Today’s Expat Spotlight interview is Angela Rhodes in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, an Earth Scientist who loves to explore the world.
- Name: Angela Rhodes
- Occupation: Looking for Work
- Current Location: Australia
- Originally From: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
- Expat Locations: Canada, Norway, The Netherlands
- Website: angelarhodes.blogspot.com
How did you become an expat, and why?
Both my partner (Mats) and I want to live in and discover new parts of the world, so in December last year after Mats’ studies in Sydney were completed we decided to move to London and work while we applied for masters programs for the following year at universities worldwide. As it turned out there was a hiring freeze in London and because it was expensive we decided to head south to Portugal to wait things out where at least it was cheap and warm. Since London seemed out of the question, we continued to look for work in all of Europe. Mats found an opportunity in Amsterdam and was flown here for an interview and offered a position a couple of days later.
Our plan was spontaneous and not entirely thought through, of course moving overseas is easier when you plan and line up employment before you leave, but for us it was an adventure worth jumping into. It was so random to end up in Amsterdam – a city neither of us even thought of moving to before. Now that we’re here and that we love it, we consider ourselves incredibly lucky to have ended up in such a fantastic part of the world that we would never have ended up in if we weren’t flexible and had planned every detail. We are enjoying Amsterdam so much that masters degrees have been put on hold for now so we can continue enjoying life here.
Where else have you been an expat?
Canada – While doing my BSc. in Sydney I was selected to be the first student ambassador to do an exchange with the University of Waterloo, which is located about an hour from Toronto.
Norway – Mats is Norwegian so we spent some time living in Oslo last year.
Best piece of expat advice you’ve received?
Before I moved to Canada for my student exchange, a very wise professor of mine told me “It’s true when they say that the more rocks you’ve seen, the better geologist you are”. A little piece of academic advice, but the tone in his voice and the look in his eye told me that this was true in many aspects of life, when we leave our borders, when we see and discover more we also learn more, we grow and we better ourselves.
Best piece of expat advice you’d give?
- Do not judge or criticise others’ way of life.
- Explore and be curious.
- Think of everything as a learning experience.
- Remember that it’s not always easy.
Favorite expat related web sites?
- Google translator – I actually use this more than I like to admit. But if you move to a non english speaking country, you will find this a very, very valuable tool.
- Time Out magazine – Fantastic for finding what’s happening in your new city.
- Meetup.com – A good starting place to make new friends when you’re new to a country.
Are you planning or dreaming of a move? Are you going home instead? Where to and why?
Although right now I am enjoying Amsterdam so much that my desire to move is pretty much non existent, my ultimate expressed goal is to one day live in Hawaii. Hawaii is my dream not only because it is a beautiful tropical paradise where I can surf every morning and snorkel every afternoon, but also because it’s geologically active. I majored in geology with a minor in geophysics and want to one day be able to help people using the experience I’m gaining in GIS/mapping to work with geological hazard risk assessment, management and mitigation.
Among Hawaii, I would love to spend a year in Hong Kong or Singapore to get a taste of a city way out of my cultural sphere, other parts of the US such as Florida or California which offer fantastic opportunities to develop my career, and Svalbard to get a taste of life on the adventurous side!
I don’t know if I will make it to all or any of these places, or what other new places I will find along the way, what I do know for sure at this moment in time though, is that I don’t see myself ever going back “home” – because Sydney, Australia never really felt like a home to me, I see no reason to go back.
Tell us more about what you do in your location?
At the moment I am looking for full time work related to my degree and my career goals, I am also working on launching a geology related website to keep myself active in my field. Professional details aside, I am living life the way the Dutch do and enjoying every single ‘gezellig’ moment of it – from growing a little garden of flowers on my balcony, meeting new friends over coffee in our local hot spots, having long conversations with the bar tenders of our favourite bars, getting to know the locals, hosting dinner parties, reading a book as my Dutch cat sits in my lap, strolling through the streets and along the canals, exploring the local markets, finding inspiration to paint again, enjoying a Dutch beer on our balcony while listening to the chitter chatter of people in our local bar downstairs, photographing everything, riding my bike all around town – all the way to trying to get my head around the Dutch language.
Would you recommend your current location to other expats? Does it rock or does it suck?
For me Amsterdam is a fantastic, friendly, buzzing and beautiful city in the heart of the world that has a common sense approach and works. The liberal and rational attitudes make living easy and laid back. Best of all although it’s densely populated the city hasn’t lost it’s small town feel which makes socialising and being a part of the community here so easy and so rewarding. I have visited many cities in many countries and Amsterdam blows them all out of the water.
What is the expat community like where you are?
There is a very big and active expat community here and because most the time a certain type of person is drawn to Amsterdam I have found almost every other expat I have met shares the same liberal, un-judgemental, optimistic attitudes as I do. For this reason I think it’s easy to make plenty of friends amongst the expat community here. If you’re heading to Amsterdam or The Netherlands I really recommend you check out meetup.com, the expat community is very active on there and best of all it’s free!
Anything you’d like to add?
The expat life is one of the most beautiful and one of the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences you’ll live. Enjoy the ride!
Thank you, Angela, for participating in our Expat Spotlight! We wish you success and happiness in your current location, and wherever your dreams and business endeavors take you.