Thursday, July 10, 2008

People People Everywhere, and Not a One I Know...

Moving to a new country, away from family and friends, away from a life you have built up takes a lot of courage. It can be thrilling, there is no doubt about that; meeting new people, creating a new career, experiencing new cultures and learning a new language. It can also be extremely daunting. The key is to get out there and mingle!

There are a number of ways to meet new people who are in the same boat. An expat friend of mine, recently relocated to Ireland, has combined one of her passions with the desire to get to know new people - she has joined a book club. Another friend, not long after becoming a mother, set up a toddler group in her host country Belgium.

From personal experience I know that the Internet can be a treasure chest. I have found other English speaking mothers where I live using expatriate forums and a Dutch site for 'stay at home' mums.

Author, Jo Parfitt, swears by networking. She told me in a recent interview that one of the first thing she does when she moves to a new country is join a professional network, like Connecting Women which is a Hague based organisation.

Here are a few ideas for expanding that social and business network when you land on the watery shores of The Netherlands:

  • Join a Parent & Toddler group, and if you cannot find one then start up your own (Parenting in Holland website has a good national overview)
  • Women's Professional Networks

  • Spouse networks (like the Global Outpost services of Shell)

  • Voluntary work (Access is a good place to start in the Hague or Amsterdam areas)

  • Book clubs or reading groups (Check out The American Book Center in the Hague and Amsterdam)

  • Maternity classes (Access offer English language prenatal courses)

  • Sports clubs

  • Expat forums

  • Expat groups (see the list of clubs and groups on Expatica)

  • Take a language course

  • Get involved at your children's school with after school activities

  • Indulge your hobby - join a choir, a photography or art group

  • Sign up for an evening class

  • Local libraries have ''story time'' sessions for the children - a win win. Junior is happy and you meet other parents in the area

If you have other ideas you would like to share, or a personal experience that may help others get out and meet new people drop me a line at

No comments:

Post a Comment