From Brazil to Belgium: what differences did Gilmar spot in the workplace?
39 years ago, Gilmar was born in Brazil. Today, he works at AUSY as a Senior Developer. What did his journey look like?
Gilmar: “In 2016, Brazil went through a political crisis. It was a difficult and dangerous time, especially for minorities such as my boyfriend and me. In addition, my boyfriend lost his job due to budget cuts. He had been considering moving abroad for a while to get a master’s degree, so when we got the chance, we moved to Lisbon.”
“It wasn’t a difficult decision for me, because I had already worked in the United States for a while. I knew what it was like to work abroad.”
“At the end of 2018, I worked on a project in Luxembourg, for a company that had close relations with AUSY. That’s where I heard about a vacancy for Senior Developer. In February, I moved to Belgium to start a new job in AUSY’s Drupal team in Leuven. Today, I work for their Drupal team in Brussels.
A warm and welcoming environment
“I could adapt to the working environment in Belgium far more easily than anywhere else,” says Gilmar. “Belgium is the 4th country I have worked in, but I fit in quickly, thanks to the Belgian culture and the help of my colleagues. I have also worked in Brazil, as a Business Intelligence Analyst, in the US as a part time Customer Support Analyst, Network Administrator and freelance PHP Developer. In Portugal, I worked as a Software Developer.
“Starting over in a new country isn’t always easy. You have to learn how to adapt. It often takes a while before you get more responsibilities, and before you can grow professionally.”
“At AUSY, everything went smoothly. Everyone was warm and welcoming from my very first day,” Gilmar tells us. “There are many initiatives and events to integrate the employees in their teams. Every week, we play football. Sometimes, we organize a BBQ on the parking lot, and a while ago we went lasershooting. What’s more, in the morning there are often treats to be found in the kitchen. The perfect start of the day for a sugar addict like me!”
Just colleagues? No, real friends!
Gilmar: “Belgians are similar to Brazilians when it comes to the workplace: we want to make real friends. We don’t just want to entertain professional relationships. A little difference maybe: in Brazil, we like to take our time. Lunch can take an hour, even an hour and a half. In Belgium, lunch only takes half an hour. Another big difference between Belgium and Brazil is the salary. In São Paulo, where I’m from, I only earned half of what I’m earning now, even though the working environment was very similar, because I worked in transnational companies.”
Cosy Leuven, multicultural Brussels
Gilmar: “Thanks to my job at AUSY, I’m getting to know Leuven as well as Brussels. Leuven is a vibrant, young city with a gorgeous city-center and a first-class university, which is great when your partner is studying French at KU Leuven. In Brussels, you can find people from every corner of the world. This makes it easy to find your crowd, especially when you’re missing your country.”
“But I really haven’t been homesick yet. I moved here 4 years ago, and I haven’t been back to Brazil since. When I’m missing home, I put on some Brazilian music. And I love the visits from my friends and family!”
“I also love AUSY’s international vibe,” says Gilmar. “I have colleagues from everywhere in the world. You learn a lot when you’re working with so many different cultures. An advantage in Belgium? Everyone speaks English here, so no language barriers!”
A balanced aquarium
“I often compare AUSY to a balanced aquarium. Why? We’re not too big and not too small. You have enough room to grow, but not so much room that you’d risk getting lost. The small as well as the big fish are easily approachable, and everyone is heard.”
“A typical day at AUSY? It starts with a stand-up. From the very beginning, we make sure that we are aligned and balanced in every project. Everyone helps everyone, whether they are junior or senior.”
“We constantly keep in touch. We regularly get updates on the projects of our colleagues. We also try to switch between projects at regular intervals. This way everyone can work on every project without any problems. There aren’t many companies that apply this strategy. But I think it is what makes my job interesting - you’re never bored, you’re always challenged. Each rotation is a new opportunity to learn, and it gives us a fresh view of the project.”
#teamAUSY for the win!
Gilmar: “The best thing about my job? The team spirit! I work in a great team. Everyone knows each other. We work together on a number of projects, in the private as well as the public sector. I love the variation.”
“Furthermore, every single one of my colleagues has a great attitude,” Gilmar tells us. “Everyone is open for feedback and willing to answer your questions. For me, AUSY is an established value and a great place to work. Everyone is approachable, our meetings are always fun, the working environment is relaxed and the communication is great. So no, I’m not currently planning to go explore another country… ;-)”