charges the candidates because some recruitment agencies do charge them. Thankfully Workwide Recruit doesn’t.”

Indeed, all these concerns turned into an excellent opportunity for Roja to work for one of the most well-known companies globally in Europe’s Silicon Valley. She was hired as a Process Executive / Quality controller in a Google Maps project by Cognizant! “I was looking for various positions on different platforms and agencies and randomly found the job ad on Workwide Recruit’s site. It was the most random thing that I ever came across! And that random moment happened to become one of the coolest things that eventually changed the course of my life”.  As they say - magic happens when you least expect it!

As you could figure out, Roja’s journey in Dublin hasn’t been her first working abroad experience. Still, she clearly remembers her mix of emotions and feelings with special attention: “My first work abroad experience was in the UK. It was scary, rewarding, fun, exciting, overwhelming, and adventurous. All these feelings are totally normal for someone that moves abroad for the very first time. If you are not scared and excited all at the same time, then you are not human!”. We are sure that everybody that has previously moved or worked abroad can relate to her description (or, at least, we do!). Don’t be afraid of feeling scared and insecure - in the end; it’s just a part of the experience! As Roja mentions, the benefit that you take from it is more significant than the not-so-great moments you might have: “What working abroad has taught me and keeps teaching me is that you never stop learning, no matter what the future holds. Life is just one big classroom, and our studies will never end.”

Roja’s working experience in Dublin

If moving abroad requires some previous preparation, adding a pandemic makes the to-do list more crucial than ever. For a smooth and stress-free transition, it’s all down to the planning in time! Roja’s got also surprised by the fact that her employer supports their new colleagues during the relocation process, which made her feel more confident in that stage and that she made the right decision! “There are extra things you have to do, especially during a pandemic, but if you are organized, it will go smoothly. My recommendation is to researching and reading a lot about everything before moving. It feels much better once you are there and you know what to do” - “ Cognizant helped me in the best way possible. Every step of the way, they guided me and supported me. They were always there if I needed help or had any questions. They explained everything in detail and took their time to guide me through everything. Communication is key here and, even though everything was handled online, Cognizant nailed that.” 

After she arrived in Dublin, Roja had to start her onboarding process online due to the current lockdown and restrictions in the country. However, that didn’t stop her from having a fantastic time meeting her colleagues online and learning about her new tasks and duties!  “My online onboarding was one of the best I have ever had. They made the onboarding very fun, so all the new joiners could have a positive experience and feel welcome. They made sure everyone was involved and could be heard and seen. It was satisfying, and it kept me full of energy and enthusiasm!” 

Although some people might think that moving abroad to just working from home is not worth it, Roja affirms that her days are still very rewarding. She still learns something new every day and, most importantly, the situation is not forever! She describes her workdays as “Crazy, rewarding, hectic, and fun. My workday begins with me checking in, reading my emails and my schedule. My colleagues and I get various assignments, and I check which one I will do during that day. Then we chat a little bit and begin completing every task. I specifically work with Google Maps for the Swedish market. However, if they need assistance with the Norwegian and Danish markets, I jump in and help there too. My duties are to ensure that the information that is available on the map is the most accurate. Moreover, I got recently promoted to do Quality Control as well, so I am doing both jobs at the moment! However, I need to admit that working from home has its ups and downs, but my days are very hectic and rewarding at the same time

Living in Dublin

When you get delighted by the idea of getting lost in city streets, being surrounded by new landscapes and nature and discovering new corners that only locals know, you always find a way to enjoy and make most of your time even during a lockdown. Although she was aware of it, Roja didn’t give up on the idea to cautiously (and when allowed) to go out and find out what her new city awaited for her: “Dublin has been on lockdown since January when I arrived. The fact that I moved from a lockdown-free country, Sweden, to a complete lockdown was a challenge initially. But you get used to it quickly. You found ways to do the things you need to do even during a lockdown. For example, although my main issue was finding and getting stuff for my place, as the deliveries were a bit delayed, I always found ways around everything. Thankfully I live close to the city centre, so I have seen a lot and done a couple of things even during these times. -  “ I love walking along the river, and I enjoy the fabulous parks that Dublin has. I love photography, so I enjoy going on "photo walks". I often take one E-bike and do some sightseeing around the city. I really like these rides; they are safe, and it’s an excellent way to get to know the city. Hopefully, I get to do more things when the lockdown gets lifted! 

Going deep into her daily life in Dublin, we wondered if Roja experiences some emotional challenges due to this lockdown or if she gets homesick more than she expected. "Thankfully, in this era where we all are online 24/7, it's easier to stay in contact with your friends and family than it used to be. For example, when I get homesick, I arrange an online dinner with my relatives, even if it's online. There are many ways to involve them and to do various online activities to feel them close. I also arrange online movie nights with my friends!" - "When I take long walks, I also use that time to call my relatives. Apart from that, of course, I have some friends here that I spend time with. It doesn't feel lonely at all!". It was really nice to hear from her that, despite the social isolation necessary to beat the virus, Roja was able to keep her social life and was able to meet her colleagues and make new friends! 

Roja’s tips and tricks

Roja's experience in Dublin has definitely left a very positive and indelible mark on her - "I used to be very shy, and living and working abroad has forced me to become more open and social. It has taught me a lot of things about myself and how I do things. I feel I have gained a lot of life skills from it. "Certainly, you need a lot of courage to make the first step to move abroad, but you should be proud of yourself when you face those challenges that, in the end, make you grow! 

Additionally, when we asked Roja what tips she could give to people that want to work abroad, she had *millions!* of tips that she could give, but she especially pointed out 3 main aspects:

  • "Do your research online and on social media. Read everything you can before you move, so that you are prepared and don't get stressed and don't know what to do."
  • "Move within 1-2 weeks before you start your new job. That way, you fix your accommodation, bank account, new phone number, etc., with time, and you can also have time to deal with paperwork or other bureaucracy related matters. Because trust me: once your work starts, you won't have much time for that!
  • If I could do something different during my experience, I would have saved more money. When you move to a new place, you naturally want to explore and do fun things. So my tips to whoever reading this: please spend wisely and don't splurge like crazy just because it's all new and cool. 

And last but not least, Roja's golden advice goes beyond all that you need to do and prepare or all that you think about and consider before moving abroad: 

"I know, it's scary, and you will ask yourself millions of times, "Is this the right thing for me?'; "Should I do this?"; "Am I making a mistake by moving/working there?". It is completely normal to have these emotions. To feel excited and scared to move and work abroad. But it's 100% worth it. However, if it won't work out for you, it's not the end of the world! You can just take the next flight back home. Don't worry so much about what will happen, and don't doubt yourself. Sometimes you just have to jump and do it. Either it works, or it doesn't. If it doesn't work out, it's not a failure! You got an experience and learned a lot from that. Many people I have got to know are all scared to make a mistake and then feel they failed and have to fly back home again. But if you never do the things you want, you will always think about how it would have been like if you did. And you don't want to have any regrets. Why not try it and see for yourself how it is to work/live abroad. Imagine the things you will experience, learn and see. The memories and experiences that you will get are priceless. Nothing can come close to that. My advice is: it's ok to feel unsure or scared to take this step. It will be a big challenge, but it will be worth it!"

Roja is still working in Dublin for Cognizant, and we wish her the best in her adventure abroad and her future endeavours! Thanks, Roja, for sharing your inspiring and lovely experience with us! :)