Real Stories From Abroad #1: Isabella

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Real Stories From Abroad #1: Isabella

Posted on 10 June 2020

Real Stories From Abroad #1: Isabella

Introducing “Real Stories From Abroad”

We are a recruitment agency with the aim to help people finding international job opportunities, you probably know this far. But it’s not “just that”, never has been.

Can you imagine how many people contact us on a daily basis, how many of them we get the chance to know about, and how many real stories we hear or luckily witness? It’s a very human-oriented job being a recruiter, and that’s why we love it. Let us describe how we get to hear these stories briefly first to explain why we wanted to share them with you and then finally start our new series of interviews with our lovely former candidate Isabella’s story.

This is how the magic happens: 

If you ever wondered how the recruitment process goes with recruitment agencies like Blu Selection, let us quickly explain it to you. Believe us, it’s fun. 

Either candidates find us or we find them. We have a small talk to know each other better and to understand if the needs and preferences are in line. Then we talk further, personally get to know our candidates if that specific job will actually make them happy, satisfied and motivated to wake up every Monday.

If we already can sense that it can be a good match, we present their unique personalities and strengths to our clients, explaining what values they can bring to their company. We build their initial contact and let them know each other. But we don’t leave our candidates alone after this, who would do that? We provide them with the insights and tips about the company they interview to make sure they are well-prepared.

Of course, there’s bureaucracy and everything we may not be helpful as we want, but this doesn’t stop us from following up to know if there’s anything we can ease the process.

Then what? 

We often get to hear the success stories of our candidates and clients, working happily ever after. Does this really sound like a boring job for you? 

The reason we decided to make this introduction is that we wanted you to know that the job hunt process which you mostly mention with negative adjectives does not have to be always what you expected it to be. Life can be difficult, boring or unpredictable sometimes, but you can always find some support and fun in it. What is more satisfying than being able to tell your success stories to inspire others? 

Isabella’s Lisbon Adventure 

Today, you’ll read a story, a real one. We start the first interview series we call “Making the Blu Experience: Real Stories From Abroad” and share Isabella’s story with you.

Her working abroad story is as unique as she is and we are so lucky to know about it.

It made us feel different emotions at the same time, just like life itself. 

If you want to learn more about Isabella, how and why she left Italy and got a new job in Lisbon and what’s happening over there now check her interview below! 

*All photos belong to Isabella’s personal archive.

Hey Isabella, thank you so much for accepting our call to hear real stories from abroad. Let’s start by introducing you to our readers. Where are you from? Where do you live and work at the moment? You can give us some background information about your professional and educational background and your hobbies and goals if you want. 

I’m Isabella! I am 35 years old and I’m Italian. I was born and raised in a place 50 KM far from Rome. I attended the high school in my town (where I studied mostly humanistic subjects, such as Italian and English literature, history, philosophy and Latin), and unfortunately I couldn’t finish college. I worked for many years as a travel agent and as an insurance agent. 

I have a beautiful 15 years old son, he’s my life, and I have a 3 years old German Shepherd and a 6 years old crazy cat that I both consider my children too! 

I have to admit that I do not have many hobbies, but I like going to the beach, walking, exploring, and of course watching TV shows.
At the moment I have been living and working in Lisbon since last February, my adventure just began!

I said “why not”, and here I am!

How did you decide to make an international work experience abroad? Did you have any previous experience and what was your motivation for following this route?

Money. I mean, I needed money. Who doesn’t?! That’s the first reason. 

But I want to be more specific: I found myself at the edge of 35 years, with a  son to support and with a job that didn’t leave much money than to pay taxes. I applied for hundreds of job positions in my country but without any successful results. So, I had to be realistic and to make one of the hardest choices of my life: leaving my comfort zone. I love my beautiful country, but it was time to take a break for a bit from our complicated relationship.

My intention at first was trying to find a job in Spain because my son’s father lives there. So we enrolled him in a school in Barcelona while I was trying to find a job there. Unfortunately, I was not able to find a job as I thought. 

Then I had to reschedule my life for the second time in a row.I made research online and found out that in Lisbon they were searching for Italian speaker employees. I had already visited the city before and I literally fell in love with it. So I said “why not?”, and here I am! (but I still hope to reunite with my son as soon as possible, as you can imagine)

How did your job search go? Would you say it was relatively easy to find a suitable job abroad? You know that we encourage people to #makethebluexperience when they decide to make an international career move. How was your Blu experience and your recruitment process overall? 

I applied for some jobs on my own, and I’ve been immediately contacted by many companies. For the first time in my life, I was the one to choose which job was good for me and I felt so proud of myself! So basically I found a job, I found a home, I packed my things and I left my old life for a new one. I arrived in Lisbon and started my brand new life. Then the pandemic happened…

The training for the job I chose was suspended, so I found myself without a job, again. I had to start over, once again. This is the moment I met Blu Selection. 

I contacted Blu Selection with the aim of finding something else in this terrible situation. I will always be grateful to Blu Selection and to the recruiter (Audrey!) who took care of my application process because you literally saved my life. Audrey is a wonderful person, she followed me step by step before, during and after my recruiting process. So yes, of course, I recommend Blu Selection without a doubt to everyone who wants to make an experience abroad.

"Then the pandemic happened…"

What are the strengths that made you get the job do you think? Which soft and hard skills do you think helped you to be selected for your current role?

I believe that my strengths are my desire to learn and to make new experiences and my motivation to improve myself in every single way. I think that the soft skills that helped me to be selected for this role are my tranquillity, my ability to think straight and to make impartial decisions, and my natural aptitude to work in a team.

Did you receive any support on the way to your journey? Did you get any previous information or recommendation about the company you are working with right now? 

Every company here tries to make its best to help its employees to find themselves at home, by helping them with the paperwork and even finding a place to stay.

The company I work for right now is one of the leaders in their field and one of the best when it comes to working abroad, and I heard about it even before I made the decision to leave my country. So yes, I knew it and I knew it was highly recommended.

"I think working in pyjamas is one of the most amazing things that happened to me!"

How’s it going with the unexpected turn of events during the outbreak? How did it affect your experience and what do you expect to happen next? 

Well… It was a cold shower. I mean, when I think about it, it is still so surrealistic to me. At the beginning, I have to admit that it was hard. I found myself in a foreign country, without work, without speaking the local language, during a pandemic, with my family far away in the country where the situation was the worst in Europe and with my son far away from me. I think it would have been hard for everyone. I still don’t know how, but I’ve been able to remain calm and patient. 

Little by little, I started to see the light at the end of this tunnel (short tunnel, but yet a tunnel). With the help of Blu Selection, I was able to be hopeful again. So I started a new training from home, the company provided me with the tools I needed and gave me assistance. 

Now I work from home. I think working in pyjamas is one of the most amazing things that happened to me! The only thing that I missed is to meet the people I work with. They are all wonderful people, and I hope to meet face to face as soon as the situation will get better.

Can you tell us about your daily routine during this experience? Do you enjoy your job at the moment? Did you have a chance to attend any team activities or after work events? How’s life in Lisbon? 

I really like my job. I work as a content moderator for a social network, and I really like it! Unfortunately, I didn’t have any after-work activity yet, because my working shifts are until 11:00 PM or 02:00 AM.  so I wake up not that early in the morning but of course that’s because I can be very lazy sometimes! 

Even if the shift has unusual hours, I really like it and have no problem with it at all. As soon as I have the chance, I will taste life outside again, like in the good old times. 

Lisbon is wonderful, people are wonderful and the climate is wonderful too. Everyone is kind, nobody has a rush, and nobody is ever angry. I really can’t wait to join the city life!

"I learned to be strong. I learned to manage my fears."

What have you learned so far and what do you expect to gain from this experience both in terms of personal gains and professional skills?

I know that it could be a silly answer, but I learned to be strong. I learned to manage my fears.

I hope to improve my character (I am very very shy) and I hope to have a cultural exchange with the people that I’ll meet. That’s the same about my professional skills, we can learn a lot from other people.

What is the best part of this experience or what do you expect it to be? 

It could seem crazy, but the best part of all this has been finding myself in this difficult situation. It’s like finally being grown up. But I still expect a lot of things from this experience. There’s still so much to gain out there and I really cannot wait for it! Let’s see what life has to offer.

"If life gives you lemons, make a lemonade!"

What advice would you give people reading your story?

Life could be very very hard sometimes but there’s always a way to escape from what’s wrong with it. We only have to find the strength to make our life better and most of all we have to find the will to make it. 

Every one of us has skills that we can take advantage of. So don’t be afraid, if life gives you lemons, make a lemonade!

I suggest everyone try the abroad experience, it changes you, it improves you, in both personal and professional life. And remember, this is always a starting point of the journey, never the final destination!

Thank you so much, Isabella, for letting us know about your experience. 

Ups and downs, that’s what life is all about but as Isabella said, we need to make those lemonades no matter what! 

Hope you enjoyed reading her story and got inspired to make the move you want. If you want to know more about the Blu experience or want your story to be published here, just contact us! 

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