Solution Focused Coach, Master Practitioner NLP, ICF Coach Member. Krystian working as a life or exe...
8 things to do to acclimatise quickly13 February 2013, by Krystian Kaczor
Do you want to feel at home in your new country? Here are a few suggestions to help you acclimatise to living in the Netherlands:
› Find an interest group
People create spaces and make you feel like home. Find a useful portal for expats, like IamExpat.nl, or smaller ones specific to your nationality.
Check out all those groups and clubs you can find, and make sure you follow the ones you like on Facebook groups and meetup. You can also join a local Toastmasters club.
› Check out city highlights
The city won't feel so strange. You will also see the best of the city instead of just looking at your neighbourhood. And believe me, later you will struggle to find the time to visit them.
› Eat Dutch delights
Try bitterballen, kroket, loempias, pannenkoeken, stampot, and olieballen during the Christmas season. People you will meet or new friends will ask you about it and you will already have your own opinion.
› Learn a few words in Dutch
This is a good idea in general when you are going to any foreign country. People react in a friendlier way when you speak a few words in their language. "Good morning," "good bye," "thank you," "excuse me," and "please" are good phrases to start with before deciding to start Dutch courses.
› Get immune to (certain) Dutch people
Some people say that the Dutch are extroverts, but it’s not entirely true; some are just hiding their true feelings. In general, the Dutch are known for having big mouths, speaking loudly and giving their opinion without ever being asked.
As a rule, It’s rather difficult to be friends with them since they do most of their socialising only as sort of of rituals. Going for a beer after work just for a quick chat is usually not an option.
Most Dutchmen will ask you exasperating questions like "3 weeks in Holland and you don't speak Dutch?" or "Why are you here?" Get over it and move on.
Everything is mooi and lekker so don’t dare to make any critical remarks, especially about Dutch things. Complaining about the food, culture, country, or their language will quickly turn you into an outsider. Save these conversation topics for meetings with other expats.
Sharing stories about customer service or advice from a Dutch doctor will probably do the trick.
Photo by Flickr user razvan.orendovici
› Find good news sources
You walk into the office and everybody is talking about the latest Dutch news and you have no idea what’s going on. This will probably make you feel a bit strange. You need to know if there are things going on that will have an effect on you, like another politician with the urge to drive out expats...
› Read books about the Dutch and the Netherlands
This is key to understanding the behaviour of Dutchmen and will show you their way of thinking. You will read famous (though not necessarily true) stories about Dutch history, culture, daily habits and values. You will also find out all the things Dutch people would prefer to keep secret or even deny.
I read the Undutchables after two years of living in the Netherlands and I wish I had read it earlier. It’s a must-have for new immigrants. Other popular books are the Holland Handbook and The Dutch and their Delta.
If you are lucky, somebody will give it to you as a welcome gift :)
› Take pictures
Take photos of everything that seems unusual to you. Later you won't notice these things. You will find so many things strange or weird in the first few months so it’s good to keep these memories for later.
Krystian Kaczor is an Expat Service Provider who helps people to establish a vision, discover their potential, and develop new skills to make their dreams come true. For more information:
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