project.amsterdam is reaching its finish line, with only one week remaining for candidates to complete their applications. Last week we published an interview with Atsushi Sakai on his experience finding project: a, applying and getting selected by Takeaway.com. Today, we speak with Pedro Grandi - a seasoned Java developer from Brazil, who relocated to Amsterdam to work for the Netherlands' first unicorn - Adyen.
On coming across project.amsterdam
Hey Pedro! Thanks for this delicious coffee here at Adyen's HQ. Let’s have talk about how you ended up here. You applied for project.amsterdam and moved from Brazil to Amsterdam. What made you decide to participate in project: a?
VanHack is pretty well-known in Brazil. At one point I got an email from VanHack about project.amsterdam. The opportunity was exactly what I was looking for. It seemed like a lot of big companies were involved in project: a, which made it really interesting for me.
I like the culture, I like the style of living here in Europe. I was looking to move to a city in Europe that has a strong focus on tech, English as the main business language, and is open/ used to welcoming foreign talent. Amsterdam fit all these criteria.
When I looked more into Adyen as a company, I knew I also fit this opportunity on a professional level. I looked into its history and researched on Glassdoor to learn about the values and the company culture. It was everything I was looking for.
Like all participants of project: a, you got a 5-day "career test-drive" in Amsterdam. How valuable was the trip for you?
The 5-day trip was actually essential for me because moving is not easy. Even when I moved between cities within my country, it was hard. Now imagine moving continents! It was nice to experience the city, to check if I could see myself living here. Even more important was to get a glimpse of Adyen as a company and meet the Adyen team in person.
During that week I got a typical Amsterdam experience: it rained all day [laughs]. But after that experience, I knew how the local weather might be, so there were no surprises for me in that department. I remember as I walked out of Central Station and saw all the typical Dutch buildings, I felt really excited since I've been working towards this moment for months. I was excited, but also really nervous, because I knew I had three interviews that week that could change my life.
Making a permanent move across the ocean does not entail stepping in and out of an airplane. There are a lot of practical things that need to be taken care of. Did you receive enough help arranging everything?
The project.amsterdam team and Adyen really helped a lot: showing me around the city and finding accommodation. I did not have to do much for the visa because Adyen took care of almost everything. I just had to fill out a few forms, send in my certificates and go to the embassy. Also, Adyen got me in contact with an agency that helped me find an apartment. All this help made the process of moving here much easier.
On the company
Every company here in Amsterdam has a unique culture, but a lot of similarities. How would you describe the company culture at Adyen and the overall work culture here in Amsterdam?
One thing that I read on Glassdoor and also experienced in real life is how freedom is valued here at Adyen and in Amsterdam, in general. People give you freedom in your work. Of course, you have responsibilities but if you work correctly, deliver results, help your team as much as you can and bring value to the company, you can really grow within the company.
You usually think twice before believing everything you read on the Internet... With Adyen, it is different. It turned out even better than it was portrayed online.
Here at Adyen, people CAN grow from a team member to a team leader. This shows the opportunity to grow and challenge yourself. I am here at Adyen now for three months, and what I see on a day-to-day basis is that you can learn a lot from the different incredible people within your office. People are really open to helping you. If you have a question, just go to someone and have a conversation about it. That’s how we help each other grow. Also, there is always something new to work on. This makes the work interesting - no day is the same.
You mentioned that Amsterdam has a strong focus on tech. Can you explain why Amsterdam is a good city to live in when you work in tech?
You can see online that Amsterdam is a big IT hub, with a lot of opportunities for work, events and courses. You can really experience the "tech-life". One example is the opportunity we got during last edition's project: a week. Myself and other candidates were invited to World Summit AI. We got to meet people from Google, NASA, Netflix and talk to them about the technology sector here in Amsterdam.
Other things that are great and unique in Amsterdam are the work-life balance and the fact that you get exposed to so many nationalities and cultures. Finally, a big plus is the connection to other major cities. You can just take a train and go to Paris or London. This fact really pushed me to come here. I am planning on taking short weekend trips every month.
What is the biggest challenge moving here?
On a personal level, you can get used to living in Amsterdam very easily, as it is a great city, that is well organized and that has a high quality of life. However, it is, of course, hard to be far away from your family and friends. It gets easier with time though.
On a professional level, every time you start at a new company, the first month is a bit harder because you need to get used to the culture, the people, the way of working, the processes. You want to show results immediately but, due to the novelty factor, this does not go as fast as you want it to go. This just takes some time and is normal for every job.
It is not a dream anymore, it is a reality. You applied for project: a, got through the whole application process and convinced the people of Adyen. Now you live and work in Amsterdam. Do you have any advice for future applicants of project: a?
project.amsterdam is great due to the support you get in the beginning, as it is not easy to make such a huge change in your life. project: a makes it a lot easier to make the move - it provides a support system that actually helps you. I cannot think of a better way to come here. So my advice is to leverage this opportunity to the fullest.
project.amsterdam accepts applications until April 15th. Ready for a career twist of your life? Apply!