Deciding to go from a country which speaks a different language, with a different culture, in a different timezone, using a different currency is what we at ODE would call a Complex Decision! Isaac did exactly that, picking up his life (a successful one at that) in Hong Kong, working in investment banking, to continue his studies and do a Masters in Germany!
Isaac Lau is the proud creator and storyteller behind his self-named Youtube channel: Isaac Lau.
We really admire Isaac's move to Germany. Not just because of his journey and how he's landed on his feet. He has chosen to channel his talent and passion for storytelling into content which people can use to help themselves make their choices better. From how to survive getting an apartment in Berlin, to calming before a job interview and everyday situations you as an expat may find yourself in. It was an inspiring story to hear, and we are excited to share the interview below.
A video from Isaacs Youtube Channel
So, Isaac, you've really had an interesting journey! How is it that you came to decide on Germany as your destination (I mean, it's not everyone's cup of tea)?
I've always wanted to live abroad actually. It has been my dream for as long as I can remember. I was living in Hong Kong at the time & one day I quit my job! Before I quit, I did a financial check to make sure I could survive. Once I knew I could tick that off, I pulled the tigger!
Originally, I wanted to go to Canada. But, one night I'm at a bar & someone in a bar told me about Germany. Not that it's a country that exists, obviously I know that! But, they started to tell me about how It’s great for Masters programs. Even for international students, post graduate study is free, I didn’t need too much money to live & I could start almost immediately if I wanted. Big bonus, I can speak & study in english while I'm there! All the boxes were being ticked and my instinct really was drawing me to Germany at that point.
Wow! Talk about a quick fire decision. Certainly had your criteria, knew they were matched, and from there let your intuition guide your choice.
Yeah. I mean, I was hearing that in Canada I might just end up picking mushrooms on a farm somewhere, during my work-holiday period. So yeah, my criteria fit far better for Germany.
So you decide on Germany, but where? And from there, how did you wind up in Berlin?
I don't know if you've heard of Mannheim, but they have a great university. I actually completed my Masters there. It was a nice introduction to Germany. This was a time of many decisions to be made.
Ah, perfect! Our speciality. What were some decisions you faced?
I have a few! So, my biggest concern was finding a job while doing my thesis. For my thesis I actually really had to reflect on whether I was going to use my current professor or a new one. This was a big choice. It's a hard choice with lot's of criteria. My thesis wasn’t going anywhere with the existing supervisor after a prolonged period, and I had to start my full time job soon in Munich, otherwise I would have a visa problem too. I was basically against all odds. I had to bet on either staying put, or choosing the new professor with all the unknown factors.
Since I always treat the unknown as new hope, new opportunity, I will always take the new unknown path rather than staying put on things that didn’t work.
I decided on working with a new one. The approach for me was I'd rather fail then never know what could have been with the new partnership.
Again, I had my criteria, and instinct led me to the choice. For me, it's important to trust those instincts alongside your normal decison process. In the end the Thesis was completed & published in a journal. So, you can see why I trust my instincts haha.
Yes very true! Decision making certainly isn't just about logic.
Yeah absolutely. I ended up working at a Bank in Munich, heard the term digital nomad & decided that I wanted to be one. Here comes more decision making haha
But, I wasn’t sure how to earn money doing it? I started to list criteria that were important for the decision of leaving the job & becoming a digital nomad. I realised in this process, my story may be interesting to others and decided to start sharing that story; enter the birth of my Youtube channel!
Now I'm making content beyond Youtube, helping others. Helping foreigners, especially the Asian community, bridging the culture gap and better integrate into Europe. I also help people to produce professional 1-minute video CVs, telling their stories and letting their real characters shine through to future employers. They can have an opportunity to stand out and get the job opportunity they deserve.
What a journey. Good for you! By the way, what are your thoughts on ODE?
Well, it's very interesting and I look forward to testing. I have two questions really: should ODE really be deciding for someone and what if I don't like the choice I make in the end?
A big thank you to Isaac Lau for his time. To answer Isaac's questions for you all: ODE will never make a choice for you.
The choice is always yours. ODE is your tool to help you have a set process for decison making; write criteria, assess their worth and get results which show the best match based off that process. But, at the end of the day we want you to live a more self-determined life, equipping you with tools & educating on decision making so you can make the most informed decision possible.
That's why we love Isaac's story. He embraces the unkown and follows intuition. This, paired with his decision process, he found his choices led to an occupation he enjoys and continues to grow in germany.
Below you can find Isaac's contact details if you'd like to reach out to him. We hope you enjoyed the interview! As always, jump on our website if you'd like to talk.
With love & respect,
Lucian & the Team at ODE ❤️