A Quick Catch Up with an Expat in Prague
By Tim Koekkoek on Jan 06, 2012
Ali is a Business Development Consultant who moved to the Oracle office in Prague from Turkey. He studied in Istanbul and he is a fresh graduate from Bogazici University with a B.A. in Management, and he is a native Turkish speaker.
I approached him to ask how his life in Prague is going so far as he used to live in a completely different environment in every aspect: language, people, even the weather. I was not sure if he would be able to settle in. So I asked:
- Hi Ali, I was going to step by your desk later but had a
chance now. How is everything going?
Thank you for asking, everything is great! Well, I would say “it will be great”, if I look at my first weeks. I came here on my own and started a new life from a scratch. There were days when things seem complicated and insolvable, but I knew that from the first day I applied for this job.
I faced some paper work, dealt with real estate agencies and getting all the essential like a bank account, address registration, check up etc… But here I am, all ready to start!
- How did you get past these difficult days?
I was encouraged enough to get over the problems. Oracle also helped me a lot with the registration for permanent residency, social security, bank account etc; basically with everything that needs to be done after moving somewhere completely new. My colleagues gave me tips about the life in Prague. Also talking about the problems and the adventures with my old friends on Skype helped to change my mood completely.
Talking about “talking with old friends”, here in Prague, I sometimes think of the time when people migrated for good in the days before cell phones, VOIP, email and Skype. I feel like home when I talk with my friends and my family over Skype and I cannot imagine the reverse. To remember these days when I look back, I created and wrote a blog about being an expat in Prague. But unfortunately it is only available in Turkish.
- Why did you decide to move here?
I always believed the fact that the things that makes our lives worth living is outside our comfort zone. Therefore, I decided to live outside Turkey for a while. If you studied in Turkey and have Turkish as your native language, there is only one option for you to go abroad: Finding a multinational company with offices in both Turkey and outside of Turkey.
Oracle was one of the first companies that came to my mind. During my studies in Istanbul, I did internships in other tech giants like Intel and Google, and I had a chance to go to Berlin for an internship in a social gaming company – Wooga. After Intel and Google, I knew that I wanted to work in IT, and after Berlin, I decided to move outside of my home country, because living as an expat was full of fun and full of challenges. After looking at the photos of the office and visiting Prague for a day for the interviews, I knew that Oracle was the place I wanted to be. Look at this picture I took with my cell phone. What else would you do other than to wish to work here?
- How do you like Prague? Did you miss anything about your hometown?
Every day I discover new things about life in my new hometown – looking, evaluating, trying to understand and adapt to a different culture, It can be very stimulating. Before moving here, I asked my friends about their impression while traveling to Prague. I know people that do not like Paris, London or Barcelona, but I’ve never seen a person that does not like Prague!
I love the city and the people here. The people, both at
work and non-work are great. Czech people are tolerant and warm to all
foreigners. My landlord, for instance, studies English vocabulary before coming
to my apartment in case of any repair or service.
Of course I miss my hometown. I was raised in the Mediterranean region and studied in Istanbul. So, I would say the warm weather is the first thing I miss! I will be honest to my friends who want to visit me or graduates that apply here: Prepare your thickest coats before you come here. Take a look at that picture, it was a very welcoming weather in my first days indeed. Fortunately, the rain is gone and has not appeared yet for the last 5 weeks.
- What do you like most about working at Oracle?
After the acquisition of Sun Microsystems, having both hardware and software in house, Oracle has been taking serious steps to ease the whole enterprise IT industry. It also adds value to people’s daily lives, even though most of the end users are not aware of this. Whether a metro is running on time, a bill is calculated and sent correctly or the internet is working, it all has Oracle technology behind it.
- I know you are going to attend the 3 week foundation training in Dublin. After this training, what are your responsibilities going to be?
I will be working as a Business Development Consultant which
is a subset of the Inside Sales organization. I generate demand from inbound
calls as a result of sales initiatives, marketing campaigns & event follow
up, downloads, web-seminars and partner campaigns. This I do together with my truly international team. Our team exists out of people from Ukraine, Poland, Moldova,
Germany, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Austria, Turkey and Central Asia region.
- Do you have advice for friends who want to apply for Oracle?
Most of my friends didn't think of working abroad right after college. I would encourage more graduates to consider broadening their horizons. For my friends that are still studying: Go work in the IT industry, the jobs are more rewarding and satisfactory than any other industry. You need to adapt yourself and learn every single day when you are working on IT products and services. By the way, I found this job via Oracle campus website, it is worth checking it every day!