InterNations Featured Blog
Recommended Expat Blogs: Netherlands
Everybody who has spent time in a different country knows that expat life is not quite like anything else in the world. The confusion of the first few days and weeks, the slow, but steady process of acclimation, the little peculiarities and quirks that might strike you about your new surroundings: almost any situation you encounter can make for a great story. If you are so inclined and want to blog about it, of course!
Our InterNations recommended blog section features talented expat bloggers from around the world. Their offerings to the blogosphere have been selected for their great entries and high quality, whether they may be funny, informative, interesting, deeply personal or a combination of all of the above.
Let’s hear from our featured bloggers in the Netherlands:
When I first came to Holland I did experience a lot of culture shock. It’s not as if the culture was hugely different (as it might have been if I’d move to Japan for example) but there were enough little surprises here and there that caught me off guard. In the beginning it was enough to cause me trouble to work out what was going on around me but slowly after time I started to settle in.
Try to remember that you are a guest in this country. People from other countries are always different than you are used to and the Dutch are no exception. Be kind, respectful and they will usually be the same.
I don’t feel that I had a particular strong experience of culture shock. The Netherlands has quite a lot in common with the UK and I had my experience from Estonia to help me out. Does that mean there was nothing that fazed me? Definitely not.
Our children's international school was a great go-to source, hosting an orientation for parents as well as incoming students and holding info sessions throughout the year on various topics. I also did a lot of online research once I was here, so I've got a better sense of where to look for the next international move. Expat sites and blogs are great sources of info, and I've had several people planning to move to the Netherlands find my blog and contact me.
I had traveled in Europe and worked with the Dutch, so I thought I knew it all. In truth, I understood maybe 10% of what I needed to know. So I made a lot of early mistakes before finding out how things are done, from setting up business accounts to getting the internet connected. A local mentor or business partner would have helped. In hindsight, I also wish that I had gotten a bike sooner and made more of an effort to learn the language.
Settling in, it takes time. The Dutch are very open and friendly people but they have their own lives, their own ways and their own friends and it takes a long time before you can really break down those boundaries and feel you fit in.
There are a few things that I would change about my preparations, I would have to say calling the municipality and booking registration appointments in advance of getting on the boat would've been a good idea – but the information that lead me to this discovery was only discovered after we had already moved into our new house.
Be prepared for people to speak their mind in a blunt and to the straight-to-the-point way. Subjects that might be taboo at home are fair game here. It’s nothing to have a frank discussion about your weight in the shared kitchen at work, for example.
There were definitely things that needed getting used to- healthcare being one of them. My other experiences were extremely positive. One way my life differs from my life in Poland is that it is much more exciting here. There are so many things happening. I think living in the Netherlands has made me more creative and outgoing.
My life is not so different from what I was used to back home, except that it’s more relaxed. Of course I had trouble in the beginning finding products in the shops and finding my way around the neighborhood, and it was also somehow strange how individualistic people here are. But I picked up the basics of the language very fast and made an effort to talk to anyone I met and joined as many activities as I could, so this way I made the whole transition easier for myself.
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