Arriving in a new country is such a change, and how to feel ‘’at Home’’ can be a challenge. How can an expat integrate easily? This month I introduce you to Sukhada Parkhi
Interview with Sukhada
Original country: India
Expat countries: UK
Current country: Netherlands
Who is Sukhada
Born & grew up in India in an open minded, progressive family (thanks to my parents). I still have strong family bonds in India. 6 years ago, I moved to The Netherlands with my husband (also Indian) & then 2 years old daughter. The reason of move was my husband’s job. Eventually after settling here, I returned to work with Tech Mahindra in The Hague. 2 years ago, we were blessed by a baby boy & I again took a break to raise my son. After a year, I returned to work & currently have a job in The Hague in Finance & Management field (Business Support at the core).
Although everyone speaks English here, I still feel language is the biggest challenge. Learning language definitely opens up several opportunities.
My understanding of conversational Dutch language helped me to connect with Dutch society , make new friends for me & my children, understand & enjoy different Dutch festivities etc. It also came in handy while understanding government communication in Dutch. I would say language opens up channel of communication with locals.
Rachel’s comment: ‘I couldn’t agree more! It helped me tremendously in every country I lived to speak the local language each time. It helps to enjoy and understand each culture. That’s why I started teaching conversational languages, no grammar, because what matters is to get out there and speak & have fun 🙂
Working practices and benefits in your adopted country
People here love working on schedule. People plan for at least 3 month & block their calendars & most importantly keep the appointments. I also appreciate the Dutch culture where they achieve work-life balance.
Where you find inspiration from
- By-cycling, extremely active & well figured Dutch people. There are probably more bikes than people in Holland. It is the most valued possession of the Dutch. This reflects well in their fitness and healthy lifestyle.
Rachel’s comment: Yep! There are indeed 1.1 bicycles per habitant in the Netherlands.
- Also, I often get inspired by Dutch phrases like:
‘Doe maar gewoon, dan doe je al gek genoeg’ Act normally, that is crazy enough
‘Lachen is gezond’–Laughter is good for your health.
‘Wees de verandering die je in de wereld wil zien gebeuren’ – Be the change you want to see in the world.
- I am impressed & inspired by many Dutch things like bicycling, fitness, cheese, windmills, harbors, Dutch architectures, flowers , beautiful houses , Public transport, Kinderboerdeijs & the list goes on
How you stay motivated
Beaches, visit to the local library, bicycling & beautiful Haagse Bos (The Hague Forest)
Useful tools/resources for expats
Local library, Expats websites like Access, Anglo info, expatsHaarlem, Facebook groups.
What was your first impression of The Netherlands and the Dutch?
I was impressed by extremely fit & active Dutchies. I also love the way of upbringing children. Simple living which reflects from their day to day life.
Children here are raised with lot of affection & discipline. They are just allowed to grow naturally without any academic pressure (no homework at primary school) & allowed to learn from their experiences. I am impressed by super simple children’s birthday party celebrations. Half day school on Wednesday’s is also one of the thing I have seen in NL. Children are encouraged to participate in sports irrespective of weather conditions.
The Dutch enjoy a great family life and firmly believe that money cannot buy happiness. The personal and professional lives are kept separate.
Weather is the most discussed topic in short conversations. The Netherlands weather definitely merits this, what with it showing all colors from snow, to rain, to wind, to sun.
The Dutch are firm believers in equality in all spheres of life. Nobody has an undue advantage over the other. Show-offs are not encouraged in any field.
Did you integrate and adjust smoothly with the Dutchies?
Yes, being surrounded by extremely friendly Dutch neighbours & neighbourhood. Everyone speaks English which made integration easy.
Please tell us your important TIP(s) when coming to The Netherlands
NL is extremely friendly country but in case you are coming from east then be prepared for some die hard Dutch direct way of communication / Humour.
Dutch are very straight forward & honest people in my observation. For those of you not yet in the know about the Dutch healthcare system, doctors in the Netherlands believe that everything can be cured by Paracetamol and bread.
Rachel’s comment: Thank you very much!
Picture taken with the family @ Dachstein in Austria