Here at ioki, we have employees from all over the world. Not all of us are able to speak German. Therefore, our work language is English.

Nevertheless, some of our motivated employees have decided to learn German. If you are wondering, how is it like to learn a new language while working full-time, here is a snippet of Rafael’s story! ⬇️

Interview with Rafael Guimaraes, QA Mobile Engineer


Why this blog post?

Learning a new language can be a daunting task, especially when it’s been many years since attending a language course. This was my thoughts, as I moved to Germany for the job as QA Engineer at ioki. Although I had previously travelled to Germany, I never practiced the language. So last year, I decided to use the opportunity with ioki to learn German and become more integrated into the society.

In this blog post, I want to share my experience and my impression on this topic. I believe that some people may be a little shy or uncomfortable to start learning a new language and may need some motivation, and most importantly with a busy life on the side. Will it take too much time? How can I split my time between the language course and finishing my work task? With this in mind, I hope my experience can remove some fears and doubts that you may have in this topic!

How did you apply to the language course?

During the contract call with Human Resources (HR), I was told about the educational budget. With this budget, every full-time iokian gets an education budget of 1.500Eur per year and I can use this for my German course, or any other educational purpose. The HR team gave me several language school recommendations, but in the end, it was for me to decide which one I would like to take. The team was fully with me until the end of the process, from submitting the application until the admission to the language school. In my case, ioki generously permitted 72 hours of focused learning time per year and in total I had 40hours of German class. “Du bist nicht das Gelbe vom Ei”. What a fun German phrase!🤩

What about the classes?

Attending the language classes was an enriching experience, and I enjoyed every bit of it. I had the opportunity to meet new people, who I could tour the city with and exchange wonderful conversations. The course offered flexibility as it could be a private 1:1 class or in a group setting, in person, or virtually, making it super flexible to my busy life schedule. It felt like I was back at university, and the experience was exciting and rewarding.

How did you juggle the German course and work?

Time management played a key role. I must say, it wasn’t always a walk in the park, but with a little planning and dedication, I made it work smoothly. Now, the beauty of it was that I had the flexibility to divide these hours into manageable chunks based on my work schedule. Sometimes, I would have 2 sessions of 1 hour each per week, while other times, I’d go for longer sessions of 90 minutes, depending on how busy things were at work. What I’ve also observed over time at ioki is that most teams have their daily meetings and tackle general admin tasks in the morning, which tends to create a quieter work environment. This realization allowed me to take full advantage of those mornings and dedicate them to my language course. It was a perfect fit, enabling me to apply my learning while still being present for any work-related matters that might arise later in the day.

How did the colleagues at ioki help you through this phase?

My colleagues at ioki have been supportive during this phase of learning German. Colleagues occasionally provide helpful words and sentences during day-to-day conversations, which aids in language learning. The overall atmosphere at ioki is inclusive and understanding, fostering a comfortable environment for everyone, regardless of their language background.

Will you do it again?

Yes, I would definitely take a language course again. Learning a new language is a never-ending learning opportunity, and you can always improve your skills. Although it can be overwhelming at times, it’s a great feeling when you start to comprehend more of what is happening around you. However, it can be challenging to juggle work, personal lifestyle, and doing the homework, but with discipline and dedication, it’s achievable. I also found motivation when I used my language skills outside of work during my team sports activities.

How did ioki support you?

ioki was supportive in providing everything we needed for the language course. Everything was paid via the education budget, and they provided multiple rooms and equipment that we could use for our learning. Their commitment to continuous learning and professional development is commendable, and they understand that it’s essential for success in the tech industry.

The language course for non-German speakers is an added benefit for employees as it helps them integrate into the local community and develop their language skills, enabling them to fully participate in the company culture and succeed in their role.

Thank you Rafael!