Sunday, July 19, 2009

Stephanie Ward in the Hot Seat - Interview with an Expat

Having spent over a decade living amongst the Dutch, Stephanie Ward is very much a seasoned expatriate. Originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma, Stephanie also lived in Texas and Ohio prior to making the Netherlands her home. She is a marketing coach who is passionate about helping small businesses grow, setting up her own company, Firefly Coaching, in 2002.

How long have you been living in the Netherlands?
I took a one-way flight here on January 25th, 1999.

What brought you initially to the Netherlands?
It was for love and we’re still going strong.

What is your profession?
I’m a Marketing Coach for Entrepreneurs. I started my own business, Firefly Coaching (, in 2002. I help small business owners get clear about their business so they can attract more clients and be more profitable.

The majority of my clients are expats from a multitude of nationalities and over half of them are women. I also have some fabulous Dutch clients.

What is the main difference between your country of origin and the Netherlands?
The directness of the Dutch. At first, I was a bit shocked by it and now I’m used to it and actually appreciate it. In fact, I’ve told my friends ‘back home’ if I say something that bothers them to please let me know. I’m afraid I’ve become Dutch in that way.

What was the most surprising adjustment you needed to make when moving to the Netherlands?
Getting used to the shops closing so early and being closed on Sunday.

What would you miss most about the Netherlands if you were to leave tomorrow?
Riding my bicycle for transportation, I love it!

What do you like least about the Netherlands?
People pushing their way to the front (of any line or when trying to get on the train) and acting like they don’t see you as they do it.

What is your favourite Dutch word?
When I first arrived two words I could actually pronounce, and were fun to say, became a staple in my vocabulary: super snel (very fast).

How would you describe the Dutch people?
Well educated, internationally oriented, camping fanatics (OK, not everyone but still), realistic, rationale, shrewd business people, world travelers (you can’t go on a holiday anywhere in the world without running into Dutchies).

Do you have any blogs or websites that you find enjoyable about the Netherlands for people living here?

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