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You Never Know What’s Waiting for You Around the Next Corner
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This post belongs to category: Expat life in the Netherlands

You never know what’s waiting for you around the next corner


Old suitcases

You might be excited or anxious when you leave your country. These feelings come from your thoughts about the new culture, new language, new weather, new food etc. that are waiting for you.

Before you arrive, you can never imagine what life is really like there. You might get a lot of advice or information from your friends or on the Internet. But, you may also come to realize that not all that information is right to you and your situation.


First Impressions

It has been over a year and a half since I came to the Netherlands. I didn’t really have any purpose at that time. I didn’t have many expectations either because I thought to myself “The more you expect, the more you will be disappointed”. If survival can be a purpose, then I would say that is the one I pursued.

At the beginning, I had to find a house to live in. It was quite difficult to find a house which matched my expectations. But finally, I found one. However, a few months later, the electricity and gas were cut off due to a mistake made by the utility company. I had to stay at a hotel without any compensation and what’s more, when they reconnected the electricity and gas, they charged me for the reconnection. I couldn’t do anything but pay for it because I didn’t want the electricity and gas to be cut off again.

Going through this kind of experience made my life in the Netherlands become a bit gloomy. And the Dutch weather only made me feel more depressed.

Finding the Bright Side

Ducks on waterIf you only read up to here, you might think I have a negative view of this country. But I don’t know yet, I still turn corners and stumble across things I didn’t expect.

Luckily, one of my strengths is being able to find meaningful and joyful activities even when I am having a hard time. For me, these are cycling and feeding the birds. The air in the Netherlands is so clean and fresh, and the infrastructure for cycling is great. My country, on the other hand, has a poor environment for cycling. Cycling regularly makes me feel refreshed and I get to see many different kinds of bird.

I purposely leave some bread aside after eating and go to the canals to feed the birds. This has become my happy routine. If feeding the birds is prohibited, I hope someone will let me know before I get a fine.

As my last piece of advice, I would like to say to anyone coming to the Netherlands – “Learn how to ride a bicycle and be ready to make new (bird) friends”.

Jee Hoon Lee, Kickstart Student

 What our students say about us

  • My experience with Kickstart has been highly beneficial in both developing language skills and improving my knowledge of the Dutch culture. Josien's support is always spot on and very intuitive in relation to personal circumstances. She spends a lot more than the official time allocated to really get to know her clients and her approach is customised accordingly. She was recommended to me by other Shell colleagues who expressed the same sentiment and I was fortunate enough to benefit from this during the time I spent with her.

    Vennasa van de Ven, Migration Manager working at Shell

  • Entering the Kickstart school premises alone gives you a push of energy and the commitment this will help to create is hardly unmatched in any other language school. The methodology and the approach used in the lessons also helps smoothly unlock the secrets of everyday Dutch. Kickstart School has helped me get in touch with the 'undutchable' culture of the Netherlands and its people. The individual language training I could experience at Kickstart School has been one of the best educational experiences I could have in Europe.

    Alessandro d’Addario, European Law Enforcement 

  • I really enjoyed my English lessons with the Kickstart School. The teacher was professional and really knew the subject. The way they teach is also great! The classes are presented in a clear and professional manner and the online exercises completed at home are very helpful. The teacher always provided useful feedback. It's a great experience to join a Kickstart course with such a friendly atmosphere of students and teachers.

    Beatriz Pedroche, Spain 

  • Kickstart has been the ideal place for me to learn. The teachers are very helpful and friendly and have always gone the "extra mile" to help me learn in a positive way. Their teaching is practical with elements that can immediately be applied to everyday living situations. Included in the lessons are cultural aspects of living in the Netherlands that make learning Dutch dynamic and fun; you learn the language and about the place and the people! The teachers took an active interest in my progress and provided valuable customized sessions that maintained my strengths and developed my weaknesses; all in a patient, fun and friendly style.

    Graeme Ting, dentist from New Zealand 

  • My first contact with Kickstart School was after 1 month of living in The Netherlands, when I started to study Dutch. At the time I didn’t have any knowledge of the language, but with their courses organized by levels I developed important language skills and learned about the Dutch culture. They all do a great job at Kickstart because their motto it’s not just a motto – they are really pleased to teach you. You learn a language in a friendly atmosphere, make new friends from all over the world, and all in a cosy building right in the heart of The Hague.

    Anca Boros, mathematics and physics teacher from Romania

  • During my time with Kickstart I have learned a lot and gained confidence. I was always challenged by the interesting assignments, but never too much. I have really enjoyed the classes!

    Sabine de Bruijn, Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

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