International@ALTEN: Luis

Luis from Portugal
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“My name is Luís, I am 36 years old, I am Portuguese and I was born in a beautiful city called Lisboa. I have a bachelor and master degree in Electrical and Computer Science Engineering from NOVA School of Science and Technology. Among other things, within the domain of the Consulting, Technology and Engineering industry, I’ve worked for a consultancy company in Portugal, where I had the opportunity to develop a diverse career by working in multiple international projects within different industries. I’ve worked as a Functional Analyst and Quality Assurance Engineer at a British multinational telecommunication company and as a Software Test Engineer at a leading international tobacco manufacturing company.” Would you like to know more about Luis experiences with working in the Netherlands? Please read on.

What made you decide to work and live in the Netherlands?

“I’ve always wanted to embrace an international experience, push myself out of my comfort zone, learn and understand different ways of working, in order to evolve as both an engineer as well as a person.

Some of my friends already studied in the Netherlands, others worked here. Through their feedback, I was able to identify some relevant common denominators: an efficient and productive working culture, healthy work-life balance, well-supported cultural events throughout the year, stable economy, a great education system and most people speak English fluently.”

Working at ALTEN
“A friend of mine from university, who used to live in the Netherlands and worked for ALTEN, knew that I was considering moving abroad. He told me great things about the company and the country, so I decided to apply and the rest is history.

I am a consultant engineer currently working as a Test Engineer for a fully automated feeding system for cattle farms.

Being acknowledged as the test lead engineer of the Vector Team and responsible for the entire test activity of such a complex system, helps me develop my knowledge and technical skills in the field of quality assurance and software engineering on a daily basis. This is very demanding, but also a privilege.”

Moving to the Netherlands

“Like any new experience, there is a feeling of excitement and uncertainty when you first arrive in a new country. After all, you are exposed to a new culture and lifestyle. During the first months, I felt close to everything familiar back home. When I arrived, I did not have friends or family here and everyone I knew was far away, which made it harder. Then, I realized that the people I met here were just as interested in learning about Portugal as I was in learning about the Netherlands. I started to form new friendships and I met my girlfriend who also helped me tremendously. And now I can say that the Netherlands also feels like home.

Moving abroad is always difficult, mainly because there are so many things you need to get sorted. Housing, career, banking, language classes, transportation, just to name a few. Regardless, with all the challenges of moving abroad and settling into a new country, there is no doubt that every bit of struggle is worth the result. Living abroad changes you in ways that nothing else can.  When you leave your comfort zone, you become your very best self and you experience a sense of resilience that you have never experienced before.”

What’s different?
“Although it is a cliché to highlight these two aspects, the food and weather are vastly different. I am a foodie person, so I do miss the Portuguese cuisine. Here in the Netherlands, lunch is often a quick snack. Many employees bring their own homemade sandwiches to the office. In Portugal, that is not the case.

On the other hand, the Dutch working culture makes justice to its fame. People are less emotional, more efficient and direct, which is something that I personally like. Sharing opinions is highly encouraged even if what somebody is saying happens to be negative. This type of environment, for workers who like sharing opinions and learning from others is definitely a significant career advantage. The Dutch companies respect the employee’s work-life balance. In my home country, people often leave the office around 7pm-8pm, which emphasizes the lack of productivity and social life.”

My advice
“Before you start applying for random jobs all over the world, ask yourself where do you really want to work and live, what kind of work do you genuinely want to perform and how long are planning to stay. After answering those questions, be realistic, positive, resilient, brave and always keep in mind: you made this move for a reason and you knew in advance it would not be an easy road but it was the right road for you.”

Luis Neto, Test engineer

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