Davide Erbogasto: Overseas Studies and a Gap Year with Purpose
Our special guest on The Moving Roadmap podcast, powered by Avvinue, is Davide Erbogasto. Davide is an Italian living in England after spending some time in Scotland and, earlier, in Germany. Davide has picked up bits of cultures in each country, and considers himself as a Britalian.
Transcripts are automatically generated and may not be an 100% accurate transcription.
Nicole (Host): Wow. Welcome to the moving roadmap podcast powered by Avvinue. My name is Nicole, and I'll be your host for the show. In this episode, we're excited to introduce our guests. Davide Erbogasto, who is an Italian living in England after having spent some time in Scotland. And earlier in Germany, he has picked bits of cultures in each country.
We're excited to hear his story. Welcome to the show Davide.
Davide Erbogasto : Thank you very much for having me.
Nicole (Host): Amazing. So you've lived in a few countries already. and you shared a ok you're Italian. Where in Italy are you from?
Davide Erbogasto : I'm not sure from Barona in the North of Italy. So, people probably know it by, from, Roman Juliet by Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet.
Nicole (Host): Love it. very nice. And now you're living in England.
Davide Erbogasto : Yeah, so, I'm actually based in Manchester in the North of England. So I've been living here for the past two years.
Nicole (Host): Beautiful. And tell me, since you've moved around in different countries, when did you want to move abroad or when inspired you to move abroad?
Davide Erbogasto : Well, I think as far as I remember, I always wanted to live abroad. Well, maybe not as far as I remember when I was a teenager and I think in school. My teacher was talking about brain drain. And although I'm not technically a brain drain, I'm not the brain, but this is so interesting to hear about all these people moving around, sort of for work.
And I sat there thinking, well, living abroad is a possibility if you have, the skills, if you want to. and I've always been a little bit of an Ester file. So, I live in Europe and I love Europe in general, like the idea of a European union. And I've always thought that. Living abroad within Europe doesn't mean actually living abroad, but living in another corner of the same continent off pretty much the same overall country.
So for me, moving was not really moving to just, you know, moving a few kilometers eventually. Yeah. So I've always been attracted to living abroad.
Nicole (Host): Love it, and great to even hear how learning as a teenager you saw probably from history and just seeing people move people migrated to different countries to work and seeing that as, you know, what I can move to.
I love that.
Davide Erbogasto : To be fair. It's funny that you mentioned this because my, both my grandparents moved, moved to Switzerland, for a job in the sixties. So we're talking about a different kind of migration because, you know, they had no qualification or anything, but, I'm basically nicking back to Italy, but I'm basically a grandchild of migrants in a way.
Nicole (Host): Yeah, it's nice to see it trickles in the family too. I'm sure you've heard stories from your grandparents right? When they went to Switzerland. Yeah. You know, I come from a family that migrated from Dominican Republic to the United States and now moving to France. It's like, Oh, we can relate to certain stories.
Like was how did you move? What was it like for you in the nineties? And so things like that. So probably a nice connection there.
Davide Erbogasto : Yeah, you share stories, share experience. Of course it is completely different. Even 20 years makes a big difference in terms of migration, because we've got more tools nowadays.
We know what to expect while they didn't, but, yeah. It's absolutely fascinating to connect over these experiences.
Nicole (Host): Yeah, absolutely. So tell us a little bit about the steps you took in order to prepare for your move. So it seems like the first movie you went to was Germany. Is that correct?
Davide Erbogasto : Yeah, that's right.
So first of all, my move was that it would be easier because I spent six months on a erasmus program. So, Judy university, I took six months to study abroad in Germany. So. I had the time to learn the language and to understand how the culture and the local system works. As soon as I came back and I got my master's degree, I decided to move back to Germany.
I sort of took a gap year. So, organizing my move was kind of easier because I knew the language and, I knew what to, what was going to happen pretty much, although it is completely different because I was not studying anymore, so I didn't have all the help and support the students have.
So I was not landing on assistance. Basically. I was on my own.
Nicole (Host): Yeah, absolutely. So you took a gap year. I'm curious to learn more about the gap year. What did you do during your gap year? You know, in some parts of the world, like the United States, people don't really think about a gap year. so it's interesting.
Tell us what you did during the gap year.
Davide Erbogasto : It's something instead of to be mad to be doing before. I mean, if you do it before a university, I think it's quite a great experience to learn and to see the world and everything, after university. Just wanted to see what I hadn't seen before, basically before deciding what to do with my life.
So, yeah, so I took a gap yearI was just doing, small groups basically in Germany and I met the people. I learned the language and I, yeah, I spent a year thinking about what to do next and that helped me prepare the second move, which was from Germany to Scotland. So every time the move was quite, sort of almost an impulse because I decided to move and I just left.
So Germany, when I moved to Germany, I spent, I think, two months preparing, which is. Not long if you think about it, because I had just finished my master's, so I barely time to think about everything. and then, yeah, I just, I just left basically, so I didn't prepare that much. And to be fair, looking back, I regret it, but, same with Scotland.
So I decided to. Take my next step and to do a PhD in Scotland and I just left Germany basically. So, I just had my bag and I packed. I always move very lightly. So I don't have tons and tons of things. So, on the organizational program, how to pack my few stuff, it to the new address, basically.
Nicole (Host): Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, packing lightly is what a lot of expats say? When you're able to. Get rid of things, excuse me. And you're able to get rid of things and quickly move, much easier. And even how you were saying, like you moved at an impulse, so it's kind of like, alright, you know, you're ready to move.
You don't have to worry about so many extra things with you. So it seems like a good way to, to move around if you're planning to move every few years.
Davide Erbogasto : Yeah, to be fair for me moving every time was almost like starting from scratch. And, every move was a part of a different stage of my life. So, bringing in very little things with me was part of it.
So trying to build again, we brought up would find the new country for me.
Nicole (Host): I love that. it's. Yeah, like you said, like moving to a different stage in your life. That's pretty nice. to be able to do that, it's like you get to wrap up one thing and now you're ready to enter the next stage for sure.
Davide Erbogasto : Yeah.
Nicole (Host): Okay. So what were some challenging aspects you encountered during your relocation? Cause I know you had, it seems like a lot of things were impulse two months move and you were also, like you said, entering into university and continuing your education with your PhD. So what were some challenging aspects that you experienced?
Davide Erbogasto : So, the first time I moved to Germany, the most challenging thing was finding accommodation. because when you're a student, pretty much, you can find the accommodation in a student hall. you can find cheaper flights, but when you're a worker, that's not possible. And I was not ready for the flat market.
Neither is Scotland in nor in Germany. So both times I spent longer than I expected looking for a flat, and that was quite devastating because you know, you're moving around and you have so many things on your mind, and on top of that, you don't have a roof on top of your head. So it describes the hardest thing I would say.
And then both countries, both times it was winter time. So it was not
Nicole (Host): Oh, wow.
Davide Erbogasto : You know, it's not the time when people move around. So there were not many lots available anyway. So it was really like a pain looking for an accommodation.
Nicole (Host): What did you do, while you were looking for an accommodation, were you able to get something temporary?
Did you book something before you left? What did you do for that?
Davide Erbogasto : Yeah. So once the first time, I was depending on the students. So honestly I moved on like on a super short budget. It was a very small budget. I, so I just booked. Basically I couch surfed. So I asked some people to host me for a while and it worked out well actually, because while it was staying with them and because it's couch surfing.
So they were sort of looking after me. I could spend some time looking for flats without thinking, Oh my goodness, I'm going to, you know, spend all my money on hostels or hotels or whatever. The second time. I was lucky because I was transitioning from a student flat into a private accommodation.
So I had some overlap, but, that time as well, I had friends who hooked me up.
Nicole (Host): Yeah, it's definitely different, right? When you have connections and when you know people and you're transitioning versus, okay, you're uprooting completely from one country without knowing anyone else in the other country and trying to figure out that.
So. Glad you were able to take advantage of the couch, surfing community. I've also used it before years ago. and it's a great way to, to connect with people and even learn more from locals.
Davide Erbogasto : So, Oh yeah. I think it was great for, small new information or like, even just basic things like waiting to get food, where's the post office for documents, whereas the central hole, or the, the town hall to get your documents.
That was valuable.
Nicole (Host): Absolutely. So what were some things you didn't expect to happen during your move?
Davide Erbogasto : let me think about it. I think. Well, the main unexpected thing was this one, how hard it was to find an accommodation. everything else. I was pretty lucky because it worked out pretty well.
So, when I left the first time, I sent out many emails, looking for a job in advance. And that was very helpful because even though it was impossible to get. Even in an interview from approach because, you know, I couldn't even schedule an interview with me. And back then, I know it sounds very strange, but we're talking about seven or eight years ago.
And of course we had Skype. We had things like that, but we were not used to life online as much as we used to now. So even on Facebook, we didn't have as many. Groups and communities as we have now. So it was very hard to find, you know, expats in approach on Facebook or something like that. So, that's why the couch surfing community was really filling the gap.
So, I was sending out emails and even though it was fruitless, every time I could. Improve my email. So eventually I landed a job as soon as I moved to Germany, like straight away, just because I had sent an email two or three days before, so we could organize an interview and the interview went well.
Nicole (Host): All right, good. Yeah. So you sent emails before, and you said that you were improving the emails. So in what way was it improving? Was it more like just the formatting and the style or was it more the timing.
Davide Erbogasto : No, it was improving well, fundamentally the language. So because I was writing it in my second or third language, because so many are not, it's not even my second language.
So it was pretty rubbish at first, you know, like all those tiny details that can make a difference. So, how formalities or the grammar mistakes and even the kind of information, the quantitative information. You're putting in how you format your CV. And every time I got a rejection or a no reply, I was going back to the email and noticing all the small details and checking and improve it.
So eventually I didn't have the perfect interview email, but it was pretty successful.
Nicole (Host): Eventually it got you the job, and that's absolutely amazing that you did that because you reflected on what you sent and you tweak things according to, you know, what you saw as a result. And that's really important.
In anything that we do, right? Like growing and seeing, where can we improve? And you saw that improvement in how it ended up resulting in you finding a job. So great advice, especially for people who are listening. And they're trying to see how to find a job abroad. That's a really great way to tweak some things.
Don't just copy and paste. Your typical email outreach for a job, make it custom, but look, to see, especially when there's a language difference too, to see if there's any grammar errors or, or cultural things to include.
Davide Erbogasto : Definitely. I think I was lucky both times because, for British people and German people are quite, accommodating countries.
So they don't really mind if your language is not top-notch so they will accept small mistakes. They might notice it, but they will never tell you. So that's quite reassuring. Probably not if you're working in the media, but that was not my job. One thing is, don't lose hope because I'm not kidding.
It took me probably, 50 different visas to flats to find my accommodation or even more and about the same number of emails to find a job. So, when I started, I was so discouraged because I thought it's impossible. I moved without planning ahead, and now it's impossible to either find the condition or find the job, but then I realized it's just like normal.
It's an average, I think, to keep trying and trying and try again. So don't lose hope just after like the second shot.
Nicole (Host): Yeah, absolutely. And you know, not everything goes perfectly, but it's, it's more just keep going after your dreams and you know, for people who've moved abroad and they have hit a roadblock, just don't lose hope, continue, continue pushing, Look to your community or look to others, who've gone through a similar situation to give that emotional support.
But definitely like you said, don't lose hope because there is light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak.
Davide Erbogasto : Oh yeah. I think what you've just said is so very important. So now we have Facebook and. Other platforms like meetup and everything, and you can find very easily your own community. So whether you're, you know, Italian moving somewhere simply a general expert, or, you know, like an LGBT person or a person like hiking, you will find your own community easily and just create a network.
And so when you land into a new country, you have people to share. Something with you already, it could be an interest, it could be lifestyle, whatever, and you can join them and they will make you feel home. And that's very important. and nowadays, honestly, you can get in touch with people in advance and you can, get advice and you can plan.
Better just by asking people, don't be afraid to ask people around. People are nice and they will reply and we'll share that experience. It happened to me as well. So I made, I had the person who kept in touch with me while I was in Germany asking about how the German, job seeking system worked, job market works because she was planning on moving as well.
And, so she asked me about taxes and, you know, employment and all these things and I'm very glad I could help them.
Nicole (Host): Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, definitely. Yeah. Don't be afraid to ask, like you said, there's so many different online communities for just putting your question out there and. Don't be afraid to just ask for help.
You know, there's a community that's been there that knows exactly what it feels like, to, to be moving abroad and all the different obstacles along the way. So there's always someone who's willing to help, so,yeah. Great tip.
Davide Erbogasto : And one thing though, Plan ahead. So do your research. I see sometimes on the online communities, I mean now, people asking basic, basic questions and sometimes, sometimes I think, I'm, I'm a little bit concerned because I think that moving without knowing fundamental things.
So they may come here without help, without support of the family of the friends they'll be on their own and they will. Find out how hard it is, you know, in a way, you know what I mean? So please do your research if you can ahead. So you can plan as much as you can.
Nicole (Host): Definitely. So now, looking back, what would you have done differently in planning your move?
So I know you said doing research, so that's definitely advice for those who are planning their move abroad, but what's something maybe you would have done differently in planning your move.
Davide Erbogasto : Well, I think that I found it useful or is a half a clear objective in my mind. So, because I didn't really plan much and I just moved and I didn't even know what I wanted to be, you know?
That was probably the point of my gap year, but, I wish I just had. The time to sit down and think, okay, my goals are, you know, like learn, this much, train this much, improve this much. And I will look for a job that satisfies these goals and not for anything that comes around. and that is something that I almost regret actually.
So if I had planned better, I would have, you know, like enter maybe a trainer sheep. Or, look for a specific job. So that's something I would do differently, if I have the second chance, and then definitely, learn about the new, financial situation in the new country. So it's quite a shock when you land and you find out how you have to pay taxes, how the bank system works.
Because it's not the same all over the countries. And that's one of the first things you have to do. So, for example, some countries ask you to register straight away, some other countries that don't really bother, but you will have to find a work permit after a few months and. Even within Europe, it’s especially very different from country to country.
So please, get your information ahead, and that will spare you a lot of nasty surprises.
Nicole (Host): Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think that's really great. you know, it's kind of like tips and advice for those who are listening, right. Things that you would have done differently. Hopefully they'll be able to incorporate as they're planning their move abroad, but learning the financial situation of their new countries is really important.
Like you said, like every country. Different times for different things. You need to file here. You need to file there with that organization. The bank system, very tricky everywhere. I'm in France, so it is a very tricky system. And, you know, so that's important and that's part of the research, like you said, and I also really liked the way you mentioned with the gap year.
Like having a clear objective. I know a lot of people plan a gap year. It's kind of finding themselves, figuring out what they want to do next, but I like how you. Mentioned, just having clear objectives really outlining. I always like to say, use smart goals to measure exactly what it is you're trying to, trying to accomplish.
So if it's learning a language, learning new skills, getting involved in different community groups, something, but at least having that in mind will allow your gap year to be more productive and effective for sure.
Davide Erbogasto : Yeah. So at the end of the year, you're sure that you've achieved something rather than just spent a random year somewhere.
But, but that's, I think it's, it applies to every situation. If you're looking for a job, Aim high. Don't just settle for, you know, like, Oh, I'm going to be a waiter. Just think about it and say, maybe I'll be a waiter, but I want to learn how to become like a hotel manager or, don't know, a food entrepreneur.
So by the end of the year, you should have achieved something higher than when you started.
Nicole (Host): Absolutely. Always reach for the stars. Definitely go for, you know, a great goal setting that goal to push you. Right. I think that's where he was really trying to say is instead of just aiming for a right I'm settling for what I already know, always having that, you know what, let me improve.
Let me continue to grow.
Davide Erbogasto : Yeah, because I think most of the people move away to improve or to change there life. And it's a big chance for you to, to do these things. So to improve yourself, to improve your situation, or completely change your life. So, make sure you achieve it, just because you've moved abroad, that's not the goal.
And I don't mean you will have to be a CEO by the end of the year, but just make sure that you're proud of yourself and you, you took the chance that moving out, right. Moving approach offers you.
Nicole (Host): Absolutely. Very well said. So I'm going to just wrap up and how you said with your advice. You know, don't lose hope.
Don't be afraid to ask people, do your research, you know, have a clear objective in mind as you move abroad and you know, be proud of yourself for making these accomplishments and doing something adventurous. Alright, so I'm going to ask a random question.
Where's the best city you visited.
Davide Erbogasto : So, the, the city of my heart, is Rome in Italy, which is, probably is not what you were asking.
Nicole (Host): No any city counts...
Davide Erbogasto : Okay, fantastic. Well, to be fair, Oh, I have such a number of wonderful cities. So the city of my heart is Rome. but, I really, really loved New York. I spent two months in New York and I wouldn't go and live there, but, it's such an important part of my life.
And, yeah, it's, it's just. I don't know.
Nicole (Host): Two very different cities. You said Rome and New York. Very nice. Thank you for sharing that. So, How can our listeners find you on social?
Davide Erbogasto : So I'm on Twitter. I have to spell it. Davideerbo. So it's Davide Erbo.
And, I have my own podcast, which is called Britalian. So, Britalian, because I'm half British and half Italian
Nicole (Host): Love it. Perfect. Well definitely our listeners can follow your journey. I'll also include the links into the description so anyone can follow you, and. Follow your journey. And of course, with your podcast sharing the cool dynamics there with the Britalian.
So thanks so much for sharing your journey with us. We're so excited to have you on the show and we'll be following along, see where you continue to move and where your journey takes you. So thank you, Davide for being on the show.
Davide Erbogasto : Thank you very much for having me. It's been great.