How Contentsquare supported my relocation from Paris to New York City
In conversation with our Talent Acquisition team, read from Solutions Expert Anika Friese about how Contentsquare supported her relocation from Berlin to New York City.
Anika Friese is from Berlin, Germany and was originally hired into Contentsquare’s Product team in Paris. She relocated to New York City in January of 2020 to join the Product Marketing team as a Solutions Expert.
What made you decide to relocate for your role at Contentsquare and where did you relocate from?
I moved from my hometown of Berlin to NYC back in 2017 to work for a different company. Contentsquare shared an office with my previous company so that’s where I began to network and learn more about the organization—I quickly realized I wanted to work here!
So, I applied for a role in the Product team, but initially they needed me to move to the Paris office to help open the German market. So, I left New York, hoping to return as soon as possible!
How has your journey been since relocating? What was it like to settle in?
Since I moved back right before the pandemic, the typical events and communities that could help me make friends weren’t as accessible. But Contentsquare did a great job of hosting virtual events to help everyone stay connected despite the lockdown.
The most memorable event was probably the Mystery Night—everyone was assigned a character and in groups of six you had to find out who the murderer on the team was. Pretty fun!
That was on top of all the virtual Happy Hours and cooking events too. Contentsquare would also send surprise gifts in the mail to lift our spirits—plants, holiday presents, etc. Overall, settling in didn’t go quite as planned, but the virtual community and a few friends I had made prior to moving back to Paris helped me feel comfortable.
Do you remember your first day coming into the New York office? What was that like?
My first day in the NYC office was a couple of months before I officially moved. Contentsquare facilitated two visits for me to come to the city, meet the team, and start some in-person onboarding to support my transition from the Product to the Customer Success team.
I had seen pictures of the Empire State building from my US colleagues before and was eager to experience the view for myself, and the view didn’t disappoint. Of course, I had to take a ton of pictures and share them on social media! When I eventually got to the office for my official first day in Customer Success, I remember everyone on the team saying, “finally!”
Did you join any groups or communities to help you settle in?
When I first moved I did not know anyone, but it was pretty easy for me to make acquaintances and friends both at Contentsquare and outside of it. Everyone was super open-minded because of how diverse the city is. There were also a lot of opportunities for after-work happy hours and networking, which is how I’ve made some of my closest friends.
What are some of your favorite things about living in NYC?
There’s so much to love about living in New York, it’s hard to come up with a definitive list. Williamsburg, where I live, feels a lot like home with all of the hipsters and French cafes on every block. That’s one of the reasons that I love New York—it has so many distinct neighborhoods, which is something that stands out to me and makes this place special. What I love most about living in NY is that it’s truly a melting pot with a little bit of everything—from finance, to start-ups, to thousands of artists; it offers a blend of everything.
Are there any new and exciting activities that you’ve found?
I’ve discovered all types of new activities since moving here—I love going hiking upstate with my friends, going to Broadway shows, and being able to get a delicious brunch on the weekends (New York is a brunch city!).
Something else that’s special about New York is how centrally located it is—you can get to Miami in just two hours and be in a completely different city with a different vibe and climate, but still be in the same country. That stands out to me as a European, because any two-hour flight from Berlin usually lands you in a country that speaks a different language!
What about the food and weather?
You can eat any type of food from around the world in New York. My neighborhood is covered in french restaurants, vietnamese restaurants, and pizza shops, and the food is always delicious. No matter if you’re fine dining or eating street food, you can always find something amazing.
As for the weather, I swear the sky is never grey in New York, it’s always blue. People say the winter can be brutal too, but compared to Berlin it’s a breeze!
What have been some of the challenges of relocating, and how were you able to overcome them?
The biggest challenge of moving to New York has been the long journey when it comes to getting my visa. It takes a long time and can be tedious and frustrating. But, luckily, the legal team at Contentsquare has been very supportive in helping me take care of it. I’ve also been so lucky to be getting help with other difficult logistics, like setting up a bank account and getting a social security number.
What’s a piece of advice you wish you had before relocating?
The only advice that I wish I had was not to worry. New York can be intimidating for a lot of people—there are a lot of stereotypes about people being unfriendly and rude. But when you get here, you realize that the stereotypes aren’t true. Although I was nervous leading up to the move and a bit sad to leave my team in Paris, by the time I got here I felt no negative emotions and I was welcomed with open arms by my new team. Since the city showcases a wide range of diversity, people are actually helpful and open-minded.
If you had to pick the main reason to encourage people to move to NYC, what would they be?
I think the biggest reason is the atmosphere of ambition. The people are so competitive and motivated that being here will accelerate your learning and career more than you could anywhere else.