Joseph Zamora is from the Philippines and works as Senior Project Manager for Finance Systems & Projects. He moved from Düsseldorf to join us in Berlin and has been a Scout since October 2020. In this interview, he took time to talk to us about the challenges of relocation, the languages he speaks and the differences between his home country and Germany.
1.Where are you originally from and what is your job at Scout24?
Joseph: I am from Negros Oriental, Philippines and I work as a Senior Project Manager in the Financial Systems & Project team.
2. What has been the biggest challenge moving to and working in a new country such as Germany?
Joseph: The language especially when you are dealing with the government offices. Google Translate has become my best friend. And also on casual conversations, it has become tricky to read sarcasm. But may I add that the biggest challenge in moving here in Berlin specifically is finding an apartment. I am currently living in a co-living space — the hipster version of a shared apartment. It is basically a fully-furnished and fully-serviced apartment with very artsy common areas and regular social events. Some even have an attached co-working space into it. I do recommend this kind of living arrangement with the new comers. It is definitely not for everyone, but it is a very effective way of having enough time to get oriented into the city without having to deal immediately with all the requirements of getting a normal flat. And definitely the best way to built up your social circle in your new city.
3. How does your individual background influence your work at Scout24 and with your team?
Joseph: Firstly, my teammates now get to practice their English more often since I am the only one who can’t speak “Deutsch.” Sometimes if I need to get an optimised result in a discussion, I had to step back and give the group the liberty to continue on in the language they are most comfortable with. But this is not new to me. Even when I was still handling projects in Asia, this kind of compromise is necessary if you need to get a better result.
Secondly, I came from a rigid corporate culture background and having spent several years in consulting, I still sometimes find my self approaching work in a consultant-client mindset. That means having a saviour complex tasked to save a drowning client; that means constantly looking at pain points and if it is not in best practice, it has to change; cost savings is seen as the be-all and end-all, FTE monitoring is merciless. After 4 months here with Scout24, it is very apparent to me that the company has a very strong sense of identity and high value is placed on people’s well-being and on old practices that work. And needless to say, the company is neither drowning nor a client. This transition is a much-welcomed challenge.
But on a lighter note, with my non-stop blabbering about Berlin (I am kind of obsessed with the city) during our virtual team coffee chats, I am getting an impression that our team in Munich is now very familiar with Friedrichshain versus Spandau, Berghain and on why you should not move to Prenzlauer Berg.
4. How many languages do you speak?
Joseph: At home, we speak Cebuano. At work back in the Philippines, it was mainly English. But with friends, we speak Tag-lish (a combination of Tagalog and English) and Cebuano. And I do speak a little bit of Spanish after having spent almost a year backpacking in Latin America. My German is still A1.1 so I don’t know if that counts.
5. What is the biggest cultural difference between your home country and Germany?
Joseph: The Philippines in general is ‘louder’. Conversations with my Filipino friends always sound almost like a yelling tournament. Our cities are very noisy. We burst when we laugh. We howl when we cry. Our food is either very savoury or very sweet. And we belt out every time we are in front of a karaoke machine. Probably the only times that Germany is ‘louder’ are during football games and carnival.
6. Do you miss anything here that you had in your home country?
Joseph: The beach which is 10 minutes walk away, the ripe Philippine mangos, the taste of a freshly harvested banana, and a 5-euro fancy haircut with back massage.
If you’re interested in moving to Germany to work at Scout24, check out the latest job opportunities on our website.