From St. Petersburg to Germany
My name is Asya Levin, I am 25 years old. Of them 18 years I have lived in St. Petersburg, and now living and working in Gothenburg senior financial analyst at the head office of Volvo.
In St. Petersburg, I studied at the German school. It deeply affected me: the school had an agreement with the Ministry of Germany, through which I was able to pass on the language diploma in German Großen Deutschen Sprachdiplom. This diploma has no expiration date and are valid for admission to German universities.
Already at school I knew that I wanted to study abroad, see new countries. I even went to school in the 9th grade. Read other success stories under the heading “Careerists” Lived by local Germans in a wealthy family in a beautiful house. Then it struck me that they had a huge bathroom with a large window on the second floor, unusual for Russian schools, lessons, dance, plastic, and Latin. To enroll in a German University after school, you had to unlearn at least a year, or in Russia, or in a special preparatory class in Germany. Chose the first option, enrolled at SPbSPU (St. Petersburg state Polytechnical University. — Approx.) where studied three years. While training I managed a few times to go to Germany in Heilbronn and Berlin.
Already in Berlin, I was preparing to enter the German University: looking for information about universities among friends, went to the open house and could immediately see the building of the University. Chose the Berlin School of Economics and Law. It was possible to study international management in double degree program. This means that you first attend the same University, and then in a partner University in another country.
For the “second” of training I chose the Complutense University of Madrid. He is considered one of the top in Spain. At the moment I’m a little tired of Germany and wanted the heat of the sun.
Study in Germany: no more homework, the freedom of choice and prohibition of cheating
Do you have a list of items that must pass for the diploma. You can vary the load, choose the learning time and teacher.
There is no coursework or homework: students during the semester doing projects in groups, and then at the end of the course protect them. Typically the project may amount to 30-50% of the final score.
In Germany it is impossible to write off. It is possible to fly not only with the exam, but out of school. And do not trust the Germans with which you greet every day or drink coffee. If someone sees what you write — all the same will immediately report to the Professor.
Training in Spain: no Siesta
I was expecting that Spain would be easy, because they all relax and they seemed to have always Siesta. But nothing like this! The University said that I had in Germany was a little math, and if I want to get a diploma, we must take all the items related to mathematics and Economics. Had to change the schedule six weeks after the beginning Read on: As a seventh-grader conquers Moscow gluten free bread study, missing half of the semester in some subjects. Math classes in the result so much that I now work in Finance.
Spain got a pair for each subject twice a week. They give a lot of homework, there is an intermediate certification. Be sure to attend the lectures — all very strict with the visits. If you’re not in a pair not perform the job, you have no chance to get a good grade on the exam, even if you’re perfect it will pass. Pair last for two hours. Since I had different items of the modified plan, the schedule was inconvenient: the first pair could be at 8 in the morning, and the second only two or four hours. You work a lot in groups get more practice, than in Russia.
I was struck by the people and the country itself. The Spanish enjoy life, and you get this atmosphere.
In Germany, visiting students live in dormitories. I paid 150 euros for a modest option, which my friends jokingly called a “container” and up to 250 euros. It is very cheap compared to usual prices. You can still share an apartment with other students. Part time in Germany with the educational visa is easy to find: there are special jobs for students for 15-20 hours a week floating schedule. And in Spain in hostels live rare: included housekeeping and food that is expensive — 800 euros. A room in the center cost 400 euros. Students usually rent through a real estate website Idealista.
As I passed 36 exams in 1.5 months
When I graduated from SPbSPU and in parallel studied in Germany, I had 1.5 months to take the 36 exams. When are you going to learn to share, they give you another six months to take all the gaps in the native University. I definitely wanted to finish the Russian University to get hands on at least one diploma.
Agreed with the administration that they will pass the debt on the exams after the winter session. Came during a six-week break. Was tin: I needed not only to learn the tickets and pass exams, but also find all teachers to calculate their schedule and negotiate with them. Was looking for lectures and writing from classmates.
Wrote a term paper on a laptop, where there was Cyrillic… did not go Anywhere, only taught. It was a very stressful period.
But when you hand over such an amount of exams, there is a feeling a satisfaction. I’m a perfectionist: had to pass all five to receive a diploma.
How to choose a country to move
Today the world has become more open — from the point of view of possibilities, but not visas. A work visa is always difficult to obtain, because, in principle, is a temporary residence permit for work.
In my experience, moving is better to choose a country based on two factors: where you want to study and where you want to work.
If you don’t know where you would like to work, it is better to make a choice in favor of good schools. Plus, I advise you to study scholarships, study opportunity for the exchange of free education.
Germany ideal for training. Of course, you can study in one European country and move to somewhere else after, Apply for the main prize of the year for young startups and entrepreneurs, but it is difficult. You need to think in advance your strategy. I studied in Germany for dual degree, and now work in Sweden. In Spain it is easier to get a job than in Germany, if you’ve managed to settle down there with someone to get acquainted and to establish networking.
In the Swedish office Volvo I got a year of work in Spain. I drove all ready: I had the documents for visa application and housing. But generally in Europe have a visa for the job search. For example, in Germany it is given 18 months after graduation, in France. With this visa you have the right to look for work, but if arranged in a company, it is served already on a work visa — by the way, this is the easiest way to get it.
Three website that will help find work in Europe
LinkedIn — determined suggest for Sweden. Top you Google the company, read about them. Yes, every company will have to complete a separate application. It is the most productive way to find a good position in the classroom of the company.
Indeed.se is one of the biggest platforms for job search in Sweden (.se) and in other European countries and even America with a large number of vacancies.
Stepstone.se website for job search and practices, which is popular in Germany.
Help universities to find a job?
Universities have no obligation to find you a job. They can arrange a networking or familiarity with the companies, trainings for writing CV or motivation letter. Some universities have career centers or to work with startups. But again, no one is obliged to find you a job.
I think it all depends on the person. Career can help the practice to which you sent during my studies. But I had not used for employment bonuses uni.
When applying for a job no matter which country are you from. The inhabitants of the CIS have “bonuses” in addition to his native English and they usually know the local language — that is, all speak three languages.
With visas to the immigrants from the CIS more difficult. If you come to work in Europe from scratch, the company should make an effort to get you a work visa. Plus Europe is that many here work in the specialty. If you studied art history, can find work in their field. This is easiest to do in IT, Economics, management as the Russian in such industries a good reputation. But get a teacher in school hard — in this field less foreigners. Generally, the larger the company, the foreigner get there easier — a small company often focused on local.
What’s it like working in the head office of Volvo
After studying in Spain, I stayed there to write the diploma. In parallel found an internship, and then decided to change the scope of management in Finance. Looking for an internship through special sites: I saw a company that is looking for someone with knowledge of English and German, qualified in Finance and management. Moreover, the employer was not specified, mediator spoke of the Agency. The name of the company has disclosed after meeting.
After two interviews I was offered a position at Volvo. But since I didn’t have a work visa, we found a compromise and I became a trainee on salary. After a year I was offered to move to Sweden, where I could apply already for a work visa. For me it was a step forward not only in career but in the status in Sweden after four years you can apply for permanent residence, and another year for citizenship.
In the Volvo a strong corporate culture, which is tied to working where you like. The company considered that the need to be open, honest, people here do listen to the opinions of others. Yes, there is a hierarchy, but in meetings it is important the opinion of each employee.
I am impressed by the fact that here you are treated as a person. For example, if your child is sick for a week and you need to be with him, will not tell you anything, even if you’re in top management. If you want, you can work from home or with breaks. By the way, the clock-in and clock-out is recorded in the system, so the processing is also noticeable. When accumulated more than 8 hours, you can take a day of leave. If three hours — half a day. But money to compensate for the recycled time is impossible.
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I usually come to the office between 7 and 9 am, most often to 9. And immediately meet with colleagues over tea: we are discussing working news. Check your email, go to meetings.
During the day I have 3-4 meetings on projects. I’m a financial analyst and responsible for the financial information for certain departments — I need to be with them in constant contact. The rest of the time working independently for the two screens.
My workplace is in open space. In the office a lot of different rooms: for interviews, phone calls, meetings, stay, large kitchen, several restaurants downstairs with different types of national cuisines. Of course, the office has vending machines with food and coffee-machines, microwave ovens for a home-cooked meal, bathtubs and showers — many employees during breaks in sports.
Here, from reverence for work-life balance. Nobody’s sleeping at the office, unless it is a special day when you need to stay and work together on the task. Here is what you should work to get done all over 40 hours a week. If you do not have time, means, or work inefficiently, or you have a large overload. In Sweden trade unions are trying to negotiate better terms for workers. We are contractually obligated to work 40 hours, and in agreement with Professor of 39.5. As the company contract makes the work more than you should in agreement with the Union, you additionally compensate for this time.
In Sweden, fewer holidays, there can not tolerate. In the summer you can take a vacation for four weeks in a row. And no one will stop you. In winter, someone takes three weeks if the situation allows. The company transports employees on team building 2-3 times a year: usually this is a small working group.
But in Sweden, a strict system of taxes, so any gifts or services that you can provide to the company are considered taxable. For example, if they give you a company car in Spain you will pay a small fee, and in Sweden you need to pay the full cost of this benefit is approximately 50%. That is, if you take a car on lease is 700 euros, you will pay 350. Or, for example, when I moved, I was given advice on filling in your tax return. This service is also considered taxable. Why Sweden did not give us anything. But in Spain we drove to the Volvo Ocean race as a corporate leisure and paid the expenses. And at Christmas gave a huge leg of jamon. It all depends on the country.
How much that is worth in Gothenburg*
The Packed potatoes — 10-15 CZK/kg (≈70-100 rubles)
Eggs: 6 pieces — 15 CZK (≈100)
Cheese: 0.5 kg 70 CZK (≈500 rubles)
Bananas — 20 CZK/kg (≈140 rubles)
Chicken fillet — CZK 120-130/kg (≈850-900 rubles)
Wheat bread — 30 CZK (≈200 rubles)
Grain crackers gluten free — 20-40 euros for a small package (≈140-280 rubles)
A monthly pass for transport — 90 CZK (≈630 rubles)
Rent a room in the centre — 5000 CZK (≈35 thousand rubles)
Rent 1-room apartment in a residential area of 8-10 thousand kroons (≈50-70 thousand rubles)
Newspaper — 30 CZK (≈200 rubles)
Glossy magazine — 60-70 kroner (≈500 rubles)
Manicure — 600 CZK (≈4200 rubles)
A ticket to the theatre / cinema 100-150 CZK (≈1000)
* At the exchange rate at April 9, 2019: 1 crown — 7.04 ruble
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Have app power-UPS and perks of working in Volvo 🚗 Part 2. The beginning of a search for the tag #asalolo 🔍 ❤ I in addition to a brand new shiny car leasing and uploaded on the corporate money of the body in the Volvo you can get: 4. 📱Phone latest model issued to all employees. Those who started in the fall of 2018 issued iPhone X and iPhone 8 Plus. I last January got iPhone 7. What I do not complain) every few years phones are changing. Communications, Internet and roaming is paid by the company. And app you can download any under their responsibility 🤓 5. 💻 Laptop. All employees are issued a new computer this year, you can even choose Mac and not just hp/dell! Finally 😄 and phone, and the laptop remain the property of the company, but you get them in sole use. 6. 💸 A lot of different discounts — clothing, cosmetics, household appliances. In General, from the Apple store and zalando to glossybox and pharmacies. There are shops in almost any area. Discounts of 5-20%. Even on the MacBook! 7. 🗝 Private screenings, events, lectures, and so on. For example, today I’m going to a screening of the film in the Swedish movie of the week. Volvo is one of the sponsors. And from Madrid we went to Alicante to look for a sailing race around the world Volvo Ocean Race ⛵️ 8. 👶🏼 Up to 480 days of paid maternity leave, which will be divided between both parents. That is a year and a half! This is a very long period by international standards. For example, in the United States — is just three months 😳 by the way, father must take at least 90 days. More! Very sweet for later 😁 Who wants a sequel, write “+” and rate ❤ I will write another post when I typed 800 likes 👌🏼 #asacker
Publication of Asya 🇸🇪 FOREIGN, BUT a NATIVE (@asya_levin) Jan 31, 2019 at 1:41 PST
The mentality of the Swedes is similar to Russian: they would not rush with open arms to the first comer. It is easy for me to find common language with them. Swedes are polite. They are characterized by focus on the family. They appreciate concern for others, tolerance.
What I miss in Europe? Definitely not buckwheat. But for good service, Yes: manicure, pedicure… everything Here is very expensive and the quality is very lame. Plus, in Russia everything is open 24 hours. Gothenburg is less than Peter, there is not enough cultural life and events, but I’m making up for all the travelling.
Europe has allowed me to greatly expand my horizons, to change my views on many things. The European multinational has circulated communication. Still here is a good standard of living and have the opportunity to do what I want. Not just to work but to enjoy the work and what is next. While I plan to stay in Sweden. But not make — love to explore new places.
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Photo courtesy of hero material
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