From Melbourne to Tallinn — meet Sam Robson, Global Safety Manager at Bolt

February 23, 2022

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Last year, Sam Robson relocated from Australia to Estonia to join Bolt as a Global Safety Manager. 

How has Sam found the relocation process? What’s life been like in Estonia? And how does he find the culture at Bolt?

Read on for plenty of relocation insights, lessons, and much more!

Deciding to move 15,212 km away

Sam’s decision to relocate to Tallinn from Melbourne, Australia ( some 15,212 km away!) wasn’t taken lightly. He’d had a vague goal of working in another country for years but hadn’t given it serious thought until he saw a Bolt job vacancy.

As an Australian, Sam’s knowledge of Estonia was limited, having only known of the country through Eurovision, which Sam says is incredibly popular in Australia!  

But after discussing the role in more detail with his partner, and getting the green light, he applied and was subsequently offered the role.

Sam’s move was supported by Bolt’s Relocation Team who helped with all aspects and made sure he had everything he needed.

“I couldn’t speak more highly of the Relocation Team. Thanks to the expert knowledge, care, and professionalism of Liis and the team, what would normally be an incredibly stressful, complicated time honestly felt like we were going on holiday. I kept wondering to myself when the relocation was going to start feeling overwhelming but that time never came!”, says Sam. 

A day in the life at Bolt 

As a Global Safety Manager, Sam’s workdays are split between office and field time. Field time involves travelling to different Bolt locations, such as scooter warehouses or Bolt Market stores, and helping to implement safety processes. 

Office day schedules vary depending on what’s on, but Sam loves going into the office because of the atmosphere. 

“While Bolt’s extremely supportive of flexible working arrangements, I prefer working at the office because it’s got such a great vibe”, says Sam.

Culture breeds growth and success

Working in such a young and rapidly growing business means that Bolt employees often have the opportunity to create processes from scratch. 

This provides exciting opportunities to design solutions from the ground up, which better connects Sam to his work. And it’s this culture of not having to abide by the status quo that’s resulted in huge growth for Sam in a short period.

Sam also points to Bolt’s cultural diversity as something that contributes to a rich workplace environment and, ultimately, Bolt’s success. 

“Bolt’s culture has impressed me so much and has made a period of great personal change incredibly smooth and exciting. Everyone’s so invested in our exciting work and it shows in the way we approach problem-solving”, says Sam.

And from a social perspective, Sam appreciates how he’s able to connect with his fellow Bolt employees.

“Bolt’s extremely supportive of bonding through things like work events —this contributes to a fun culture that’s more than just a place where we do our work”, says Sam.

Friends, cellos, and cats — relocation challenges

As with any relocation, there are always challenges and doubts along the way. Sam’s biggest concerns were the language barrier and wondering if he’d like the role at Bolt.

“Fortunately, most Estonians speak perfect English so I don’t notice the language barrier. And regarding the job, I can honestly say it’s the best I’ve ever had — so fortunately for me, both of my concerns worked out perfectly”, says Sam.

Then, there was the worry of leaving family and friends behind, particularly when COVID had made it difficult for people to travel. But travel’s starting to become easier and people from Australia are planning holidays to visit. Plus, technology helps everyone keep in touch:

“It’s been difficult not seeing family and friends from Australia. But being closer to my husband’s European family has been great. And with video call quality having improved so much, it helps me remain feeling connected with Australia”, says Sam.

In terms of physical possessions, Sam opted to sell his cello rather than shipping it here. And although he had some trouble finding a new one in Tallinn, he recently purchased one in Berlin. “Another great benefit of living in Europe is that it’s so easy to travel to other European cities”, says Sam.

One trickier aspect of relocating was arranging the transport of his cat, but we’re pleased to say that Sam’s whiskered pet has since touched down safely in Tallinn!

Sam’s most surprising learnings

Here are Sam’s top 3 most surprising learnings on moving to Estonia: 

  • “The country itself has completely exceeded my every expectation. Physically, it looks like it’s straight out of a fairytale (seriously, Google ‘Tallinn Old Town’ if you don’t believe me). Your stereotypical Estonian has the initial Nordic reservedness, but beneath that everyone has been so incredibly kind and welcoming.
  • The cold and snowy winter hasn’t been difficult at all — I’ve loved it!
  • The complicated history between Estonia and Russia. I have found this fascinating to learn about and to see how it’s shaped present-day Estonians.”

Adjusting to life in Tallinn

It’s often said that you should throw yourself into a new culture to make the most of it, and it’s fair to say that Sam’s done just that. He’s been trying out the popular Estonian pastime of ice swimming. And although only lasting for 1 second on his first attempt, it shouldn’t be difficult to improve on that time!

A common Estonian relocation topic is the weather. For Sam, he’s loved the Tallinn winter snow as it’s so different to anything he could experience back in Australia. And if you’re dressed appropriately, then you don’t feel the cold when you head outside!

Along with his newfound love for cold water swimming, Sam’s enjoyed socialising with friends in his spare time (including many trips to the karaoke bar!). 

And when he’s not grasping a microphone, Sam’s got a long list of hobbies to keep him busy: ice skating in Tallinn’s Old Town rink, CrossFit, cello, board games, cycling, swimming, video games and learning Estonian. He’s also been using the weekends to travel out of Tallinn and see what else Estonia has to offer. 

The right match

Despite some challenges along the way, Sam’s intent on staying in Tallinn and plans to buy an apartment as soon as possible, so it looks like he’ll be here for a while yet!

And part of what’s made that possible is the support that Bolt’s Relocation Team offered throughout the hiring process. 

“To summarise my relocation experience, the skill and flexibility of the relocation team meant that relocating to Estonia has been an exciting opportunity that has created the desire to stay here long term.

I’m continually impressed by the people I meet in Estonia. And the culture at Bolt makes going to work enjoyable. The company culture is so supportive, encouraging, motivating, and exciting”, says Sam. 

Want to join us on our mission to make urban mobility affordable, safe, and sustainable?

Visit our Careers Page today to see our 1000+ open roles!

And if you’re worried about moving, remember that Bolt’s Relocation Team is on hand to help you every step of the way.

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