Why Did Our Brazilian Colleagues Relocate to the Czech Republic?
In the past two years, we have relocated several people from various countries to work with Showmax Engineering in Prague. The decision to leave your home country to work elsewhere and the process itself are both hard, so we wanted to investigate the background and offer a sneak peek into a relocation from Curitiba, Brazil to the Czech Republic and maybe inspire more people to consider relocating here. It seems Diego, João, and Juliano are happy working with us :)
You are all with Showmax Engineering, but in two different teams: Diego works in the (media) Encoding team; Juliano and João work in the CMS team. What is your background or field you specialize in?
Diego: I studied high performance computing for my bachelor’s, bioinformatics for my master’s, and briefly databases for a PhD (just before I decided to run away to Prague).
João: I have a bachelor’s in computer science focused on embedded systems and computer architecture, the same field I started my master's degree in but didn’t manage to finish before coming to Prague.
Juliano: I studied network caching using openflow in my bachelor's, but it made me decide to never touch anything related to networks in my life again! I’ve started my master’s in Machine Learning Security but decided to stop and move to Prague.
I wonder why you wanted to leave Brazil. What is your home country like in terms of career options and why were you willing to leave to work elsewhere?
Diego: Brazil offers good opportunities in terms of IT, and moneywise it can also be interesting to take advantage of the currency exchange rates and work remotely for north american or european companies. I was, however, looking for more than just a bigger paycheck, and wanted to experience living somewhere else, a safer place with more travel possibilities.
João: If you have experience there are plenty of opportunities for IT, but they are not that great moneywise if you don’t choose to work remotely for a foreigner company. For why I’m willing to leave, I always had a desire to live abroad and to experience new cultures and lifestyles, the political situation in Brazil was one more push for me to do so.
Juliano: I wanted to become a university teacher but the Brazilian political situation was really bad at the time with several cuts in Education and the current president of Brazil was clearly gonna make things even worse in that area (by his campaign promises) so the day he got elected I started to look for a job outside Brazil to be able to get some experience living abroad with a good quality of life. Luckily for me Diego was working here and recommended me to our former company.
Diego at the Showmax's Fun Games back in 2021
Why Europe, not the USA?
Diego: I'm personally more aligned with the European lifestyle, more easy going and with a functioning social system.
João: From what I know about USA culture and lifestyle it is one of the last countries I would choose to live in. Europe has a richer history and better quality of life in my opinion and I have a bunch of friends here that I knew would be really helpful to my adaptation.
Juliano: Honestly? Because the USA is the core of capitalism and individualism. Quality of life and focus on the social rather than on the individual benefit/profit are the main reasons to choose Europe. Also, as someone who almost studied history, living in Europe is much more interesting with the opportunities to travel to a lot of historically relevant places.
What was the most difficult part of the relocation?
Diego: Saying farewell to the loved ones was a challenge of course, and the visa process in the Czech Republic could definitely have been smoother. I didn't know Showmax yet when I came to Prague and the first company I worked for didn't have a relocation package, so I had to deal with everything by myself.
João: For sure leaving family and friends behind and the anxiety of what's to come. The whole process from visa to when I started working was quite smooth because Showmax and CzechRelocate helped me.
Juliano: The visa process in the Czech Republic is designed to make you give up and that was the most difficult part for me. My former company didn’t offer a relocation package and I had to deal with everything by myself for both me and my wife, which was an extremely expensive and frustrating process.
How long did the process take and what steps were necessary?
Diego: It was about 5 months between accepting the offer and landing in the Czech Republic, mostly due to complications and delays during the visa process. When I wanted to change companies and start working at Showmax, Showmax offered to help me with changing the company on the visa, something that can be as painful as applying for the first time. Thankfully then all I had to do was to go to the immigration office and sign some papers.
João: I had my first interview in the middle of December 2021 and received an offer about one month later. Showmax then made the arrangements with CzechRelocate to handle my visa process at the end of January, paid for the service, and then everything started in February. Most of February was spent gathering documents and proof of accommodation, all the translations needed, and insurance. At the end of February, I had a meeting at the consulate to deliver all the documents and less than a month after that my visa was approved so I spent the rest of March and the start of April preparing my things to leave Brazil, finishing my notice period with my previous company, and saying my farewells to family and friends. I arrived on the 16th of April in the Czech Republic. It took me roughly 3 months from accepting the offer to arriving in the Czech Republic but if it wasn’t for my notice period it would have been around 2.
Juliano: It was about 6 months between accepting the offer and landing in the Czech Republic. Once I accepted the offer I needed to wait for the contract to be sent to me and needed to find a way to get a proof of accommodation here before even starting the visa process. I was lucky that Diego managed to help me with the proof of accommodation. In the meantime I needed to make some “official international validation” of some of my documents, including my university diploma, and get an official translation in Czech for some of them. Once I got all those documents I was able to apply for my visa at the consulate and really start the process. All of this took almost 2-3 months. After the interview and documentation validation at the consulate it took them 2 months to approve my visa application and only then I was able to book my tickets and come to Prague. It’s important to note that I had issues with the MOI delaying the approval process and Showmax helped me a lot with that regarding communication with the MOI and other things. All of that didn’t include my wife's visa because I couldn’t get a proof of accommodation for her and I needed to come to Prague, find a place to stay, get a document and send it to her so she could even start the process. It took her 6 months after I arrived in Prague to be able to come.
Juliano with CMS team at the 6th Showmax's Anniversary Party in 2021
Looking back, would you go through the process again?
Diego: I love Prague now so it was absolutely worth it. But today I'd look for a company that offers some form of relocation package to help with the transition.
João: It was totally worth it, compared with my friends it was way faster and easier and the short time that I’ve been in Prague has already been amazing.
Juliano: 100% worth it – I’ve learned a lot, got to know amazing people both at work and outside, and Prague is just breathtaking. But I would only do it again if I had a relocation package to assist me with all the inevitable complications imposed by the Czech Republic visa process.
What do you like the most about the Czech Republic?
Diego: Before I set foot here, I already knew that Czech Republic was a beautiful place with a great connection to many regions that I was looking forward to visit, but what really surprised me was how rich the history and culture of this little country is, and after four years I’m still learning a lot and appreciating it. Besides, the general vibe of enjoying the day with friends and beer is exactly what I was looking for when I decided to move overseas.
João: I have been here for just a few months and I haven’t left Prague yet, but I can say that it's amazing how beautiful everywhere I go is. It’s really easy to go from one place to another and the beer is so good.
Juliano: The quality of life in general. An amazing (and cheap) transportation system, easy connections to all of Europe, safety (it's AMAZING to be able to walk at night without fearing for your safety), a good healthcare system and of course… the beer :D
João and Juliano at the 7th Showmax's Anniversary Party in 2022
What rules does Showmax set if you benefit from using the relocation package (any limits, how long you have to stay, etc.)?
João: The only condition is for me to stay for 2 years at the company.
Diego and Juliano: And none for us two.
What keeps you staying at Showmax and working with your team?
Diego: First of all I like our product, and it is very rewarding to enjoy the changes I make in the platform by watching my favorite shows just a bit later. I also appreciate how Showmax cares for its employees, with reasonable deadlines and internal policies such as "no Friday deployments". In other words, a good work-life balance.
João: My team was really welcoming and it was very helpful for me to integrate with everyone. There are a lot of new things to learn and the work-life balance is great so far.
Juliano: Good work-life balance with a lot of support from the company on any issue I’ve faced so far and the people – a lot of amazing people work at Showmax! The product is also something I’m really happy with; for me it's really amazing to think that a change I make impacts hundreds of thousands of people on a different continent.
What are you looking forward to in the near future (any conference, meetup, course/certifications, etc.)?
Diego: I’m currently learning Golang with the support of the company, and always looking for anything related to media encoding and Quality of Experience.
João: I’m learning Java and Golang for upcoming projects.
Juliano: Recently I attended DjangoCon in Porto and liked it very much! In fact, you can read about our experiences in a blog post. I look forward to going there next year and to any similar events too! Regarding courses/certifications I’m really interested in anything related to leadership-related training, especially with a focus on multicultural teams.
Thank you guys!
Main photo by Erik Odiin