Challenges of Expats – Interview of the month June

In my goal to support expats, I interview expats frequently and bring you their true stories.

The life of an expat…Is it all glamorous and fun, or rather difficult and lonely? This answer is different for everyone.  The one common thing for anyone arriving in a new country is that each person needs to adjust and integrate. Each interview reveals the struggles that come to surface during such transition.

Please enjoy Aline’s journey starting in Brazil and landing in The Netherlands.

Interview with Aline Moisakis

From Brazil to The Netherlands…

 

When did you move?

Aline: ‘’I  moved to The Netherlands in February 2001.’’

What was the reason for moving to Nederland?

Aline: ‘’The reason was that I wanted to come live with my Dutch boyfriend. I had met him during holidays in Brazil. It was supposed to be just a holiday romance, but it just wouldn´t end J .

So, after dating for 2 years, when I was 24, I agreed to go live with him. It turned out to be a good decision as we are still together. We´ve been married for 10 years now and we have got 2 beautiful little girls aged 4 and 6, Stephanie is 6 and Sarah is 4.’’

How do you remember your transition from Brazil to the Netherlands?

Aline: ‘’For me making the decision to move and leaving my family and my life in Brazil was hard. But I was very much in love, so it did feel like the right thing to do.

The practical side of it, like arranging my papers, wasn´t difficult. Time consuming, but not difficult.  And I found an English speaking job very quickly after I got here, so that helped a lot as well.

When I first got here, I was offered free Dutch lessons from the government, which I gladly attended. I like studying languages and to me it was very important to be able to communicate in Dutch. I think it´s a mindset question. If you are really motivated, it´s not that hard.

Your integration went pretty fast after all?

Aline: ‘’Well,  I did my best at learning Dutch, within the first year, and it paid off because speaking the language makes you feel more integrated. It could have taken much longer.’’

Speaking Dutch really helped you to feel ‘’settled in ‘’ back then AND now too.

Aline: ‘’ Yes, very soon I was able to chat in Dutch with my in-laws and with our friends. It also made me more independent from my partner, and I was able to function better at my workplace and easily build up my own social life here. And it also made everything easier when it came to arranging our wedding, being pregnant, having children, arranging school, and even now that we have bilingual children.

Nowadays I have my own small one person business called ‘’Het Tweede Koekje’’. I deliver cakes, cupcakes, sweet tables, high teas and other delicious snacks for all kinds of parties. I really enjoy baking and of course that’s how the business was born J

What was your biggest Challenge?

Aline: ‘’ My biggest difficulty was the emotional side of moving. I have to confess that it took me many years to learn how to cope with this (and I’m still having my moments). Although I was happy to be living here and with him, I felt very guilty for leaving my family behind. Specially after having children I felt bad because my mother can´t see her granddaughters as often as she would if I would be living there. So I had to learn to accept my decision (believe me, it took me a while) and try to live in peace with the choice that I made. And I am finally getting there! JJJ

Please tell us your Number ONE TIP when coming to The Netherlands.

Aline: “My tip is… open up!!!
The Dutch may seem weird at first. But whichever new country you would move into, it would be the same, the locals would seem a bit weird. So Try to learn from their qualities (which are plenty)! And try to laugh at their weird things (which are also plenty). 🙂
Get used to it, but stay true to yourself and your way of living. It’s the good thing about the Dutch, they might find you weird too, but they will let you live the life you want to live. ‘’

 

Picture taken at  at Dierenpark Emmen, NL.

 

 

Rachel Smets

Speaker, Author, Teacher at Rachel Smets Coaching
For 15+ years, I moved to different countries, speak 6 languages, and experienced many challenges such as a new job, new home, new people, new language etc. As an author of Awaken Your Confidence: 15 People share their Journey to Success, I like to help individuals that would like to overcome the feeling of being ‘stuck’ and gain clarity, or improve fluency of a language. As a speaker, I inspire and motivate people to take the steps towards the future life they want.