Expat Voices: Jessalyn on living in Rotterdam
Australian expat Jessalyn appreciates the opportunity to meet a whirlwind of different people from all over the world.
Country of residence: The Netherlands
How long have you lived here? One year
City of residence: Rotterdam
Date of birth: 31 May 1988
Occupation: Cocktail Waitress
Reason for moving to your new country of residence: Adventure. Also, I previously did an exchange program for half a year.
What was your first impression of the Netherlands?
At first I found it really difficult to fit in. It was so cold and grey all the time, however, there was clearly something that drew me back to the place! Maybe the ease of travel between cities and the ability to find beach, forest and city all in one place!
What do you think of the food?
There is a lot of international cuisine here in the Netherlands, so finding something to suit your taste is easy. I do love stroopwaffels, poffertjes and bitterballen though.
What do you think of the shopping?
It depends on what city you go to for shopping. I love shopping in Amsterdam! There is so much choice from all the biggest stores, as well as a number of smaller boutiques. It is easy to find something basic, as well as something a little different if I want to.
What do you appreciate about living in the Netherlands?
The ability to meet a whirlwind of different people from all over the world -- especially in Rotterdam! I've managed to find a variety of people with different backgrounds, lifestyles and reasons for being here in Holland.
What do you find most frustrating about living in the Netherlands?
Not being able to speak the language. Although I am learning, it still takes time. The Dutch are very polite and are mostly happy to speak English with you, but on the other hand, you want to practice your Dutch too!
What puzzles you the most and what do you miss the most since you've moved here?
How a country that seems so free can also be so divided both culturally and socially. I find that people tend to stick to their 'groups' quite closely. And I miss the weather back home since moving here!
How does the quality of life here compare to the quality of life in other countries that you've lived in?
I've only ever lived here in NL and in Australia, and I find the quality of life about the same. Although some things differ, both countries provide support for their citizens.
If you could change anything about the Netherlands, what would it be?
What advice would you give to a newcomer?
To anyone moving anywhere new, I would advise them to join a group, a sport or some hobby so you can meet people. I believe your experience is really based upon socialising with others -- it doesn't matter if you are in the most beautiful and exciting city in the world or in the drabbest hole, if you have good people around you, you'll have a good time!
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