Rija E.R., an IT Architect from Madagascar, has moved to France to work for a French company. Here is his story.

Graduated in 1998 from the Ecole Nationale d’Informatique (ENI) of Fianarantsoa in Madagascar, Rija E.R. started his career as a computer consultant in a local consulting firm. In September 2017, he decided to leave Madagascar to take a job in France, a long-term contract with INEAT Group in Villeneuve d’Ascq.

(read the first part of the interview)

  • How was your relocation to France?

Thanks to the recruitment agency, the logistical issues regarding my move were easier. I had pay slips, so I was able to sign a lease for my accommodation, open a bank account as well have a mobile phone and an internet connection.

I still haven’t quite found my bearings regarding everyday life, nice places to eat, where to shop but my accommodation is well located, close to everything and the metro is a 2-minute walk. It is convenient.

  • Did anything surprise you when you arrived?

I was not really surprised. I knew what to expect as I had already been to France, even if it was for different reasons.

I also bumped into one of my former colleagues from Madagascar, who had also moved to France to work. Today, we live together in the same flat and share our experiences. Our neighbours are also from Madagascar, it’s a coincidence but because of this, I am not too disoriented and I feel less alone!

  • What are the differences with your own country?

The pace of life is very different from Madagascar. Here, daily life is a routine: commute, work, sleep! I know now what it’s like to be on the tube during rush hour, I didn’t expect it to be so crowded and busy!

And in France everything is more regimented, especially regarding leisure. I play tennis and I used to go and play when I felt like it in Madagascar. In France, you must join a club, book a court, pay a subscription, etc. I have just understood the subscription system (sport, telephone, transport, etc.), which reduces overall cost compared to normal prices.

I’ve just arrived, I still need to acclimatize and need advice!

  • How was your first day at INEAT Group?

I went to the INEAT Group Day thinking it was an integration day for new staff. It was in fact a meeting to present the group’s future strategy. The day was enjoyable, there were sporting events and a dance in the evening.

As for my first real day at work, I was given a warm welcome. I went around the premises to meet my colleagues, I received a welcome booklet and my main tool: a computer.

  • How has your job been so far?

I was assigned to a new project. We are still in the anticipation phase and I have not yet had the opportunity to do any coding. The tools are at the cutting edge of technology, they automatically generate codes. There are disadvantages, you don’t necessarily have full control as you don’t know how it was generated. But there are also advantages, there are fewer errors and the time saving is considerable. It’s different from what I am used to but the job seems promising and rewarding.

In Tana, everything was done manually. I was required to work on several projects and in different fields, I was totally versatile but not necessarily a specialist.

  • Does this experience meet your expectations? 

Overall, it is what I expected. Things are beginning slowly, I look forward to seeing how the project will evolve. I am looking forward to getting to grips with the subject and experiencing the daily stress of a developer.

I am supervised by a project manager and a technical expert, I have already received a list of documents to study, I will also have to do some research on new technology, it’s very rewarding. I also know that I can talk to my superiors when there is a problem, there is a clearly defined mentoring system that reassures me.

I was looking for a well-structured company in which I could evolve and with prospects for advancement. I think I’ve found it.

  • What would you say to someone wanting to go through the same experience?

A global mobility project requires commitment from the candidate but also from the employer, it is necessary to prepare, to be certain of the objective and to fully committed to it. Transparency regarding your skills and what you are looking for is essential to avoid any unpleasant surprises.

Working and living abroad is an attractive idea and many people want to do it. However, it requires sacrifices that must be understood. Living far from your friends and family is difficult and the family reunification process takes time. In some instances, you leave behind a comfortable lifestyle and a pleasant day to day life.

I was fortunate to be accompanied in this process and receive valuable advice. It’s therefore important to choose a trusted organisation that can support you in such a life-changing project.