Journey from Budapest to Stockholm. Interview with Balázs Máté

Balázs Máté Journey from Budapest to Stockholm
Photo credit: Hugo Thambert

Balázs Máté started at Sigma Technology (the company named Kudos that was acquired by Sigma in 2006) back in 2005. He has been working as a technical writer in the Budapest office for over six years. Then he decided to move to Sweden and start his new life in Scandinavia together with Sigma Technology Information in Stockholm.

Balázs, tell us about your background. Where do you come from?

I grew up in Budapest, Hungary, and completed all my studies there. At the age of 23, I started working at Sigma in Budapest as a technical writer and later a project manager. I had two shorter work assignments in Sweden, and that was then when I started thinking about spending a longer period there. Soon I was offered a position in Stockholm, and I decided to accept it. So, for now, I have been living here for 6 years.


Tell us about your current position. What do you work with?

I write the documentation of the customer’s products in the radio and antenna system.


What has motivated you to start a career of a technical writer in Hungary?

Well, it wasn’t planned! I heard about this possibility from a friend, who worked at the company at that time. I always liked writing, analyzing, structuring texts, and I had the necessary technical knowledge as well. So I gave it a try and suddenly found myself working in the business for almost 12 years.


Is your role in Sweden different comparing to your position in Hungary? Was moving to another country difficult when it comes to working?

I had various assignments and positions in Hungary, and I have already had four different positions in Sweden. I didn’t feel it difficult to start working in Sweden, since the work is basically the same in international companies, and everyone speaks English.


Do you see many differences/similarities between Sweden and Hungary?

There are obvious differences due to the different history and economy of the two countries that are reflected in people’s mood, welfare, and work-life balance. People are more relaxed in Sweden, at least compared to Hungary. The social differences are more visible in Hungary.

At the same time, Hungary is also full of talented and skilled people, and that’s why several multinational companies have important offices there.

The two countries are relatively similar when it comes to culture and traditions, so it was easy to integrate, and I don’t feel myself a stranger here. I’ve experienced that most Swedes love Budapest.


What was the most challenging thing about moving to Sweden?

It’s difficult to start a new life when you are in your 30s. A new country, new job, new friends, and it also means that you lose contacts in your homeland.

Even though I enjoy my new life in Sweden, managed to get to know new people, and found several new hobbies, I obviously miss some feeling of belonging, or my “roots”. You know, that feeling when you see your old playground, school, or bump into childhood friends on the street. It’s also strange not to have any family members nearby.


What are your three tips for people who relocate to Sweden?

Spend as much time as possible outdoors, take advantage of Allemansrätten (Swedish for “the everyman’s right”, a freedom to access nature, walk, cycle, ride, ski, and camp on any land; this freedom is granted by the Constitution of Sweden), that’s the best thing in Sweden.

Don’t complain about the prices all the time. You can’t have a Swedish wage and Hungarian prices at the same time.

If you have long-term plans, learn the language, even if almost everyone speaks English. You’ll have a better chance to understand what’s happening around you, and everyone will appreciate your efforts.


What are your hobbies? Do you feel that your passion helps you in the work life as well?

My hobbies help me recharge or relax after a week of being “locked up” in an office. I prefer activities that do not involve too much thinking, to have some contrast in life 🙂 Hiking, biking, winter sports, or just an hour in the gym. I’ve been hiring a small garden (kolonilott) for several years, that’s another outdoor hobby. Apart from physical activities, I also like music or culture, that’s also something non-technical.

Would you like to join Balázs? Check our open positions at https://sigmatechnology.com/open-positions/