How was the process of moving from Italy to the Netherlands?
When I decided to move to the Netherlands I was a little bit scared about relocating process, first because it was my first real work experience abroad and second because the Netherlands way of living is very different from the Italian one. Despite this, the transfer from Rome has not been as dramatic as I thought. I have been supported throughout the whole recruitment process, both in new job related matters and also for what concern new life in a new country.
The Netherlands is known as a fairly cozy location for expats and, in my case, I can confirm that vision, since I think it is possible to quite easily adapt to the Dutch way of living.
Was it easy to find a place to live and to arrange everything, like social security number, health insurance, etc?
I knew it wouldn’t be easy to find a place to live in the Netherlands and generally speaking, the real challenge is to find reasonably priced accommodation, particularly in popular cities. I can confirm that it hasn’t been easy to find an affordable accommodation in Enschede, indeed, I started to search for an apartment when I was still in Italy. I came to Enschede a few weeks before my definitive transfer and, relying on rental agencies, I succeeded to find a good apartment in the city center.
For what concerns the main bureaucratic practices (registration at municipality, health insurance, etc) I was supported in dealing with them, so I can say that I didn’t face great troubles.
Do you feel at home in the Netherlands and especially in the city of Enschede?
I live in the Netherlands since June, and although I still feel a foreigner, I like the city of Enschede very much. One of the most interesting things is the absence of traffic and the possibility to reach anywhere in the city by bike. Even if I come from Italy, I was born in a little town in the mountains (Campobasso) and I am familiar with cold, rain and snow. For that reason Dutch weather is not a “problem” for me and maybe it makes me feel more at home than I thought.
What activities do you like the most in the region of Twente/ Enschede?
I enjoy very much cultural events, as cultural Sundays or concerts. In addition, from my girlfriend’s experience, it is also easy to find “Taalcafés” organized by several associations that help expats to learn and practice Dutch language.
I enjoy the region of Twente by bicycle, exploring its beautiful nature with varied landscapes.
What (still) surprises you about the Dutch people or the Netherlands?
Expat life in the Netherlands will make you realize that the Dutch people are welcoming and cordial, even if rather reserved. In conversation, they tend to be friendly, but also straightforward and honest.
Personally, although I am still far from fully understanding some aspects of the local culture, I agree with Dutch pragmatic view of life.
What tips or advice would you give someone who’s relocating to the Netherlands?
Moving to the Netherlands is a big challenge, especially for people coming from Latin cultures. You have to be aware that there will be things that you will miss, as weather, food, “crowd” and your way of thinking about life. But, keeping in mind that the “culture shock” is normal, you can learn and enjoy those differences and many positive things that The Netherlands can give.