Have I made you curious? Let’s start by the moment that brought Amandine to this Southern Country in Europe in the first place.
Why Spain and Valencia
“I chose Spain, but Valencia chose me”. While she was struggling to find an internship in Belgium, she took the offer to go to Valencia and teach French.
Amandine has developed a passion for Spain. “I wanted to live in Spain. I did an Erasmus in Sevilla. I worked as an Au Pair in Tudela. Then, when I was looking for an internship my professor sent it to me. I was like Valencia, why not. I already knew the North and the South, so Valencia was something in between”, shares Amandine. “I fell in love with the culture, the places and the people. My mother always said that I was not going to end up in Belgium anyway.”
In the meantime she decided to finish her masters online so she could stay in Valencia. She chose to take the adventure. To explore what Valencia has. “It felt like an opportunity, because there is a lot here, in Valencia”.
In the end, this wasn’t the profession that she had in mind for herself. Amandine started a Translation study. Thanks to her studies she developed the talent to speak Spanish fluently.
“My mother always said that I was not going to end up in Belgium anyway.”
Journey to weWow
Amandine was teaching French to a lot of students at the university, as told earlier in the interview. However, she knew it was not for forever because it was an internship. “I was sad when it was almost over. I probably had to leave Spain because it’s very complicated to find a job here. I didn’t have a master's in teaching or anything. They ask you for some official tests when you want to be a teacher but I didn’t have them.”
One of the students sent her a link of Yobbers. She saw two vacancies for a job in Valencia and was immediately enthusiastic. One was for weWow and the other was for Yobbers self. She translated her CV from Spanish and French to English for the first time, and applied. “I got a really fast response from the request for an interview at weWow.”
Living in Valencia
What are the best parts of living in Valencia
“The fact that everything is cheap”, laughs Amandine. She continues. “I think it’s the sun.” In Valencia you have a lot of sun, in fact over three hundred days a year. Amandine herself doesn’t like the heat of the sun, but she loves the effect that it has on people. “Everyone is very happy, they’re always outside and always having drinks on the terrace.”
She experienced a lot of rain in the North and a lot of heat in the South of Spain. In Valencia you have a perfect mix in temperatures between those places.
“Valencia is also very multicultural”, is Amandine telling. “After my Erasmus in Sevilla, Valencia seems more cosmopolitan and open-minded.”
“In Seville you know everybody but it is more populated by Spanish people. Valencia is the first Erasmus city in Spain, maybe even in Europe. When I had to choose an Erasmus I saw four options for Valencia because they have a lot of universities here.”
When you rate the sizes of the city’s it is first Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and then Sevilla.
Valencia is Spanish, but if you don’t speak Spanish you can find enough people who are also not from Spain. “There are a lot of dutch people here as well. Everytime I see someone on the bike I think; Yes, Dutch”, jokes Amandine.
She’s saying that you have to be really enthusiastic, interested and motivated to really learn about Spanish people and culture. A lot of people stick to the other foreigners and then you don’t get to know Spanish people. “However, the eating schedule took me a lot of time to adjust to it. Normally I have dinner at 6 pm and now it is between 8 pm and 10 pm. But I love to do the Siesta.”
“Everytime I see someone on the bike I think; Yes, Dutch”
Things to do in your spare time
Apart from siestas, she has a lot of other things she likes to do in her spare time.
She loves to go to the beach. Not to lay in the sand, but to visit bars and have a drink. “I love Mercabañal for example. It’s an open market and you have different restaurants in the same place. You can go and pick some food in the different restaurants. This is the first thing that comes to my mind when I am free and I’m not feeling like cooking. I like to go and find new restaurants. Tapas, Pizza, Sushi, everything.”
“I also love to go to the cinema. I used to learn with English subtitles to Spanish movies, and sometimes the other way around.”
Amandine has Spanish friends who have a car or/and have second houses in other villages. It’s nice to sometimes use a car to explore the surroundings of Valencia.
“The thing I like in Valencia is that it has it all. Beach with a long coast, mountains, shopping centres etc. You can’t get tired of it. You also have good public transport connections to other cities around Valencia like Barcelona. I never get bored haha”, summarises Amandine.
Favorite spots in Valencia
There are a lot of spots in Valencia on Amandine's favorites list.
She really likes to visit Ciutat de Les Arts i Les Ciències on a Saturday afternoon or night when the sun is going down. “This place is full of colours. It’s really nice. We have a drink there outside on a small terrace”, says Amandine. After that, she likes to go to the park. It’s full of flowers, people and culture as well.
Another favorite place is La Plaza de la Virgen. It’s also one of the best places she has seen in Valencia, tells Amandine. It’s full of small bars. At the same time it looks a bit like Italy. It’s big, but small and safe at the same time. It’s next to some other nice places with monuments. “I love to go there to feel the vibe of Valencia and everything. But I also like to go to small streets and have another drink there haha!”
“I love the offer that Valencia has” is Amandine telling me. She loves to visit some of the many museums Valencia has. They are really cheap or even free sometimes. She used to visit a lot of different ones. You have for example one of Fallas, or a lot of temporary ones. There is also a Spanish theatre and Opera, where you can sometimes buy a ticket for ten euros!
“In Liège, where I came from, we don’t have a lot of things to do. At the same time, Valencia has so much that it makes it impossible to visit and fully explore everything that the city has.”
“You have everything in Valencia. You can’t get tired of it.”
When I asked Amandine how she knew about all these events, she gave me the following tips. “Online there are a lot of Valencia pages like Valencia Secreta. They notify you what the events are for the week in the city. I discovered a lot of good restaurants and I knew that on this specific week there was an Oktoberfest. It’s nice to have good tips on where to go and what to do.”
What does weWow mean to you?
“weWow recruits people that are looking to live abroad. They provide for very enthusiastic and motivated people, a very good job where you can grow with a very good atmosphere. weWow gives a nice opportunity to work as a customer service agent but in another way”, Amandine said.
It’s hard to leave everything behind. A lot of people come by themselves.
“It’s nice to know that the company is here for you also with this big step. For me it feels a bit like the Erasmus, but instead of drinking everyday you do it on friday night. The people are young, enthusiastic and alive. I felt that I belonged here for the first day”, adds Amandine.
What do you like most about working at weWow?
According to Amandine it is the fact that she can be herself. Her boyfriend for example, has to wear long pants, he can’t wear sneakers and has to wear polo’s to his work. “One day I put pink sneakers on to go to work here and my boyfriend was so surprised I could.”
She had the same at a previous job. Amandine remembered that she had to follow a dress code from the company as well.
“That made me feel really weird at the time. I’m okay that I can’t show the tattoos on my arms but telling me how to dress is not okay for me.”
“It’s really nice that I can be ‘me’ here.”
How does weWow help you with your professional development?
“Anytime when I have a suggestion, I can go to the management or the team lead. They listen and they take it with them in their decisions. It’s the best thing, being heard.”
Amandine shares that she’s interested in another function within weWow. She told Nikita, one of the Management members. Nikita arranged a meeting to discuss this with Amandine. She was really open and honest to Amandine telling that there is no open space in this function right now. When there is one they will make sure to inform her.
“It’s very transparent, which I really like. The way she handled this, gave me the feeling that I can do this. She could have just sent me a message but she didn't, which makes it very special.”
One day Amandine was annoyed by some little thing. Then the management called her for something else and she felt the opportunity to share this. “I feel 100% confident with Nikita. Also with Hayo and Ella, my team leads. I feel like I can say it. Even if it is just a small talk. It didn’t change my life. It’s very nice to have the feeling that you’ve been heard.”
Amandine really likes that within weWow the focus is on what went good instead of what went bad. In other companies where she has worked for, they were just focusing on what went bad and at the end of the day you feel super sad.
She studied languages and said that the impact of your way of saying things is huge. You can say the same thing in a positive or negative way.
Here it’s very nice according to Amandine. It can happen that you have a bad day or week. However she believes that she never had bad feedback. “Everyone is focusing on the good prestations. It’s the Wow effect.” They also help you improve with what can go better, if possible. Even when you make a mistake, they never make it personally. When you cause a problem, they will probably not let you know.
“In none of my previous jobs, I didn’t mind going to work again the Sunday night before Monday. I’m happy to come to work now.”
How would you describe the atmosphere within weWow?
“It’s very chill, friendly and open minded. You can talk about everything. If it’s work related or not, there’s always someone who is listening. We all come from different countries with different studies. You have so many people with different experiences. I love to talk and share my own experiences. For me it’s the best way to learn things.”
Amandine tells about a beautiful thing her mother used to say to her. “My mother used to say, if you didn’t learn one thing today then your day is ruined. When I go to bed, I try to think about something I’ve learned today. It can also be a small thing.”
The people here are also very open-minded. According to Amandine, you have to be when you emigrate to another country. “Everyone here is very polite, very educated and very available to everyone. Everybody has a strong bond together.”
“It’s really nice that I can be myself here”
What are your best memories with your team?
Everyday is a good memory for Amandine. It doesn’t have to be that big. “Like today I laughed so hard with my colleagues that I started crying. These moments are the best for me.” It doesn’t have to be a party or some activity.
For Amandine, it’s a compilation of jokes and laughing that are the best memories everyday.
Amandine closes with, “I never worked from home, but I think I can’t. I can because of my pyjamas but I will miss all the people. I’m so happy to enjoy the little things together. I could not miss that for my pyjamas. In my other jobs I would definitely choose to work from home, but here I really don’t want to.”