Finally, the month of Christmas is here! This year somehow the holiday season seems much more exciting than ever, probably because I am in Haarlem and so is Rodrigo! I hope you enjoy the interview with this remarkable young man while drinking a cup of hot cocoa or mulled wine!
Rodrigo is from São Paolo, Brazil and he really likes living in Haarlem because he finds this city beautiful city and he likes that there are so many possibilities to go out to eat, drink and for shopping! Even though he finds being away from his family very hard he is in everyday contact with them and his girlfriend as well. He thinks the best Dutch specialty is the Bitterballen and that you should definitely take the train instead of the bus when going to Amsterdam.
1. Where are you from?
São Paulo, Brazil
2. Why did you leave your home country?
Because I got a job offer to work in Amsterdam.
3. How did you end up in the Netherlands?
I applied for a position at Booking.com’s HQ, in Amsterdam, thanks to a friend of mine that started working there at the beginning of this year and I was chosen for the position.
4. Why did you choose to live in Haarlem?
I went apartment hunting in a lot of places in Amsterdam and also cities nearby, such as Haarlem, Amstelveen, and Hilversum. I found everything in Amsterdam either too expensive or too small/old. In Haarlem, I found an apartment for a more reasonable price, new and pretty much the way I wanted. Plus, I really liked Haarlem when I came to visit, as it has many options for going out to eat, drink or shop, including near my place, which is something really important for me.
5. How do you cope with being away from home?
I contact my family and my girlfriend pretty much every day and try to read and watch stuff from home as much as possible.
6. If you found it hard to settle down in another place what were the things that helped you get through the hard times?
I think technology and being able to talk to people from home so easily, including video calls, which makes us a feel like we’re really close.
7. What do you do for a living?
I work in the marketing department of Booking.com
8. Do you have a hobby or any other activity you enjoy doing?
I’m a huge sports fan, especially football, so watching it and going to the stadium is kind of my hobby.
9. In your opinion what is the hardest thing being an expat?
Being away from your family and stuff you’re used to, plus adapting to the new country’s way of living.
10. In your opinion what is the best thing about being an expat?
Getting to know a completely new culture and new people, not only from this culture but from all around the globe.
11. What are the things you love most about living in the Netherlands, Dutch people and the culture in general?
I love that Dutch people are always so nice to you, on pretty much all occasions and everywhere you go. I also like how everything works well in this country – I come from a country where we have a lot of violence and problems in our day-to-day life that I don’t need to worry a bit here.
12. Do you have a favorite Dutch dish you would recommend?
Not really a “dish”, but I really like Bitterballen.
13. What are the things you like most about Haarlem?
That it has such a good “vibe”, with beautiful buildings and canals, and also nice local stores.
14. What are the favorite places you like to go out to eat and/or drink in Haarlem?
Roast Chicken Bar.
15. What do you think are the must-see locations in Haarlem?
City center (Grote Markt), and the canals.
16. If you could give only one piece of advice to fellow expats who are new to Haarlem what would it be?
If you need to go to Amsterdam, always take the train, not the bus (it takes much longer!)