Sunday, April 19, 2009

Cristina Corduneanu in the Hot Seat - Interview with an Expat

Cristina (Serni) Corduneanu was born in Romania and lived under the communist regime a great part of her life. During those years, she wondered how freedom felt. She found the answer living in the Netherlands. Travelling the path of self-discovery, and living through culture shock led her to photography, her lifetime passion.

How long have you been living in the Netherlands?
It feels like an eternity because so many things happened – in fact it’s just 5 years.

What brought you initially to the Netherlands?
I was on my back from UK and decided to visit a good friend. It felt good and because I was in between jobs I decided to stay.

What is your profession?
My basic education is engineering but now I have my own company that provides photographic services. I started with horse photography, which is still my favourite, and now I also do photography for websites, companies and product photography.

What is the main difference between your country of origin and the Netherlands?
If we speak about the country itself then it’s the variety of the landscape. My country of origin has mountains, sea, hills and lots of forest – I miss them all. As for the people, Romanians are warmer and more welcoming than Dutch. Hospitality - it’s a word to define ourselves in Romania.
What was the most surprising adjustment you needed to make when moving to the Netherlands?
It was a phase of the culture shock, which I was not aware of. I had to learn to communicate with Dutch people, in their way of communication, not mine.

What would you miss most about the Netherlands if you were to leave tomorrow?
The Dutch mentality (hands-on) and the way people respect each other.

What do you like least about the Netherlands?
The lack of space. Too many people, too many cars, too little nature.

What is your favourite Dutch word?
Kakkerlakken – for me it sounds very funny. It means cockroaches. Happily, there are not many of them in the Netherlands.

How would you describe the Dutch people?
Quickly adjusting to new situations (see the economic crisis), open-minded, unpretentious regarding comfort, goal oriented, born networkers.

Do you have any blogs or websites that you find enjoyable about the Netherlands for people living here? - I am the community manager. I have made many friends there and we have a lot of activities like: weekly coffee meetings, Yoga and jewellery making workshops, walking, clown training, fitness and photography trips and many others. It’s great fun!

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