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Dennis his international career abroad: 10 years of climbing up the ladder in Portugal!

7 May, 2024 by Photo from Laura Laura  ◦  4 minutes reading time
Dennis abroad

In this blog, our colleague Dennis tells you all about his international career abroad. He’s originally from Heidelberg in Germany, but has been working abroad for ten years! “When I was a kid, my parents used to take me on these typical trips to sunny resorts, in places like Mallorca, Turkey, Egypt. I always had that disappointed feeling when the vacation came to an end, not only because I’d have to go back to school, but also because I’d be back in cloudy Germany, living my normal life. Back then, I made myself a promise: one day, you’re going to live in a place where other people go on vacation.”

Living and working in Portugal

Back in Germany, I worked for L’tur, a Last-Minute travel agency that belongs to the German brand TUI, , which opened my doors to work abroad. After many years with the company, I decided to apply for several vacancies abroad and was ready to move to another country. I then got hired to work as a Sales and Service Agent in Lisbon, but had never visited Portugal before. I just went in completely blind, although now I might advise others to maybe do a quick visit before you permanently move, to have the right expectations. My parents would always say: “what’s the worst that can happen? We can just pick you up and will bring you back home”. 

I’ve always been a traveler since a very early age

Moving to Portugal was easy without speaking Portuguese. By speaking English I could easily navigate through work and my personal life, but I still took a Portuguese language course to fully integrate. My company arranged my accommodation abroad, so I barely had to prepare anything before I moved. There is a whole expat community in Lisbon, so making friends wasn’t difficult at all. On the weekends, we’d go to the best beaches, jump into the ocean, and have the best time of our lives. I have so many new hobbies, like surfing!

Climbing up the ladder

I fulfilled quite some roles, all in the same company. For the first year abroad, I worked as a Sales and Service Agent. It was a challenging job, but honestly I really enjoyed working and the team was perfect. Most of them were my age, all building their international career abroad. I made friends very quickly because of this. After a year, I became the Team Lead to train Sales Agents, which was a massive step in my career. I was responsible for a team of fifteen people, me being one of the youngest! The year after that, I worked as an International Recruiter, sourcing new talents for my team. An interesting B2B role opened with the aim to focus and strengthen the companies’ network of recruitment partners, and I got to work as Recruitment Partnership Manager for 3,5 years!

If you are ambitious, the opportunities are endless!

During my time working in Lisbon, I learned so much. Yes, there is a cultural difference. I think that’s one of the biggest challenges: everyone should have the right expectations. You’re not in central Europe anymore, and you might sometimes simply not know how things work. It’s true that life is more relaxed here, everything takes a big longer. There’s nothing wrong with it, you just have to get used to it. 

 

One of the life lessons I learned is to not give up too quickly. For instance, I didn’t like the neighborhood I was in, so I moved areas, whereas some of my colleagues would just move back to their home country. There’s always a solution! I don’t deal much with homesickness. I have to admit my family visits me way more often than I visit them! Sure, I miss my closest friends, but we still see each other and I made a lot of new friends over the past ten years. Sometimes I’d get tired of socializing, because some people leave after a few months, but for sure many people become close friends. 

I made myself a promise: one day, you’re going to live in a place where other people go on vacation

My advice for others who want an international career abroad: make sure you’re confident in your English skills, don’t give up too quickly, have patience and make an effort! Working in an international environment and cross-cultural workplace is one of the biggest assets you can have. You learn how to work in a dynamic atmosphere at a different pace. If you have any concerns, write them down and discuss it with your future employer. You can never ask too many questions for a step like this!

Moving from Lisbon to Valencia

At the moment, I’ve been working in Valencia for two months, for Yobbers. Weirdly, I was less worried about moving countries back then, than I was now. It felt easier when I was younger, I had less expectations and preparations. Valencia is absolutely no downgrade to Lisbon. Just like Portugal, I had never been to Valencia before I moved here. It’s a great place to live, the quality of life is so much better here compared to Germany. We have the beach, lots of sunshine, good weather, it’s a green city, located in central Europe, and life happens outside. 

 

Will I ever go back? If you asked me this question a year ago, I would say I’d never leave Portugal, but here I am in Spain. It really depends on how life goes, but at the moment I don’t consider moving back to Germany.

Inspired after reading Dennis his story and ready to start your own international career? Take a look at our vacancies abroad!


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