The journey undertaken by Alvaro in early 2020 was very long. His starting point, his hometown, Seville, the city of Real Alcazar, one of the most spectacular monumental complexes in the world, a cheerful, colorful and sparkling city that lives in the streets and in the great open spaces such as the huge Plaza de España, the Mara Luisa Park or the innovative Metropol Parasol. At the end of his journey the beautiful Holland, its tulips, the flat areas and canals to travel on two wheels; a jovial and culture-rich country with its small jewel cities, The Hague, Rotterdam, Maastricht, Frisia, Ultrecht, Eindhoven, Delft, chests to discover on the trail of great men, artists and philosophers.
But what prompted this 26-year-old Spaniard to embark on this journey to Europe? We asked him directly, contacting him during a work break, a few days ago: “… this is my first work experience abroad; what drove me was curiosity. Curiosity has determined the choices of my life and I have always wanted to know a new country and above all to learn a new language.”
Álvaro works as an auxiliary nurse at a seniors’ residence in the Netherlands and, as he told us, his professional history began in 2015: “… I first moved to Madrid to take a three-year course of mid-level specialization and this was definitely the first step to take an even longer one; soon after, in 2018 I started a two year higher education course in the health field, but at the end of the first year I felt the need to look for job opportunities, also because in my home region at that time there were not many possibilities”.
As Álvaro told us, everything happened quickly: “… I signed up for a job portal and answered to the announcement of a Dutch company that was recruiting auxiliary nurses and other paramedics for clinics and nursing homes. It seemed to me immediately an interesting opportunity, I could not tell you whether it was due to a deficit of positions in the destination country or rather the fact that Spaniards nurses, auxiliaries or doctors, are well considered in the health field, not only in the Netherlands but also in other European countries such as Germany or Norway”.
The adventure of Álvaro in the Netherlands has passed through well-defined stages: “… immediately after answering to the online announcement I was invited to an in-person interview and then to a second skype interview; then, after taking a basic Dutch language course, I flew to Amsterdam to start my work.”
Álvaro told us that at the beginning he did not know in depth the Your first EURES job project but, talking to friends and colleagues and visiting the website, he realized the many services and benefits provided by the project. In particular, he told us “after finding an apartment to live in, the possibility of relying on a ‘relocation grant’ was the first and fundamental concrete help that I received a few weeks after my arrival in Holland. When you move there are so many travel and stay expenses: I think it is important to receive these financial contributions for the moving abroad of the candidates”.
YfEj project, in fact, offers several services to young people: these include reimbursement of travel expenses for the interview, language training and transfer allowance which has also been used by Álvaro. Thanks to this “benefit” you are entitled to receive an allowance (on a lump-right basis) to support young European mobile workers to meet some travel and accommodation costs related to their transfer to another country. The amount is predetermined and varies depending on the destination country. For more information about this benefit, see this page .
“Here in the Netherlands,” Álvaro told us, “I feel very good. I work as an auxiliary nurse at a health facility for the elderly, I take care of the accompaniment of the walking elderly with difficulties, I collaborate with the nursing staff and I participate in the planning of care interventions for the patient. As a matter of fact, I am the ‘right arm’ of nurses. During the health emergency it was hard for everyone, here, in the health field we obviously worked a lot but we were able to handle all the situations very well. Professionally I am very happy and I can say that I have not perceived many differences with respect to my previous work experiences in Spain; rather, here, from an organizational point of view, the relationship with the upper hierarchical line is rather ‘horizontal’, in a sense, less hierarchical”.
He doesn’t know how long he’s going to stay in Holland, one, two or three years or forever. He did not make any short-term plans because, as we said, in the country of tulips, he is well placed, but Álvaro confided to us that he feels the lack of family and friends and, above all, the limits imposed by the language, a language, according to him, very complicated and that at the beginning of his experience could become an obstacle in creating new relationships, but that has not so far represented for him an impassable limit allowing him to be appreciated, through his commitment and seriousness, by his employers.
The work of Álvaro is organized by turnovers, allowing him to devote free time to his favorite activities: “Holland is a place that allows me to stay in contact with nature, every morning I go to work by bike thanks to one of the many bike paths that cross the whole country from south to north and as soon as I have time I dedicate myself to roller skating, one of my great passions together with crossfit. I would like to say to all young people who are thinking of having a mobility experience in Europe, to look every day for new opportunities through projects such as Your first EURES job and, above all, not to be afraid. Of course it’s normal to be afraid and I understand that. But make sure that this fear never prevails over your decision to leave your country. The fear of thinking too much about how it will go, how it will be, how they will treat you, whether or not you will be able to speak a new language … what I have really discovered thanks to this mobility experience is that only overcoming this initial fear you take the chance to learn new things not only professionally but above all personally”.