American Expat Living in The Netherlands - Interview with Kate

Published: 14 May at 9 AM
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Filed: Interviews,Netherlands
An American/British expat living in The Netherlands, sharing music and travel adventures. Discovering my roots in this country and making it a part of my own life history. Kate's expat blog is called The Globetrotting Guitarist (see listing here)

Spring appearing by the Martinitoren, Groningen
Spring appearing by the Martinitoren, Groningen

Here's the interview with Kate...

Where are you originally from?
Colorado, USA

In which country and city are you living now?
Groningen, Netherlands

How long have you lived in Netherlands and how long are you planning to stay?
About two months. Planning to stay for a year or more.

Why did you move to Netherlands and what do you do?
To be nearer to my Dutch family (mother's side) and to teach English.

Did you bring family with you?

How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
I love how each day is new and exciting. Things take longer at first because of sorting out the different way of doing things and a new language. It is fun, exhausting, and renews self confidence.

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
Taking a language course helped me to meet new people almost immediately. I socialise with both expats and locals.

What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
Groningen's markets are wonderful to explore. It is also a beautiful city; walking along the canals is lovely for a clear day. Most cafe's are little gems, hidden in amongst retail shops. Those on the Grote Markt are some of the best for eating and drinking. It is also a very musical city - plenty of bands or live music to find on a weekend. In summertime the parks open up to festivals both large and small.

What do you enjoy most about living in Netherlands?
It is a very international city, full of students from all over the world. It makes it a very open place; different cultures are constantly being shared. It is also a pleasant city to wander around.

How does the cost of living in Netherlands compare to home?
For where I live (practically the city centre) and how accessible things like shops, pubs and entertainment venues are, it seems cheaper to live here. Eating out is expensive, but the food is always good quality.

What negatives, if any, are there to living in Netherlands?
Groningen is somewhat isolated in the north of the Netherlands, so getting to a decent international airport takes two or more hours.

If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving to Netherlands, what would it be?
When looking to rent a room or house, be mindful of the ever helpful "makelaar"(real estate agent) - the fees are outrageous. Take your time in finding a place as in the end it is worth it.

What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
Getting around the real estate agent fees and organising insurance. The official wording can make it more difficult in a second language.

When you finally return home, how do you think you'll cope with repatriation?
I've lived abroad for most of my adult life; home is no longer where I am "from". However, having dealt with repatriation once before, it isn't an easy thing. Living the expat lifestyle is a privilege and a wonderful experience. It can sometimes be hard for others who haven't lived abroad to understand this upon your return.

What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
  1. Give yourself plenty of time to find a decent place to live.
  2. Try everything at least once; you might find something you really enjoy.
  3. A language course can be quite useful, and it is a great way to meet new people when you first arrive. Using the local language is both fun and handy.
  4. Through social media sights you can keep up with what is happening around town or meet ups. It's another great way to meet people and to find out what the locals are up to.
  5. Often you are as interesting to locals as locals are to you. Share your cultures.
Tell us a bit about your own expat blog.
The Globetrotting Guitarist is a blog that covers the exploration and discoveries of a musician in a new country. I look at small things like certain foods, but also cultural ideals that shape the Netherlands. Trying to fit in and create my own path is an adventure. Living here is an exciting new chapter in my globetrotting life.

How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
Via twitter or email

About the author

Expat Blog ListingKate is an American expat living in Netherlands. Blog description: A British/American expat living in the Netherlands and travelling around Europe, sharing her music with others.
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