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My journey finding a job abroad

a man is seating in a chair in an airport lounge, resting his legs in his luggage while looking through the window at an airplane that's taking off

One day a thought came to my mind: how would it be to live and work abroad? That was the start of my journey from Brazil to Canada.

The year was 2013. I've just started studying Software Development at a university in Brazil 🇧🇷. My wife and I were just starting our lives together. But we both wanted to explore better career opportunities, and living in another country seemed to be the best way to do that.

I knew that without prior experience as a Developer it would be difficult to get hired by a foreign company. I was eager to move somewhere else. But needed to get that experience first. I needed to be patient.

Two years later, in May 2015, I got my first opportunity in the Tech industry: an internship at IBM in Hortolândia (a city located about 100 km of São Paulo). It was the start of my dream! I was still finishing my graduation, and joining IBM was one of the best things that happened in my life.

Choosing a country

I always wondered where life would take me. Luckily enough I married someone that shared the same vision: staying still is not an option. We discussed a lot about where would we move. But Canada 🇨🇦 was the only country we always agreed on. Surprisingly enough I was born lived until my 21's in a street called... Canada Street! So, it seems like a sign, uh?

We did some research and discovered that the Tech market in Canada was (and still is) super hot. A lot of companies were hiring immigrants and the immigration process for those working in IT related roles was facilitated.

Also, we were not only considering moving to a new country "only" because of work. We wanted a place where we could become permanent residents, growing older and contributing to the country growth. Considering all of that, Canada seemed the right choice.

Taking action

In 2018, with about three years of experience as a Software Developer at IBM, I started applying to jobs in Canada. I was focusing my job search in Ontario. The main reason was: it's closer to Brazil than other provinces and there are direct flights without connections. Second, I knew that the Waterloo area was full of Tech companies, so applying there seemed the right thing to do.

I've applied to, at least, 50 job positions. None of them ever responded to a single email. I was getting tired of it. What was as I lacking? More experience? Was my resume too bad? I was about to give up. It didn't seem worth my time (and mental health) to keep pushing in something that seemed impossible.

I decided to stop the job hunt a little bit and went back to focus on my career at my existing job at IBM.

The right time, the right place

Fast forward to October 2018. I got an email from a company called Vanhack announcing a hiring event that would happen in February of the next year. The event would be hosted in Vancouver, British Columbia. I'd have to pay for my expenses (including flight and tourist visa). I've never considered Vancouver before. Mostly because I didn't know anyone there.

I started preparing for the interviews. It were long four months until the day the interviews started. Some companies wanted to do some rounds of interviews before the hiring event, leaving only the office visit and final interview for the event day.

I had about six interviews (I don't recall exactly how many lol). For some them, I was sure I wouldn't get an offer, but for other two, I was actually hopeful.

The trip, the good news

The day arrived. It was time to board the airplane and head to Vancouver for the final round of interviews. I was traveling alone. The first time getting out of Brazil only by myself. It felt scary. I swallowed my anxiety and put all my trust in God. Let's go.

Right before the take-off, I was browsing my email and just saw that one of the hiring managers sent me a message asking to set up a quick call. My brain immediately said: you lost it, that's the "we appreciate your time" kind of emails. I wanted to join that call ASAP. But the flight gotta take-off.

18 hours after, I landed in Vancouver. I got in touch with the hiring manager that sent me the email and he promptly called me. The news? I GOT THE OFFER!! With just a couple of hours in Vancouver, I already had finished everything that I needed to do there. It felt amazing!

I called my wife, told her what just happened. We couldn't believe that. But it just happened. From that time on, I just enjoyed my staying in Vancouver and did one more interview with another company. I've got another offer. Happiness.

After a lot of consideration, I've accepted the first offer and just became the newest Software Engineer at Article 🎉.

Back to Brazil, back to Canada

When I returned to Brazil I started preparing the move to Canada. From the work permit to leaving our current jobs, a lot had to be done. Surprisingly enough, two months after we arrived in Vancouver with four bags and everything we had was just those bags. That was a scary feeling.

It has been about a year now, and I cannot express enough how grateful I am to God to everything that happened in our lives. It has been an amazing experience. It taught was a lot.

I hope my story helps you to believe in yourself. Don't stop trying. It's hard, I know. But try hard and you'll get it done. 😄

Cover photo by @jeshoots.