Adapting into a new culture and country
John Paul Opay moved to Sweden from the Philippines and works as a hardware design engineer at AFRY with an ongoing assignment at Direct Conversion. A healthy work-life balance and the colleagues' willingness to support was very helpful in adapting to the challenge of working in a completely new country.
Tell us a little about your background
I worked as an electrical design engineer for 4 years and promoted as HW Team Lead for 10 years at NCR Cebu Development Center Inc in the Philippines.
Why did you move to Sweden and start working at AFRY?
In early 2021, my daughter seriously announced to me and my wife that she would like to become an architect. That urged me to find a good country with a better environment and lots of opportunities for her.
During the summer, I contacted one of my friends who works at AFRY and asked if there were any vacancies in Sweden. I was recommended to my current section manager, Kristin Audell. Fortunately, I was accepted and arrived to Sweden in November and started my first day at AFRY, November 22.
Also, Sweden felt like a good country, with a better environment for our family. My job at AFRY was our way of restarting our lives, and it contributed to a lot of new opportunities.
"Sweden felt like a good country, with a better environment for our family. My job at AFRY was our way of restarting our lives, and it contributed to a lot of new opportunities!"
What is it like to come and work in Sweden?
It was a great adventure for me. Totall y different culture for what I am used to in the Philippines. People in Sweden are well mannered. There is always a park and mini forest everywhere that helps you to feel relaxed and enjoy nature.
In what way have colleagues helped with the adaptation to your new life?
I would say all the team players willing to help. The "AFRY buddy system" was a huge help in getting me up to speed in integrating myself into the AFRY family. The purpose of the concept is to help and introduce new employees with the onboarding. It really made me understand AFRY's way and culture.
“The AFRY buddy system” was a huge help in getting me up to speed in integrating into the AFRY family”
Interested in being part of AFRY?
What are the biggest differences of working in another country?
I would say trust. Based on experience from my home country, sometimes management would require additional information about why you need to buy a certain tool, equipment or some spend on training. In Sweden our manager trusts me when I need support either in tools or training, and it will be provided as soon as possible without further questions.
Another difference I would say is the weather. Since I come from a country where 24 ﹾ C is already considered as cold weather, it is a challenge to adapt to the weather in Sweden.
How would you describe the company culture at AFRY?
AFRY values and notices your technical experiences and gives you full support to further develop yourself.
What is the best part of working at AFRY?
AFRY promotes work-life balance that makes you more productive and motivated to grow professionally.