The second round of project.amsterdam is well underway with hundreds of applications streaming in, yet two weeks remain to apply for this career twist of a lifetime. Still having doubts? Why not hear from a person who actually went through the project: a experience? Our very own Joël sat down with Atsushi Sakai - one of the chosen candidates from Round 1, who relocated to Amsterdam from Japan to become a Senior Business Analyst at Takeaway.com.
On coming across project.amsterdam
Hi Atsushi! Thanks for having us here at the beautiful office of Takeaway.com. Can you tell us what made you decide to participate in project.amsterdam?
My wife and I were looking for an opportunity to move back to Europe. The thing is, I used to live in Amsterdam due to my previous job, and I really enjoyed living here. My wife was browsing the Internet one day when she came across an ad for project: a for a data science job in the Netherlands. That was exactly the opportunity that I was looking for. We remembered that the work-life balance was excellent, and the people were flexible. All this made me decide to return by participating in project.amsterdam.
Just like last round, we offer a 5-day "test drive" trip to Amsterdam during which you get to meet your company and the ecosystem here. And, of course, get to know the city. You were among the lucky few to be chosen last time. Was it useful for you?
It was really nice! I actually did not expect such a broad program. I did not really know that Amsterdam is so focused on the tech industry. It was nice to see Startup Village and to get an impression of the City's focus on the tech scene. The only tough part was my jetlag on the first day. Luckily, there were not a lot of activities on the first day, so I could have a bit of sleep [laughs].
Moving cities is always a hassle. But moving continents is a whole different kind of hassle. How did you experience this move? Did you receive enough help with arranging the practical stuff?
Getting a visa and arriving here went way smoother than expected. Takeaway had even assigned a dedicated relocation officer who helped me a lot. All I needed to do was send a copy of my certificates and ID, and they set up everything for me and my family. They've also assisted me with temporary housing. That gave me a buffer to find permanent accommodation.
On the company
Companies in Amsterdam have a lot of similarities in company culture. What is your impression of Takeaway's company culture and overall work culture in Amsterdam?
People here are so flexible and easy to talk to. The work-life balance is also a big change for me. The latest I have left the office here was 6:30 pm. Now I have enough time for a private life and the things I like in the evening, like reading and practicing Dutch. This is not going bad, by the way - I can do my shopping in Dutch now [laughs].
Do you feel challenged in your work?
Yes, there are definitely enough challenges for me - but it is a good thing. The business is growing fast, so it is expected for everyone to take initiative and contribute to the company. I am proactively searching for these challenges at Takeaway. Best thing is, I used to work at a consulting firm, where I advised on analytics. Back then, I was only able to advise my client and could never actually execute, as I was an external consultant. But here at Takeaway, I can be part of the execution.
On Amsterdam and its tech scene
There are so many cities in the world where you can get a job in the tech industry. Why is Amsterdam a good place to work and live for people in tech?
I think it is a good place to be if you work in tech. When I compare the tech companies here and in Japan, the best part is that, in Amsterdam, talent comes from all corners of the world. I very much enjoy the diversity aspect here.
Moving from Japan to Amsterdam is a big change. Can you explain how your life has changed?
The life here is flexible and full of potential. People here respect private life. For example, if I have to go to the city hall during office hours for an important document, it is possible for me to go without being obliged to take time from my annual leave. In other countries, these sorts of procedures may be stricter.
Beside the work-life balance and the flexibility, commuting time is really short. I do not even live in Amsterdam, I live in Haarlem. In Japan, I used to travel for more than an hour within one city. Now, it only takes me 30-40 minutes to get to work from door to door, from another city. This gives you spare time to do the things you like outside of work.
Advice for project.amsterdam candidates
Many applicants of project.amsterdam round 2 will be reading this, Atsushi. Do you maybe have a nice piece of advice for them?
People who are truly interested in project: a, should take the time to read the vacancies thoroughly and do research on the companies. Truly take time for your motivation! Especially for the people that have never been to Amsterdam - this is the best way to know which company fits you best.
project.amsterdam accepts applications until April 15th. Ready for a career twist of your life? Apply!