Relocation Guide: From Paris and Lagos to Berlin
Since so many of us at GetYourGuide come from abroad, we know both the anxiety and excitement that accompanies relocation. Today we hear from Eulalie and Oyewale who relocated from near and far to serve the Connectivity Mission. They share why they chose Berlin, their experience so far, and their advice to anyone considering making the move.
What is your role at GetYourGuide and what does this role entail?
Eulalie: I’m a Connectivity Specialist on the Supply Operations team. I’m essentially a project manager for all of the API connections we’re building. I work with Oyewale and other engineers who are developing these APIs. The goal is to provide the best customer experience possible by having a lot of availability, no cutoff times, and mobile vouchers.
Oyewale: I’m a Backend Engineer with the Connectivity team. We’re responsible for building integrations for as many suppliers as possible. It’s an important role because we always have to make sure we have as many suppliers connected as possible and 100% uptime connections with all of these external systems.
Where were you living before you arrived in Berlin?
Eulalie: Before moving to Berlin, I had been living in Paris for 4 years. That being said, I’m originally from Lille in northern France
Oyewale: I lived all my life in Lagos, Nigeria.
What sparked your interest in GYG?
E: Before working at GetYourGuide, I was working in the Cabaret industry as a salesperson. Even though I loved the industry, it was really old-fashioned. There was no opportunity to evolve and grow. I wanted to work with a product that was more dynamic on the market. I was also passionate about travel and culture, so this combined with the innovation I saw at GetYourGuide really fit what I was looking for.
O: In Lagos, I had been working as a software engineer, but I really wanted to relocate to Europe. I was talking with a friend about European companies and he mentioned GetYourGuide. I did a bit of research and discovered that GYG was actually building a product that directly matched my passion. It was exciting.
I’ve always been passionate about travel and seeing new places. I also read about the core values and culture and it looked like a cool place where I would feel comfortable. From there, it was a no-brainer to apply.
E: For me, the desire came from seeing our headquarters here when I came for onboarding. Everyone was so cool and smart. I felt very at home at GetYourGuide and this shaped my first impression of Berlin. During my time as an Account Manager in Paris, I came to Berlin a few more times for other trainings, our annual Holiday Party, and Summer Summit. It was during these trips I experienced more of the city and felt like it was the right place for me.
O: I had gotten to the point in my career where I wanted to work with people from other cultures and other places; relocation was a given. I was researching my top cities and landed on Berlin, Amsterdam, and London.
Of the 3, Berlin is the most open to people from non-EU countries. The process was really straightforward.
What were your biggest concerns when relocating to Berlin?
E: My biggest concern was not really about coming to Berlin but rather leaving Paris. Leaving Paris was weird for me because I had been living there for 4 years, all of my friends were there, my family close by, so I really felt like I was leaving everything.
That being said, I was excited to move to Berlin and work in HQ. I figured I should just go for it; try an adventure. I think it’s the right mindset to have when you’re considering relocation: to just go for it. If you don’t like it, then you can always go back.
O: My biggest concern was moving from an English-speaking country to a non English-speaking country. Also the weather was a bit concerning to me. It’s hot in Nigeria all year round and that definitely isn’t the case in Berlin.
How did GetYourGuide help with your move?
E: I had already found a flat in Berlin but it wasn’t furnished. I was planning to arrive in Berlin on a Saturday and start work on the Monday, so I wouldn’t have had time to furnish the entire flat. I wanted to take my furniture from Paris, but I was freaking out about the prices.
I talked about it with Mimmi, the HR manager, and she said GetYourGuide could help. I arrived at the apartment with my furniture from Paris and the movers and they put it all in my apartment. It was super simple. Big thanks to GetYourGuide and to Mimmi for the help!
O: The People Team was amazing; Mimmi helped me so much. Moving from a non-EU country to the EU is not a trivial move. It involves a lot of paperwork and applications, but GetYourGuide sent all the documents on time and walked me through the whole visa process.
The People team also organized my temporary accommodation to give me time to find my own place. They were amazing.
How did you find your apartment?
E: Everyone told me it would be tough, but in the end it was pretty simple. I sent a bunch of messages on WG-Gesucht, had a few phone calls, and then one person said yes. You have to be committed and send a lot of messages, but you will find something.
Which neighborhood do you live in?
E: I live in Kreuzberg!
What is your favorite thing about your neighborhood?
E: The mix of culture. You can find a Turkish supermarket and just next to that an organic market and next to that a yoga class. It’s really cool to see everything and everyone together.
Paris is a little more segmented. People of different statuses and backgrounds don’t really interact. You don’t live together, you don’t meet each other. In Berlin you meet and see everybody.
O: Friedrichshain is pretty hip and is definitely one of the coolest parts of Berlin. It has lots of clubs and food options, and there are a lot of parks. Honestly, everything is pretty perfect in Friedrichshain. I think everyone should move there.
What is the biggest difference between Paris/Lagos and Berlin?
E: It’s super easy to meet people here, to make friends, and to start a conversation. Everyone is very interested in you, where you come from, what you’re doing now, and what brought you to Berlin. In Berlin it’s like everyone wants to be your friend and is genuinely interested in what you do and what you want to do. This is different from my experience in Paris.
O: The weather was the biggest difference for me. I moved to Berlin during one of the coldest weeks this winter. I left Lagos and it was 30º C (~86º F) and I arrived in Berlin and it was -11º C (~12º F). Now it’s much warmer here and it’s a bit easier for me.
Language was also an adjustment, but it wasn’t really a problem because in Berlin you can get by with English. It does help to learn a few German words and phrases; I think it’s more respectful to people from Germany living here.
Lastly, the public transport is very different. It’s amazing compared to Lagos. You can literally get anywhere with trains and buses in a super short amount of time.
What do you like most about living here so far?
E: There’s always something to do in Berlin. If you want to go out on a Monday night to a concert or an exhibition, something is happening.
O: I like the multicultural society. There are people here from all over the world: Turkish, Chinese, Italian, there’s people from the Middle East, from Africa. You can find food from all over the world, you can taste the different cultures.
What advice would you have for someone who is interested in GetYourGuide but is hesitant to relocate?
E: Relocation with GetYourGuide is much easier than a simple relocation, because you have a really nice environment and atmosphere once you move. You come to work and you’re welcomed by all of these cool people, so you feel comfortable quickly. You aren’t alone at all.
O: Most people at GYG actually relocated themselves. It’s reassuring to meet people who have gone through the same experience. Also, the People team is really experienced in relocating people, so you should feel confident you’ll get the help you need.