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Sami Alakotila: Same company, new country

Sami Alakotila is a Junior Engineer now based in Berlin, Germany. Sami’s personal journey led him to Berlin, stepping out of his comfort zone moving from Finland to Germany was a welcome change. His journey at Etteplan began before even graduating, “I started working at Etteplan in 2021 full time, I wanted to write my thesis for them, and I did it!” Sami soon learned that a good working environment and opportunities to grow confirmed that he was in the right place. 

After moving to Germany, his role working mostly with automation stayed the same, the biggest difference according to Sami, was the language.  

Sami had considered moving to Germany earlier on and shared his future plans and aspirations with his manager who decided to show his support by approaching the team in Berlin himself. Sami’s manager wanted to give him the opportunity to both follow his dreams and continue to work for the company that makes him happy and where he can thrive.  

While he anticipated there to be larger cultural differences, Sami was positively surprised to learn that he fit right in with his new team, “I thought it would be more strict here, but I've found that the working environment is relaxed.”  

While it was up to Sami to initiate the big move, the support for moving roles within Etteplan was tremendous. “I have been offered language courses to learn German. It has been really helpful so far,” Sami shares excitedly. 

The main difference in Sami’s work between Finland and Germany is that there are a range new tools at his disposal. What this means for Sami is that his competences in a variety of tools and skills also changes and continues to expand. 

Sami considers himself pretty flexible, "in the way that I can adapt easily to new situations, but even this transition seemed smoother than expected. Getting on board a new project from the start helped me get to know my colleagues and how they work. It was easy to fit in, they took me in, and made me feel as though I could always ask colleagues for help.”

Programming for the new project was familiar ground which helped in the integration process, “I just wanted to survive the first two months and so far, everything is going pretty smoothly.” 

As he settles into the new surroundings, Taekwondo is top of the list for getting back into routines for Sami along with getting to know the city as a new local. Not always an easy feat, learning the language has been a challenge – but one that Sami believes will help make the most out of enjoying Berlin and the rest of Germany.  

There will be many new things and firsts coming up on Sami’s journey both in Etteplan and Berlin – his advice for someone thinking about moving - “If you think too long it’ll be too late, just go.”