#5 Get Support: Have kids? Ask a Dutch neighbor to recommend a local babysitter or perhaps even a gastouder (“guest parents” that run in-home daycare, usually near your house) for extended periods. If you have small children under four, the “Mums and Toddlers” group hosts a bi-monthly meet up, so you can share tips and tricks with like-minded folks.
#6 Go Back to Work: While some trailing spouses didn’t anticipate working while living abroad, most of my friends and colleagues agree that going back to work is what made them feel truly integrated and fulfilled. Check out the Expat Spouses Initiative, which is a newly established group designed as a business networking group to help integrate internationals and Dutch folks returning from living abroad into the local, yet global work force.
#7 Take Dutch Lessons: Living in a foreign country is the perfect time to try something new, like learning another language. Dutch lessons will help you understand the world around you, but don’t expect miracles. It is a tough language, especially because many locals quickly switch to English during conversations, because about 90% of the working population speak English. So, not knowing Dutch is not a problem, as long as you are living and working in Eindhoven, but if you are in an outlying village things could be a little rough at first. If you plan to stay over a few years, I promise you it is worth the effort, the Dutch really appreciate it.
#8 Get in the Know: Last, but not least, check the “This is Eindhoven” website for upcoming events and check the Dutch News, e52 platform and the Eindhoven News for English language local news. And now, you are ready to go!
Have other tips or suggestions? Feel free to make comments to this post or contact me: Betsy Lindsey, Acceleration Manager, HighTechXL, firstname.lastname@example.org