We find that it's exciting to know about what motivates our volunteers, what brings them to the Netherlands, how they adapt to life here, and what they’ve learned from their experiences in a country that's become their new home. In this interview, Adista, a native of Jakarta, shares some of her thoughts on life in her adopted country, the challenges of being a trailing spouse, and some tips for anyone planning to move to the Netherlands.
What brought you to the Netherlands?
I first came to the Netherlands back in 2007 to pursue my master’s degree in Groningen and I was also doing research in Cambridge, England. During my studies I met my husband - we were classmates. After our studies, we decided to get married and settle down in The Hague.
What is your educational and professional background?
I did my bachelor’s degree in economics with financial accounting as my major. I also have a Master of Business Administration (MBA) and a Master of Science (MSc) in Business Economics. In the past, I worked for one of the big four accounting firms in Indonesia, a American FMCG company, and an international market research company in Amsterdam. Now I am an entrepreneur managing my own graphic design business.
What is your role at ACCESS?
I started at the help desk and I was involved in an information mapping project for the ACCESS information guides. The help desk shifts helped me a lot in dealing with everyday expat life and gaining knowledge about life in The Netherlands.
After a couple of months, I transferred to the Volunteer Resources Department and the Finance Department. With support from my colleagues, I followed my guts and decided to dedicate all my time to working in the Finance Department.
How do you benefit from being an ACCESS volunteer?
In the beginning, I had so much fun as a student and every day was a new adventure. I did not experience culture shock, but after a few years I began feeling homesick. I missed the sunshine, friends, family, my social life, and much more. Being an ACCESS volunteer helped me to regain my social life and I met many people that could empathize with my situation. ACCESS is like my second family; I’ve made many friends from all over the world and learned a lot about different cultures and people’s life stories.
What did you like most about living in the Netherlands?
Cycling is absolutely fantastic here! The reasons are: the bicycle paths are well-planned, waiting for public transportation is somewhat time-consuming, and cycling is simply healthy!
What are your top 3 tips for anyone moving here?
- Learn the Dutch language
- Volunteering is a great way to meet people, make friends and discover more about the Netherlands
- Don’t take things personally, let it be. Dutch people are very direct and pragmatic.
What is your favourite Dutch word or phrase?
Alles komt goed!