Interview month

Challenges of Expats – Interview of the month December

This month I introduce you to Nathalia, who shares her experiences with us. From Brazil to The Netherlands… all for LOVE….

In my goal to support expats, I interview regularly, revealing great stories and advise. Whether you are an expat or thinking to become one, you can enjoy these stories to relate to, or perhaps find interesting advice. Arriving in a new country is a big change, and how to feel ‘’at Home’’ and integrate can be a challenge. Simply relax &  enjoy ;-).

Interview with Nathalia  Vilela

Who is Nathalia  ?  

‘’I am 27 years old, engaged and Pedagogue with two masters in education area. I love dance zouk, forró and samba (Brazilians dances). Before I come to Holland, I used to write on my blog (  about people that decide to move from their country to follow some passion, that could be a partner, new life, travelling or another motivation. It was a good exercise for me to make my decision about moving. But then I stop writing because I had to be more focused on learning Dutch.”

When did you move and why the choice of The Netherlands?

‘’In September 2015 because my partner is Dutch and we decided to live together and not have a distant relationship anymore.”

Your decision was the 1st  step,  but then what next actions did you take?

‘’ I recently moved to the Netherlands so still a lot to do. When I arrived here I had already started the procedure to have my Portuguese Nationality. It was necessary because as Brazilian I could not be allowed to live and work in the Netherlands. My mother is half Portuguese so I decided to have the Portuguese nationality indeed.

So right after I received the answer from Portugal that my Portuguese Nationality was accepted I decided to buy my flights and move to Holland. I arrived here with my Brazilian Passport only and I had to continue the bureaucracy in here at Portuguese Consul in Den Haag. After that I had to go to the city hall in Haarlem to be registered there as Portuguese. After weeks I got my BSN number and now am legal to live and work in Holland. Now I can apply for very important things like, bank account, health insurance and house doctor.

And I am looking for a job and studying Dutch… I would like to find work where I can use my native language (Portuguese) or work with tourists, because I love to know and help people from abroad.”

‘’Paperwork can be a real burden, but we all have to go through it. You are certainly not alone having to deal with that. Finding a job you enjoy would make your integration complete and I trust your enthusiasm will help you succeed in finding one.’’. What was your first impression of  the country The Netherlands?

’ I came here twice before, during my vacation and I could see how organized and beautiful the country is. The streets are clean, the transport system works different here and I see flowers and trees everywhere. It’s lovely!

What was your first impression of The Dutch people?

‘’ In the beginning I had almost no contact with Dutch people because I was hosted in Amsterdam where most of people are from abroad. But now through my partner I know his friends and family, who are very kind to me. They make me feel at home. I was expecting they were more cold people as we (Brazilians) used to think about everyone from Europe, but they are not.

The differences I can recognize between Dutch and Brazilian people is their way to plan everything in advance. If they have an appointment, they will really be there. So if they want to make an appointment with you for a dinner, for instance, they can plan it 1 month before they will be there without have to confirm it all the time. In Brazil we sometimes just say: “-Hey let’s do something tomorrow!” But most of times anything happen. J Hahaha So that’s is a little bit strange for me and I think: Oh my god I don’t know if I will be alive tomorrow, how can I plan something for one month from now? J  J  But I am already getting used to it.

Punctuality is really typical indeed and many expats notice this right away. E.g. planning birthdays is very common and happens even months in advance. And if you say YES, it really means YES 😉 ‘’

Any other big differences compared to Brazil?

‘ Brazil has many problems and you can explain most of them when you study about the history of the country. Unfortunately, we have a lot of corruption and we need to invest a lot in education, health and another social needs to guarantee a good life for Brazilian people. We used to say in Brazil: “we are Brazilian and we never give up” and everyone who goes to Brazil, love it because even with all of this problems we try to keep happy with amazing music, food and culture. This is what makes us proud of being Brazilian and we try to forget all the rest with a bit of football, samba, barbecue and beer!

’Great attitude! I really have that impression of Brazilian people to be positive, colorful and joyful. ‘’. What was your biggest Challenge moving to the Netherlands?

‘’ The biggest challenge is be open to restart your life: new house, new friends, new language, new culture.”

‘Language is in my opinion a true priority if you really want to integrate faster and feel more like what I call an ‘’INPAT’’. But also for you to find a job, it will be easier I believe. So, keep up the good vibe of learning Dutch 😉’’. Please tell us your Number ONE TIP when coming to The Netherlands.

’’TOP tip # 1: Be open to see people as just humans just as you are. Forget the prejudice about race, sexual preference, life style or religion. You will find every kind of people here.

’’TOP tip # 2:: Buy a bike, a clock and an diary!

Thank you very much!


This photo was taken in the day we meet each other and it is in Kasteel de Haar – Utrecht.