I always thought I'd stay in my home city, Guatemala City.
Back when I finished high-school, a lot of my friends decided to study abroad. Not me. I wanted to stay.
Time passed. I had a good salary for Guatemalan standards. I was living in a cool neighbourhood. I had my family, close friends, and I was dating a woman that I was passionately in love with. You could say I had it all figured out.
But, I didn't. I found this programming language called Ruby and I wanted to use it so bad and not only for side projects. Locally there was no demand, but there were lots of offers abroad.
One day I found one in Leysin, a small village in Switzerland. To me this sounded as sweet as a writer's cabin, but for software developers. I decided to give it a go.
A couple of months later I was packing my bags. I was scared, but I was excited too.
Having a long distance relationship was hard, but I got to learn a lot. I also traveled and made good friends.
Two years and a half passed. I wanted to pick on bigger challenges. And more important, the woman I was dating was now my wife and we both wanted to move to a city.
I decided to apply to a company I admired. I got an offer and we moved to Nuremberg. This time it was much easier. I was less scared, and more excited than the first time.
Three years passed, I met outstanding developers, worked on very exciting projects and grew exponentially. My wife finished her masters degree and we wanted to go somewhere more international.
I found a job in Berlin. We were very excited and not so scared this time. I guess we are getting used to this.
The German capital is fun, we could have probably stayed long term but my wife got an offer for a PhD in Ghent. I'm so proud of her and super excited for what is coming our way.
Being an expat has been a challenge but it has allowed me to grow as an engineer and as a person. I've met very intersting people along the way, some of them I'm lucky enough to call friends.
I think everyone would benefit from having an experience in another country, specially if it's a place where they don't speak your mother language.