My name is Bérénice and I am based at BioDetection Systems (BDS) in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. I am an early-stage researcher (ESR) from the PROTECTED project but also a part of this big adventure common for all ESRs: expatriation.
To pursue my scientific career, I decided to just turn the French flag to 90 degrees! Moving to the ‘Kingdom of the Low Countries’ was quite challenging even though it’s not that far from France. Let me explain!
First, the language! Dutch is really hard to understand, however you might find it easier if you have some German basis… which I don’t BUT if you listen very carefully, you can spot some French words 😊 Thankfully, 87% of Dutch people speak English as a second language and they are really good at it!
Second, lunch! Light lunch, early dinner… when it comes to food there are quite some particularities! In France we are used to take our time to eat, relax during lunch time, have a nice meal with fruits maybe a dessert… Forget about it! At noon in the Netherlands Dutch people will just grab a simple sandwich and go back to work – which I find really impressive. As a consequence, Dutch families can start eating dinner around or even before 6pm!
Last but not least, the weather! Don’t get me wrong, it is not always rainy in the Netherlands and they do have some really hot days during summer time. They also have wind, like anywhere else you might say. Here we are not talking about the classic breeze but about a strong wind ripping through the entire country! It is a direct consequence of having such a flat land but also a great advantage regarding wind power and sustainable energy 😊
Overall all these points might be challenging at first sight but they are also the reasons why living as an expat is that interesting and exciting!
Thanks for reading, stay tuned!