Fortunate circumstances

by Roberto Ribes - Graduate Software Developer

    

Upon finishing my Master’s degree in Spain I got the opportunity of doing an internship at TGW Limited. After more than one year and a half I have to say I do not regret making the decision of leaving behind my life in Spain.

By that time and due to the economic situation in Spain, it was a hard task to find my first job after graduation. It made me realize that an international experience would be a great way for me to get in touch with new cultures, languages and a way to broaden my background and skills.

As I said, shortly after finishing my master’s degree, TGW gave me the opportunity to join the IT department in the UK for a  six-month internship in which I would learn the basic aspects of software development. I could not refuse such an offer – working in a multinational company like TGW.

Despite I had studied English at school for a long time, I have to admit that I had no idea: I could hardly understand half of what people used to say to me. However, all the people at the office were very supportive with me and kept repeating things while I used to write them down in my notebook.

There are certain things that the Spaniards love in their country: food, sun and siesta. Regarding food, it is well known that in Spain we have up to five meals during the day including tapas: no more tapas in the UK as you will guess. I had to adapt my diet completely to only three meals and it was really hard in the beginning. After a few bad experiences with food, I discovered that there is more than just burgers and fish and chips. Fortunately, English gastronomy also includes Indian, Thai, Italian food and so on.

The second amazing thing about the UK is the weather and how the English people deal with it. No matter whether it is the most perfect and hottest day in the summer (29 degrees which is average in Spain in summer) or the coldest day with snow, they will complain. They won’t like it anyway and the weather does not like them either. There are only a few chances when the sun turns up and I try to make the most of it. Sometimes the sun only lasts for a few minutes but then I can do most of my hobbies like cycling, running, exploring around, hiking, etc.

Even though during my first months it was difficult to keep and follow a conversation with my English colleagues, they have always been willing to help me and we managed to overcome all the language barriers and all the misunderstandings my accent keeps generating. Honestly, the opinion and reputation of English people in Spain is far from reality and once you get to know them it is difficult to replace them. Their humour is something I still struggle to understand and quite often I need to make sure they are kidding me with questions like “really?”, “seriously?”. Apart from that all is good as long as you do not mention too much Gibraltar or topics such as football.

Also at work, things are great. I am part of an extraordinary team where we help each other anytime. Since the very first day they have always been supporting me and making sure I know what to do and how to do it. With the complexity of the projects we have undertaken in the WCS team (note: Warehouse Control Systems) and all the pressure of deadlines we always try to enjoy and work hard as well. I do really like the way we solve our challenges in times of pressure.

When not in the office, I try to travel all over the country: from London to Scotland I have tried to visit as many places as possible. London might be one of the most visited cities in the world but of course, there are more beautiful places to visit … not just cities. I love nature, and some sceneries in this country are unique. I dedicate a lot of my time to visiting the countryside, camping and making sure I tick against every single national park off my list.

Eventually, upon completing my internship, TGW offered me a permanent role in the UK as a member of the new WCS team for the next projects. That was a big decision for me to make as I never had the intention of staying there longer after my six month internship. However, not only the company itself but also the people working with me were key to turn the UK into my second home.

Looking back now, I have never regretted my move to the UK and I keep enjoying this country and its people. A lot of adventures and challenges at TGW are waiting for me but I am sure that we will succeed in everything we do.

PS: If you ever come to the UK, please, bring me some spare sun from your country!

Roberto Ribes

Graduate Software Developer