He moved to the Netherlands with his partner Claudia to start a new life. “I moved because I wanted a change of scenery, also because I got a job and was happy working with the people who wanted me to join them.”
Diego is a proud Peruvian and has this to say about his culture:
“Every time there is a conversation the food subject always pops up. We are really proud of our cuisine, and it’s not just something Peruvians "do good" but it’s part of everyday life, culturally. You can be in any situation and we will just mention a traditional dish or something we ate or what we will eat, and there is this sense of empathetic response because we have all tasted the amazing flavours and spices of what’s being mentioned. Superlatives of every kind are included in these remarks; and as it’s mostly "agreeing", it lightens up the original topics in discussion.”
Consequently, the biggest thing he misses about home apart from friends and family is the food. He has not been able to find a restaurant in Amsterdam which compares to the flavours of the local restaurants back home!
The first Settly Relocation
Diego is the Lead Developer of the Settly platform and when he relocated the platform had not even come into fruition yet, although the services we offer were still in place. We like to think of Diego as the first Settly user...even though he is responsible for building the platform from the ground up!
“I got loads of help with my own relocation, which could technically make me the first user to get relocated (even if the platform wasn’t in place at the time). You can call me the original Settler.”
’I didn’t find the move especially stressful as the Dutch embassy was only 2 blocks away from my house which made attending appointments very easy and it helped that I speak English!”
“I find that the Dutch are very efficient with everything from visa applications to taxes. Coming from a country where these types of things are done a bit slower and with a little more bureaucracy this came as a breath of fresh air.”
Once he and Claudia had touched down in the Netherlands it was full systems go from the start. The next day after landing in Schipol, Diego was in the office starting his work! No rest for the wicked as they say. They did manage to spend their first weekend checking out the Royal Concertgebouw and exploring a bit of the city (in between hunting for apartments!).
“I started programming when I was a kid, although I don’t remember much from that time, my mother has videos of me as a 3-year-old opening up windows from DOS and entering various commands. I think the big attraction was probably the Mickey Mouse games on the computer, but you could say I was drawn to computers from a young age. My parents encouraged me to explore my passions and when I was 5 they enrolled me into an HTML course (not that I remember it haha!). Around 10-11 I got some books about Visual Basic as I was really into video games and then started really getting into computer programming in my college years. I think experience is what helps people develop their skills and my first job was for a marketing company helping to create websites for brands. I think I learnt 99% of what I do and use in my everyday life from that experience along with sharing ideas and knowledge with other developers. The developer community is great, everyone is so open to come together to share and learn from each other!”
On the topic of his work at Settly:
“I’m most proud of my work at Settly and no, it’s not just because I work here! I had the opportunity to see it grow from just the idea of a personalised chat to help expats relocate which has now blossomed into a full relocation platform with events, articles and its so great to see how many people are using it to relocate. Its a massive achievement and I am super proud of the team to get us to this point.”
Meet Diego’s Amsterdam
Diego and his partner Claudia exploring Amsterdam
Top tips for newcomers
Get stuck in straight away - “I think this goes without saying, but being receptive to Dutch culture is so important! Ask lots of questions and get involved! The Dutch are lovely people and proud of their culture so nothing makes you feel more part of the community than starting to make friends!”
Leer Dutch - “I’m sure many people would recommend this, but languages are so important. The Dutch speak great English, but they really appreciate someone trying to speak their language as it shows respect for their country and culture!”
Recommended places to go
- Westerpark - “In my opinion, it is not a park, but a forest! In Lima, we have very small parks and when I first arrived I was blown away with this particular park! So much nature in one place, I recommend checking it out! It’s a great way to disconnect from the city, you step into the park and it feels like another world.”
- Check out Museumplein - “the museums are beautiful and it’s a nice part of the city. You can even walk to the Vondelpark from there and make a day of walking around the area.”
Hobbies he has kept up with
Board Games - Diego is a lover of board games and his favourite game is Twilight Imperium! This particular game focuses on you building a galactic civilization so conquering is part of the dynamic, but at the same time, you have to consider developing economics, politics and technologies. It’s about building an empire to conquer the stars!
Video Games - To accompany his passion for board games Diego is also a lover of video games. Diego has a particular love for games which are story-driven and his favourites are Half-Life, Alan Wake and Death Stranding.
Closing remark from Diego
“For me, the biggest asset that one can have is peace. Being comfortable with where you are, the commodity of having silence, so I feel very calm in the Netherlands. From where I come from this is a very precious asset, and that’s how I feel here so I hope our users do too!”