Glocal Guide – Your relocation partner
How many of you have ever relocated to another country? How many of you have moved away from the comfort of your home country, into another one where you didn’t speak the language, didn’t know anyone or anything? We’re guessing there’s quite a few who have done this and succeeded with no troubles. Why is that, you’ll wonder?
Well, it is because relocation can be as tough as nails. If anyone tells you differently, I’m sorry to say they are gravely mistaken. For that very same reason, we have come up with this idea of a platform for expats – Glocal Guide.
How did we come up with this idea?
It’s my honest opinion that the most brilliant ideas are born either out of boredom or necessity. For us, it’s the latter. All of us have had at least a couple of relocations throughout our lives, so we’ve gotten pretty decent at this – or at least that’s what our friends say. Therefore, like most millennials turned entrepreneurs, we’ve identified a problem and combined our experience and knowledge to come up with a solution for a targeted group of people.
The problem that needs fixing: scattered access to information for people who just moved to a different country.
The solution: a platform that aims to gather all the information, services and support needed in one place, in order to avoid the stress and frustration that comes with relocating to a new country.
Our vision is to create a glocal world, a world where integration and relocation into a new country and culture come with no troubles at all.
Now, you might have noticed a certain plural form when reading- this ‘we’ that keeps popping up. But who are we? What do we do and why have we started this initiative?
You’ve met me a couple of articles ago. However, for first-time readers, me in a nutshell: left the corporate environment after 3 years and relocated to Porto, Portugal to pursue entrepreneurship. It’s been a hectic, but memorable 4 months. Before Porto happened, I also lived for 6 months in Nantes, France, back in 2014. Thus the experience with relocation. If during my first stay abroad I was somehow protected by the higher education environment, now, in Porto, I was all on my own.
‘I moved to Porto with no accommodation and with people telling me how nuts that was.’
Was it a crazy, nerve-wracking, potentially-sleeping-under-a-bridge type of decision? Yes. Would I do it again? Definitely yes! Why? Well, I’ve discovered this year that staying in the same place for too long pushes me into a comfort zone I don’t like or even desire. Relocation has become a need for me, it drives me to get past my limits, to learn and grow, to meet new people and to become better and better every time. I don’t think I’ve found my place in the world, I don’t think I will very soon either, but I do know that when I stop trying I’m doomed!
You might already know she lived for a year in Porto. But did you know she was also an Erasmus student a few years back, in Elche, Spain? Miruna believes the idea of relocating somewhere new might sound like a dream come true for most people. During both her relocations she chose a place next to the water – ocean, sea, anything warm and sunny. However, life is not just about the beautiful sceneries and movie-like beaches.
‘For me, life after relocation meant I can find joy in the simplest of things: understanding the neighbour next door when he greets me, having a nice conversation at the supermarket, ordering coffee at my favourite place down the street.’
Nonetheless, all these things come after a while, after you’ve up and left the comfort of your life, country and culture and moved into another. She says it’s difficult at first, with no help, to take care of the logistical matters, finding an apartment, transportation, local shops, hairdressers, doctors, etc. Let’s admit it, all these things matter and you realise how important they are, only when you need them most. For Miruna it’s fascinating how in just a matter of weeks you need to set up a life for yourself in a place you know nothing about. This is what determined her to start this project and bring us on board – she knows what are the needs of an expat since she was one herself. Twice!
Andreea is the most travelled of us all. And she’s lived till now in no less than 2 different continents, with a 3rd coming in February, and 4 different countries. The cities she’s lived in are: Birmingham, Alberta, Jyväskylä and Valencia. She’ll be moving to Chile in a couple of months, for the next half a year. We’re just hoping we can go and visit.
She’s lived in so many different places due to her studies and internships over the past years. However, she had a hard time in every beginning. Andreea confessed that after a while, relocating becomes a necessity. She packs her bags and moves somewhere else because she likes it and because it’s a chance for her to know herself better and take on a new challenge. Andreea confessed she’s had quite the hilarious experiences in Finland.
‘I was shocked to discover at the beginning of my stay there, that a trip to the supermarket for the most basic products would turn into a 2h adventure. It’s funny now, when I look back on it. It wasn’t then though.’
She recommends everyone to relocate at least once in their lifetime. Not to escape Romania and go to a better country, but because of the experience. It is a life lesson that changes you fundamentally, it helps you grown personally, know other people and cultures and let go of all your prejudices.
Now that we’ve cleared out who we are, you can imagine we’ve gone through quite the number of troubles when relocating. We believe this shouldn’t happen in general, thus the decision to go on with this initiative and develop this platform for expats. But you’re probably wondering: what are these girls doing now?
We’ve signed up to Google’s Digital Garage for Programmers mentorship programme. We all believe in the power of mentorship and in getting a fresh and objective perspective on our work and ideas. So far, this has helped our progress tremendously. We’ve found out mountains of useful information from the 4 meetings we’ve had so far with George Pruteanu, Ana-Maria Udriste, Tudor Stanciu and Cristian Bărcan.
How does the future look like?
That’s indeed a good question. The future is surely bright. In January we’re planning to have the alfa version of the platform – either web-based or an app. We will also have our first talks with potential partners and we will for sure sign up to other competitions and mentorship programmes, not necessarily to win (even though it would be nice) but to get feedback and better our idea. February, we hope will come with the attendance to a boot camp organised by Google.
We’re aware that it won’t all be a walk in the park. Looking back to when we first started thinking about this, back in August, we’ve changed so much and improved, it’s unbelievable. And we’re sure this concept is far from reaching its final form. Someone once told me that entrepreneurship is not about the idea itself, but about trials. Thus our plan is to try, fail, try again and start it all over from the top, until we shape our idea into the expat-helping platform that it’s meant to be.