A recent United Nations report shows that 3.4 million Romanians are working or living abroad, together with their families. This means that during the past 25 years, the country has lost about 17% of its population to migration.

However, not all Romanians that go abroad stay there for good. Some of them cannot get used to living in a foreign country, while others simply miss home. Therefore, every year, many emigrants come back to Romania and decide to stay at home. Manager Express talked to three of these people about their life abroad and the reasons behind their decisions.

Andreea Popa (25) lived in Germany for three years when she was a computing student at Jacobs University of Bremen and then a software engineer intern in Munich. She then moved to Ireland, Dublin, where she lived for three more years. During this time, she worked as a software engineer at Microsoft’s Irish headquarters . At the moment, she is a member of the EXE Software team as a full stack developer.

Catalin Adam (29) lived in Sweden, Stockholm, for over four years. While he was there, he had several positions within Electrolux: Marketing technology – Project/Program Manager, Business Analyst and Digital Experience Specialist. He is now working for EXE Software and claims that in the beginning, he was impressed by his now colleagues’ and managers’ behavior and their way of thinking.

Ionut Soare (36) lived for more than nine years in the United States of America. Between 2006 and 2014, he lived in Chicago, Illinois, and worked in several domains. In the US he started his career in the financial sector at Discover Financial Services as a business analyst. After a while, he became a programmer with the same company. Since 2014, when he came back to Romania, he has had two jobs, the latter being at EXE Software. He has been there for almost two years and is still captivated by the projects and technologies used by the company.

Why did you come back to Romania?

Andreea: I came back at the end of last summer when I decided I needed a change. This was because while I was away, I always kept in touch with my friends and most of them are working in the IT sector. Exchanging information and learning more and more, I got very curious about the working environment in my home country, and since I had left immediately after finishing high school, I did not get the chance to work in Romania. Of course, the personal factor had a lot to do with my decision, because I wanted to be closer to my family and friends.

Catalin: My decision to come back came after a very intense professional experience that made me re-evaluate my personal time. I needed a change in my life and a different experience from the corporate environment where I lived before. I was thinking about being part of a smaller company, faster, and more flexible. I also felt the cultural gap between Romania and Sweden, so this made me take my time. My challenge in coming back to Romania was seeing if I could do things differently after such a different experience.

Ionut: My decision to come back was due to many reasons, among which personal ones were the strongest.

How was life abroad in the country where you used to live?

Andreea: I was feeling very welcomed and appreciated in both Ireland and Germany. At work, I was lucky to have diligent yet funny colleagues and personally, I mostly met people without misconceptions who were very interested in finding out what was happening in Romania.

Catalin: For me, Sweden was quite different in the beginning, and it took me almost a year to understand their culture and social environment – less open compared to Romania. At the same time, there, all things seemed to be more logical. Besides that, Swedish people are very polite and tolerant, and this was a huge plus during my first months there. There were many differences I had to keep up with, especially in the corporate sector. The Swedish are more collaborative, and when it comes to business, they only make decisions as a group.

Ionut: There are, of course, many differences between the US and Romania. At work, however, I got used to their habits really fast, because people were very open. America is a country where people of various nationalities work, so they are quite open-minded in this sense. Moreover, they have a good opinion about programmers from East European countries.

Brief comparison of professional standards

Andreea: Personally, I believe professional standards vary from one company to another and are not related to a country in particular. At my previous workplace, Microsoft Ireland, I can say I discovered very high standards and, as a programmer, I could appreciate and learn from them because they were making my job easier. However, from my interaction with Romanian companies, after I came back, I think here the standards are also very high, especially in software. What is indeed different is the way these standards are imposed on employees. In my opinion, people here are not used to following procedures naturally, and they should be constantly reminded of them.

Catalin: Romanian people are more hardworking then Swedish when it comes to making an effort. One Romanian can actually do the work of two Swedish people. At the same time, I do not think a Romanian team can deliver what a Swedish team can. Their collaborative way of working is incredible, and it is based on a high level of respect, both professionally and personally. I hope we can get there sometime soon. In Sweden, the balance between personal and professional life is essential, and this can be seen even in the smallest details. For example, no one would work over time, as they do not need to hide away and find refuge in work. In terms of results, they are perfectionists who prefer to think long term, in a sustainable manner.

Ionut: At work, there were clear procedures already established for each department, and this is something that I can also notice in Romania. I would say standards are similar, especially comparing two software companies. Here at EXE Software we work with international companies, so we keep the same standards and well-established procedures.

Read the original article here.