De uitdagingen van wonen en werken in het buitenland

You really like it after you study in another country. Chances are it will be a fun, educational and adventurous experience, but it is advisable to take a number of things into account.

Extreme cultural differences

As you probably know, there are things in each country that are slightly different than you are used to in the Netherlands. But the differences in culture can also be so great that it can have unpleasant consequences for you, then we speak of a culture shock. For example, you cannot adapt to the way of life, standards and values ​​of the country. You may then feel uncomfortable and insecure. But such a culture shock can also occur on return. For example, you have just felt very comfortable in the country where you have worked for a long period and you have completely adapted to the environment. When you return to the Netherlands you have to switch again. Good preparation is therefore important not only before you leave, but also when you are about to return to the Netherlands.

Eventual risks

Working abroad can entail certain risks. Here too it depends on which country you choose to go to. It is advisable not only to find out any cultural differences or economic differences, but also, for example, the weather conditions. For example, if you go to the tropics, you have to take into account the presence of various insects and parasites. Extreme drought (for example, desert) or cold (for example, ice) can entail other risks.

Not every country offers the same quality of medical care as the Netherlands. In certain places it will not even be present at all. So make sure that you have had the necessary vaccinations in advance and that you have good insurance. Do you want extra reassurance? Then you could join the IAMAT (International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers). This non-profit association operates in 125 countries with qualified physicians. Prevention is always better than cure. So also watch what you eat and drink. The method of preparation of food may differ from that of the Netherlands. Also, not every stomach can cope with tap water. So, especially in the beginning, choose to prepare your own food or choose a restaurant carefully and just buy your bottled water in the store.

Away from home

Accepting a job abroad usually also means staying away from your home and family for a long period of time. We all know homesickness. It is not or difficult to estimate in advance whether you will experience “homesickness”. Often you are so excited before you leave and are busy arranging your affairs that you don’t have time to think about it. Only after you have been at the destination for a while and it has calmed down, can the feelings of homesickness emerge. They often fade away automatically when you are working and you realize that you are really enjoying yourself.

It is advisable to always appoint someone in your area as a contact person to your family in the Netherlands. This person can be a colleague or close friend. In case of calamity, this person can reach your family, but also the other way around, people can reach the contact in case they, for whatever reason, cannot contact you.