Expat interview: Make your own business opportunities in the Netherlands
You can create your own business opportunities in the Netherlands, to which expat author and cultural centre founder Beata Bruggeman-Sekowska can attest, as long as you don't have a 'pre-programmed vision' she says.
Living in the Netherlands can open up numerous job opportunities, even if it means starting your own business. Just ask expat Beata Bruggeman-Sekowska, who now works as an international journalist, author, media commentator, director of the Central and Eastern Europe Center, sworn translator and lecturer in the Netherlands.
What motivated you to establish the first and only Central and Eastern Europe Centre in the Netherlands?
I know that only by learning about other languages and culture can we learn how to respect others. The purpose of our activity is to promote the region of the CEE in the Netherlands and internationally since this region has so much to offer and still so little is known about its potential. There are still stereotypes that shape the opinions about the CEE and our role is to present facts, inform and change the negative thinking. Via our publications we also promote places in the Netherlands and especially the beautiful region of Limburg, which has so much to offer internationally. Our centre cooperates with embassies, governmental organisations universities and media, plus we have our own CEE channel. We take media patronage over important international events and I am a member of board or advisor of various international initiatives.
So your intention is to bring people and cultures together?
Yes, indeed! I try to stress that we should not concentrate on the differences among cultures and people nor see differences as obstacles. There are many things that we – no matter where we come from – have in common and our diversity is an asset. Otherwise we would not feel free nor become part of the society wherever we are. In order to understand another culture, another nation or another person we need to take off ‘'the glasses' of our own experience and habits. Then we have to look at the person again without a pre-programmed vision.
Let me finish my answer with the beautiful quote: ‘’It is our responsibility to promote peace, freedom, democracy, solidarity and prosperity, both in Europe and beyond. United in the European Union, seeing our diversity as our strength, we will continue this task.”– Joint statement on Europe Day 9 May 2015 by Donald Tusk and the members of the European Council.
What about your background? How did you end up living in the Netherlands?
I was raised dually in a communist Poland, where I got propaganda lessons at school while the real teaching was at home when my parents taught me how the world really was. I also have Armenian blood and roots in Lvov, which is part of Ukraine. I wanted to know why totalitarian systems existed. From that moment I was fascinated by intercultural communication, politics, languages, culture and psychology, which gave me a feeling of freedom. I followed English and American Studies at Warsaw University and later also completed post-master studies in journalism.
Communism in the meantime collapsed; my parents established the first medical clinic in Poland and my father was asked to become a minister of healthcare in Poland. I started working for the Warsaw University as a lecturer and a journalist for the Public Polish TV. Then I met the love of my life – from the Netherlands.
When I came to the Netherlands I realised I could finally put into action everything I learned about helping others. I founded Communications-Unlimited, an international multidisciplinary company comprising the following departments:
- Publishing House
- Central and Eastern Europe Centre
- International Journalism and PR Centre
- Language and Translation Centre
- Business and Tourism
My company is supported by an advisory board which consists of respected and well-known international representatives of the political, business and culture world. I am also a lecturer at Zuyd University of Applied Sciences where I can contribute with my broad international background to the intercultural awareness of young Dutch people.
What inspired you to write seven language books – in Dutch, English, Polish, Romanian, Russian?
I decided to write language books to help foreigners consciously coexist in the society. I remember giving birth to my first child in a Dutch hospital and how it was not that easy to communicate due to the emotions and all the feelings you experience in such a moment. Therefore I thought I needed to write medical language books to help other mothers, so my book Medisch Pools, Medisch Nederlands (Dutch-Polish Medical Terminology) was created.
Now I am an author of seven books plus various articles and interviews, including interviews with politicians and diplomats, and a commentator for Polish and Dutch media.
My activities intend to bring people together and help them feel free. I promote Poland, CEE region and the Netherlands internationally since I know that only by learning about other languages and culture we can learn how to respect others.
My books are available in all Dutch and Belgium bookstores, plus at bol.com:
- Business Polish for the Dutch: Zakelijk Pools voor Nederlanders
- Polish and Dutch Medical Terminology: Medisch Pools, Medisch Netherlands
- Russian and Dutch Business Vocabulary: Zakelijk Russisch, Zakelijk Netherlands
- Romanian and Dutch Business Terminology: Zakelijk Roemeens, Zakelijk Netherlands
- Polish and Dutch Business Terminology: Zakelijk Pools, Zakelijk Netherlands, thematische woordenschat voor iedereen is an expanded book consisting of more than 200 pages of practical vocabulary for business situations in Dutch and Polish.
- Russian-Dutch Medical Terminology: Medisch Russisch, Medisch Nederlands
- Facility Management and Construction. English and Dutch terminology: Facility Management en Bouwkunde. Engelse en Nederlandse terminologie consists of almost 200 pages of important, field-oriented terms for specialists, teachers, students and anybody who is related to facility management and the construction sector.
Beata Bruggeman-Sekowska / Expatica
Comment here on the article, or if you have a suggestion to improve this article, please click here.