'The Expat Community welcomes you!'
The fact of living in a foreign country can sound most of the times as an exciting experience full of adventures. And probably, as an expat, you might have heard thousands of times: ‘Wow, that’s amazing! I wish I could be in your shoes!’, but is it always like that? Well… we would say yes and no.
The Netherlands is one of the top welcoming countries, which makes the adaptation of foreigners a lot easier. The Dutch are very friendly and open minded people, they are used to treat with foreigners and in general, they respect everyone’s opinion. But unfortunately, this is not enough to feel totally adapted and to see The Netherlands as home.
From the obvious barrier of language, to the most common daily activities, life is full of challenges if you are an expat. Even though most of the Dutch are able and willing to speak English, that makes life easier, but still, you can never feel part of them when everyone is forced to switch. The same applies for the Dutch directness, it could sound great at the beginning, but for an expat, that can also mean rudeness. And bla bla bla, an endless list of things that can make you feel overwhelmed.
As TMC Employeneurs, challenges are not something we are afraid of, so why not tackle this one? A big brainstorming session together with a survey were organized to identify the needs and the difficulties that expats have to deal with when in the Netherlands. And that’s how the Expat Community started. Now we are a group of 7 compromised expats and a few account managers all pulling in the same direction.
One of the first activities that has been successfully organized is ‘The Buddy Program’. The main goal behind this is to welcome new expats, lend them a hand or even become their first new friend in this country. This activity targets the group of Employeneurs (sometimes, also with their families) who come to Netherlands without knowing a single person here. A large group of Employeneurs (not only expats) have voluntary subscribed to become a buddy, enhancing the integration and network.
For many cultures, the family plays an important role and it is hard to feel totally integrated when your family is not part of it. That is the reason cause the Expat Community always tries to organize the activities including partners, and social activities such as the ‘board games night’, the ‘HoliFusion festival’, ‘Mexican dinner’ or the ‘Eid-al-Adha’, ended up in a great success. And in this spirit of inclusiveness, it is important to remark that the activities of the expat community are always open to our Dutch colleagues.
The good acceptance of the Expat Community has given us plenty of energy to continue. During the course of 2018, some new challenges will be faced, more social activities, cultural trips, new agreements with languages schools to increase the communication skill of the foreigners, and many more. We feel proud of who we are and love being part of this big multicultural family. We are looking forward to meet you in one of our next activities. The TMC Expat Community welcomes you!
Written by: Maria Del Mar Diaz del Pino and Ignacio Vazques Rodarte