A lot can change in six months!
For Aya, this is especially true. Six months ago, Aya received her offer from FREE NOW, packed her bags and moved from Egypt to Berlin, where she now works as a Software Engineer on our innovative Autonomous Driving Team.
What made you want to move to FREE NOW in Berlin?
I had heard about how international FREE NOW is, how welcoming the culture is and when I started, it was all so real! When I walked into the kitchen to grab a coffee, everyone greeted me. FREE NOW has the spirit of a start-up with the structure of a big company; the culture is energetic yet focussed.
Autonomous driving is also such an innovative concept and I could not miss the chance to be part of a team that is shaping the future of mobility and challenge myself professionally.
Also Berlin is a very cool place to work; not only is a tech hub, but it is also so international and in one day, you can meet so many different people from all over the world. It was an opportunity for an adventure, so I just went for it!
Outside of work, how do you spend your time?
Reading! I love to read as it allows me to explore different places and eras, all from the comfort of home. Books based on history or technical concepts are exciting as I can gain insights via experts who share their knowledge of an incredibly niche subject. Reading in my spare time means that I can relax and unwind yet remain mentally creative after a busy day of programming.
Moving abroad and settling into a new job can be difficult; how have you managed this?
For me, having an accepting and open-minded mindset has helped immensely to adapt to this change. I love people; enjoying being around your colleagues and creating a good culture makes the job a lot easier.
Over the last six months, how have you grown at FREE NOW?
Every day there is something new, so I have definitely changed a lot.
I am currently working on an Autonomous Driving project, which is definitely a topic that will change the future. This project involves a lot of imagination and creativity and, as no one has ever worked on it before, there is a lot of exploring involved. For example, we have a virtual environment whereby we work out how to automatically open car doors for passengers, or how twenty cars will park themselves on a busy street. It’s like a real-life sci-fi movie!
I have definitely faced a lot of new challenges, personal & professional. My current project involves teams from different countries, we all have different working styles and work with different technologies. This can lead to challenging situations yet we overcome this by collaborating and supporting each other. For example, when we face a challenging technical issue, we break it down as a team and solve it step by step. The key here is to be patient and methodical.
Personally, it was a big decision to move from Egypt to Berlin. Living in Berlin is fun and it had made me become more open-minded. I have learned not just about my job as a software engineer, but also about different cultures and what it is like to live in a Germany city. My favourite thing about Berlin is all of the green areas. Going into work and seeing all of the parks and trees along the way helps me to relax and enjoy nature amidst the hustle and bustle of city life.
What is the culture at FREE NOW like for you?
Everyone is amazing! The culture is very collaborative and we enjoy working with each other. The international culture is so fun- working in such an international environment means that you hear funny stories and jokes from all over the world. Every lunch break, you talk and hear stories in English in all accents.
The highlight so far has been a team offsite in Denmark earlier this year- we work, have fun and have a BBQ, which is as a way of welcoming newbies and forming a team in a fun environment. After the trip, we all felt closer and have become more productive as a team.
If you would like to be part of the FREE NOW culture, check out the opportunities available in our offices across Europe here.