This month I introduce you to Vahe. From Armenia to the Netherlands for a “normal life”.
As my mission is to help people integrate in new cultures or new languages, I take regular interviews with expats, revealing personal stories, but also great advice.
Arriving in a new country is such a change, and how to feel ‘’at Home’’ can be a challenge. How can you integrate easily?
Interview with Vahe
Vahe’s story in a nutshell
I am Vahe Avetisian, 25 years, single and no kids yet. I live in The Netherlands, and came here as a child with my parents. I have been working but at the moment without a job, due to education, and on top of it all, I am home with a hernia.
First of all, to adjust to the new culture, and then to adjust to my own culture again when I am in contact with my native country. It is a very strange experience actually, because I feel rather Dutch after all these years, but I’m obviously still Armenian. So, after a while of integrating, I found that I was still a foreigner in the Netherlands, but also sort of a stranger in my own native country. When I finally learned Dutch well, and met Armenian friends, here in the Netherlands, I was determined to learn my own language again, which then again affected my Dutch language. It feels sometimes as if I am 2 persons at the same time. At first it was difficult and strange, sometimes I thought I was crazy, and that I had lost my mind. Later it felt good to know the both cultures and languages.
Another challenge was moving. We moved a lot, and I had to forget all my friends every time when we had to move.
Having no future, like earning money and taking care of me and my family. I overcame my fear by staying strong and depending on my loved ones like friends and family and that’s what gave me strength.
Also, I imagined and kept believing all will be fine, for e.g. I always believed I would be a lawyer, because it felt like a good job and it would pay enough. This helped me in difficult times to keep believing.
How you stay motivated
By praying a lot. And by staying determined and believing I can achieve anything. For example, when my parents divorced, things were not easy at all, and I had a hard time struggling through school. But before my exams, I stayed up all night to study. After that, I prayed and the next day it worked and I got through again!
Useful tools for expats
To choose between your own culture and the culture you are living in. My advice is this, you have to be polite to both sides. So that people can see that you are trying to learn. And they will help you. And always pray before you make a step. And after that you have accomplished something, pray again and thank the Lord!
Any words of Wisdom: Have faith. And never give up.
Plans for the future
Getting married and have children. Visiting my homeland.
When did you move and why the choice of The Netherlands?
It was in 1995, I did not choose for it, my parents came here. In that time and now also, my country has a big economic problem. Almost everyone there tries to escape. There is no job nor do most of the people know, what a normal life is. Especially the ones that live in the villages.
What was your first impression of the country The Netherlands and the Dutch?
Definitely, the big beautiful buildings, the architecture and infrastructure. So, it was like a positive adventure for me. The people were nice to me, and I did not have problems with anyone.
Did you integrate and adjust smoothly with the Dutchies?
Yes, but after a while I was also getting tired of the foreign culture, and then I started to try knowing everything about my own culture again. Nowadays, I absolutely love both countries. I am Armenian, yes, but wherever I will be in the future, I will never forget The Netherlands, because it made me who I am.
Please tell us your important TIP(s) when coming to The Netherlands.
You have to give everything you’ve got, but you also have to keep your faith in everything that you do. Therefore, you must keep believing, and automatically, you will find the strength you need. Always be and do good! So that you can help yourself enough to have and get the information that you need. And learn the language to adjust.
As an expat myself, I have been living and working in various countries, speak 6 languages, and experienced many challenges that I learned to turn around into new opportunities.
Workshops in cultural diversity and keynote speaking is what I enjoy doing.
I love to inspire people and help them to become their best selves! Life changes, and so can you!
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