Jucieli has spent most of her life on the road. It would be an impossible task to calculate the distance she’s traveled since she was little. Over 10 thousand kilometers separate Joinville, the Brazilian city where she spent part of her teenage years, from Germany. That was just the beginning. Today, at age 36, she adds distance, history, and learning.
Jucieli was born in São Ludgero, a countryside town in southern Brazil with nearly 10 thousand inhabitants. When she was 15, her family moved to Joinville, about 300 km away, where she finished school, started university, and got her degree in Languages. Until then, she had never left Brazil, but she had been studying German for a while. When she learned about the opportunity to spend a year in Germany to work as an au pair and take care of children, she didn’t hesitate. The fact that there’d be no lodging expenses involved surely helped her take the plunge. Her brother helped with the tickets. She ignored all the uncomfortable questions: “What if?” “Are you sure?” “Alone?”
It's not that she wasn’t scared or nervous – indeed, she was. She cried a lot during the flight. It was her first time abroad, away from her family. Once in Europe, she realized that the two years she’d spent studying German in Brazil had not been enough for her to be able to communicate. Adapting to the new environment was hard, yet after about three months, things began to look up. She started taking German classes, got used to the language, and made new friends.
She worked and lived with a family of four: the mother, the father, and their two kids. She was asked to leave only three months later. Jucieli had two options then: go back to Brazil and find a new job or stay and look for a new family to host her.
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Moreover, SAP has played a leading role in the ongoing refugee crisis. In 2016, as part of the “Engaging for Refugees” initiative, we hired 105 interns in various locations throughout Germany and brought on 15 students for dual-study positions that were specifically created for refugees. SAP also has organized events such as in countries like Jordan and Lebanon in cooperation with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
She decided to stay. After all, her goal was to stay there for a year. The agency responsible for reaching out to other families wasn't much help, so she went after a new home by herself. Nearly a month later, she finally found the family she would stay with until the end of her trip. Their tie was strong – so much so that 11 years later, on a business trip, she visited them in Germany. She traveled to more than 10 countries that year: France, England, Holland, Italy, Hungary, Austria; so many that she lost count.
Jucieli learned so much about herself back then that she now refers to it as “the year she became human.” Returning to Brazil was weird for her.
It was like I’d never left. I felt different, but everyone else was the same.
She went back to teaching English, but the job didn’t satisfy her anymore; she wanted to pursue a new career.
She soon started dating a guy and moved with him to Uruguay, his home country, with no plans to return. Once there, she was hired by a company that provided services to SAP and began working with recruitment and talent acquisition. This was the professional transformation she’d been looking for. She was so fascinated with her career move that she took a master's degree in Human Resources. In 2009, when the company closed down, she had to start teaching Portuguese to the locals. The following year, she was hired by a multinational company. She knew that the fact that she spoke so many languages – Portuguese, English, German and Spanish – would land her a job.
Six months before finishing her master's degree, her relationship came to an end, so she decided to return to Brazil. There could not have been a better time: She got a job offer from SAP. The interviews went on for a month and a half. As soon as she received the official offer, she went back to her home country. Two and a half weeks later, she moved to São Leopoldo, a city in southern Brazil where she has lived since 2011. She had virtual meetings with her thesis tutor and colleagues to finish her dissertation, and only returned to Uruguay to present her final paper.
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“All those experiences made me resilient. When in the eye of the hurricane, one usually feels in despair. Today, I see things differently and I try to make the best out of every situation,” she said, speaking about the knowledge she applies in the personal and professional realms.
Life in Germany and Uruguay wasn’t a bed of roses, but I have no regrets. You can't be afraid to go on an adventure. Whenever I have the opportunity to encourage others to travel, I do so, especially if they are women.
Nowadays, she appreciates every experience she has gone through, conscious that they have taken her to the point where she is now. At SAP, she started working in Human Resources for Brazil and Latin America. She then led University Recruiting. In 2017, she took over the management of a Cloud Technical Support team.
I am excited about my new professional challenge. Stepping out of Human Resources and joining a technical team is a huge change. SAP has supported my career development since the very first day, and this time was no different. Having the possibility to make lateral moves and feel valued is actually quite cool.
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