Integrating into a new society is difficult, but Canadian Paolo Patafie has learned that a positive approach makes it easier!
Profession: Technical Solutions Engineer, and has lived in Eindhoven for one year.
What is your favorite motto and what is its significance?
"Work hard, play harder"; I've seen too many workaholics (my father and various colleagues) and I've come to realize that you can work hard, but after all the hour you put in, you should definitely find some play time too! Healthy mind in a healthy body, keep your sanity, you only live once; I'll stop with the clichés. It helps that I love sports and a good sweat takes away a lot of day to day stress.
Is there anything that you wish you knew before moving here?
Procedures on getting your life started here on the right foot. I.E. get a doctor, dentist, driver's license, bank account, local church, citizen card ... basic admin stuff that we take for granted back home but we assume our employers are looking at for us since they are doing just that getting us here in the first place.
What is your best piece of advice for other expats?
Get out of your shell. Meet/connect with ex-pats & the locals you live with as they can guide you in the right direction so you can find comfort living in a new town faster rather than later on.
What was your first impression of the Southeast Netherlands?
Besides being flat, people love their bicycles! ... Walking out of the first hotel I stayed at, I almost got run over by a bicycle as I was "unknowingly" on the bike path.
Did you experience culture shock?
Yes I did, but it is mostly when people are speaking Dutch to me and I'm not at the point of understanding well yet. But changing some of my shopping habits has been hard.
What do you miss most from home?
Besides my family & friends, following the NHL and NFL seasons live and at a decent hour.
If you had to leave the Southeast Netherlands tomorrow, what would you miss?
The life I've built here and the people I've met that have made my time here very memorable.
Are you a member of any international organizations or clubs?
Besides the Hub, Honkbal & Softball Club Nuenen
Is the Southeast Netherlands international?
Yes and no, it depends on who you hang out with. But in general, yes people are International. It also helps that most Dutch speak pretty good English.
What is missing in the Southeast Netherlands?
In my mind, Mountains as I love to see them, but I cannot change the layout here.
What is your favorite part about living in this part of the Netherlands?
Eindhoven is a physically small town but with big town feel. Rare will you be caught in heavy traffic in the city; unless it's snowing!
If you could go back in time, to before you moved here, would you still move?
Yes! I'd be better prepared and tell my company that speaking Dutch is needed and not to depend on "everybody speaks English there!"
What is your favorite thing to do in the Netherlands over the weekend?
Sports (honkbal, bouldering, trekking, etc), enjoying leisurely activities, social outings, day & weekend traveling.
Anything else you'd like to share with our readers?
Integrating into a new society is difficult, but if you have a positive approach, the integration will be easier than always crying about the differences. You accepted to move here, be a good citizen and adapt positively and smile at the differences. Positivity attracts good people and it makes integrating to the new society easier. Nobody likes a complainer; in any language!