International assignments - Italy

Joao Brazao
Joao Brazao

Joao Brazao


I was fortunate enough to meet and develop extraordinary working and personal relationships with people in Italy in a short period of time. 

I started working as a Quality Assurance Officer at the Brescia site in December 2019. My main activities concern the QA support for all new projects, the elaboration of the Annual Product Quality Review for each product manufactured at the site and the elaboration and follow-up of one of the latest European Medicines Agency’s risk assessments.

The international VIE assignment with Recipharm has been a great learning experience in skills that I believe to be key to my professional development, mainly problem solving and internal and external relations. From a more objective perspective, this opportunity represents an important and most useful gateway to expand my general knowledge of the pharmaceutical industry.  

This opportunity is an important gateway to expanding my general knowledge of the pharmaceutical industry.

Having worked in pharmacies, health-related project management and medical devices in the past, my role in QA at Recipharm represents my first pharmaceutical industry position. Consequently, this assignment has become fundamental in the growth of my knowledge of the pharmaceutical industry. The working activities I perform allow me to be in contact with several different branches of the business, both internally, giving support and gathering data, and externally, in contacts with customers and suppliers. These constant connections and exchanges of information with different people have strongly contributed to my awareness and knowledge of the CDMO and pharmaceutical business reality.  

The assignment has made it possible for me to develop my English language capabilities, the language in which I perform most of my working activities. Additionally, being one of the very few foreigners working at the Brescia site, I soon found it necessary to learn Italian in order to have a better understanding of all internal processes, production and office workflows, and people. The welcoming environment, full of patience and encouragement on the part of my colleagues, highly contributed to my present level of Italian which, in spite of being far from perfect, has become my main language for spoken and written communication in Italy.   

Having had a previous working experience in Denmark, a Nordic country, I found the Italian culture in the workplace to be much closer to my Portuguese reality. Of course, there are evident differences between Portugal and Italy, both have a rich, but distinct history, which has influenced both the culture of the countries and the nature of the people. But although these cultural differences are present, I don’t feel their impact on the workplace. If anything, my present experience made it much clearer to me how there is a substantial difference between Northern Europe and Southern Europe working philosophies.  

My adaptation to Italy, specifically to Brescia, was a very pleasant and rewarding one, highly surpassing my already positive expectations. I was fortunate enough to meet and develop extraordinary working and personal relationships with people in Italy in a short period of time. I found Italy to be surprisingly different from Portugal in habits, food, music, architecture and city development, but surprisingly close when it came to people’s motivations and attitude towards their working and personal lives.

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