Starting a new life in Austria 🎉

Juan Herrera
5 min readMar 28, 2019

In just a couple of weeks, I’ll be sitting on a plane, looking through the window, with a smile on my face, and maybe a couple of tears, a little overwhelmed but eager of starting a new chapter in my life: Graz.

This is an actual picture from Graz (Thanks to Andreas and Christian!)

But where is it? 😲

Graz is a city located in the southeast of Austria. I’ve pinpointed it with a heart in the picture below:

It takes about 18 hours to get from Medellín to Graz, and the size of Colombia is quite bigger than Austria:

Okay, but why Graz? 🤷‍♂️

Graz is the second largest city in Austria, it has a population of almost 300K, and the landscapes are beautiful! It is the kind of city that achieves the right balance between a healthy lifestyle and a flourishing economy.

Nevertheless, the truth is that in Graz I will be:

  • 😬 Living in a country whose main language I don’t speak at all: German
  • 😢 Having my family almost 10,000 kilometers away
  • 😨 Experiencing a culture quite different from Latin America’s

Why would you ever do that? 😦

In Medellin, I have all the luxuries I could ever dream of. But remaining too long in your comfort zone will only stagnate your growth. Living abroad will help me develop, both personally and professionally.

At the end of the day is about the kind of experiences you want to go through:

Alright, but do you have a job in Graz? 💼

Yes! When I decided to live abroad, I searched for jobs using a systematic approach:

  1. Attempt #1: Apply to companies whose product I use and I’d love to work for: Spotify, Audible, Wunderlist, Airbnb, Uber, Pinterest, Netflix, and Microsoft.
  2. Attempt #2: Apply to companies who offer relocation opportunities considering cultural fitness as a selection criterion.
  3. Attempt #3: Stop applying and focus on strengthening my skills so I can become a better fit.

Attempt #1 was unsuccessful. Spotify interviewed me but I didn’t make it.

Attempt #2 was successful. Out of 10 companies, three of them decided to interview me, yet one of them topped the rest. It was Parkside.

What was so special about Parkside? 🤔

One of my bosses at Yuxi gave me an excellent lesson in one of our conversations, he said something along the lines of: “The success of a corporate culture is measured by its authenticity, not by how well designed or communicated it is”.

Corporate Culture is transpired in every conversation, in every word, in every process. Ever since the beginning, Parkside proved to be kind, amiable, excellence-driven, and humble.

A company where people greet you with a smile and eye-contact is a company that must be doing something right.

This is an old picture but the smiles speak for themselves

But Yuxi must be against this, right? 😐

Absolutely NOT!

The other way around! If you think about it, Yuxi is the main reason why I have this opportunity in the first place! They helped developed professionally as no other other company ever has. They allowed me to:

  • 🏆 Become a GDE in Angular and Web Technologies
  • ⭐ Run NgColombia, Angular Medellin, and many workshops
  • 🎤 And attend conferences in The USA, Finland, Bolivia, etc.

Yuxi is a company that deeply cares about people, they cared about me, and now I’m ready to take on new challenges. I couldn’t be more thankful to them, to the people that enabled me to become what I am today.

Maybe I’m a little bit naïve but I don’t think I could have achieved so much in any other company in the region.

Ok, but what will happen to the communities? 😯

The best communities (and companies) are resilient. They can withstand the resignation of leaders allowing others to undertake their role.

In this case, Jorge Vergara and Carlos Angulo will continue engaging as co-organizers. I firmly trust them in doing a significant job for NgColombia: Medellín.

On the other hand, I’ve already met with Manfred Steyer and suggested my interest in helping co-organize Angular Graz.

And how about your friends, won’t you miss them? 😓

Definitely! But if you have the right attitude, you can always make new friends. These are some photos of my trip to Graz a couple of days ago.

The snowman is not an actual friend, but the person who took the picture

At the same time, I also had the opportunity to interact with some future colleagues at the company by giving a technical presentation. They took me for beers after that, so I that must be a good sign 😊.

What does the timeline look like for you? ⏳

I will stop working at Yuxi on April 24th. About three weeks later I’ll leave Colombia.

Are you happy? 👀

The difference between BEING and FEELING is the duration. The former lasts longer.

So, although I feel stunned, shocked, and overwhelmed, I’m happy.

Thanks for reading! 💜

To my friends in Colombia, feel free to ping me next time you are traveling to Europe, I’d be more than happy to host you!

I’m selling my stuff! 😱

If you’re interested in the any of the following items, drop me a line at hi@jdjuan.io, prices are crazy, so make sure you get yours before somebody else does!

Special thanks to beeman 🐝 and Felipe Jaramillo Gómez for their constant advice on the process 🙏.

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