Today’s Expat Spotlight interview is Kira Nijenhuis, a Social Networker and repatriate to The Netherlands who is “living her dream.”
- Name: Kira Nijenhuis
- Occupation: Social Networker
- Current Location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
- Originally From: The Netherlands
- Expat Locations: South Africa, Curacao, Hong Kong
- Blog: blog.cosmo-polite.com
- Twitter: @cosmo_polite
How did you become an expat, and why?
As a baby sister of a race car driver, I toured around Europe not to miss a race. I felt more at home on the track with all the international teams, than in rural Netherlands. Age 7 I knew it: I am a global citizen, not a Dutch girl.
Where else have you been an expat?
I took the first opportunity to leave the country at age 16 and moved to Cape Town, South Africa as an exchange student.
The second opportunity arose when I was a student at the International Hotelschool. I moved to Curacao, Dutch Antilles, for a traineeship at beach resort.
The third opportunity lead to me moving to Hong Kong to work for Le Meridien Hotel. In Hong Kong I got into the expat crowd and finally found friends who are like me: ambitious and fun-loving.
What was to be my permanent move out of the country, got postponed due to personal reasons. In that waiting period my business took off in Amsterdam and befriended many international, like-minded people.
Now I’m really happy, living the expat life in my home country.
Best piece of expat advice you’ve received?
I’m afraid no one said something smart to you. I have lived life looking forward, but not looking back does not prove to be the ‘key of success’. So I welcome smart advice!
Best piece of expat advice you’d give?
Be open-minded and enjoy the ride!
Favorite expat related web sites?
Asmallworld is useful to find out where to live/go, and to find some people to hang out with.
Are you planning or dreaming of a move? Are you going home instead? Where to and why?
I hope to be able to escape Dutch winters, by living 3 months in the Alps and 3 months on a vineyard in South Africa.
Tell us more about what you do in your location?
I bring together expats in Amsterdam. I host events, all with a social undertone. It is great fun to meet international people and to introduce them to like-minded individuals. The ambiance is always open and social. Many friendships were born within my network. Making others happy is what makes me happy.
I also love wining and dining, and I keep my network up to date about where to go. Did you know that the city beach club, Strand Zuid, is already open?
Would you recommend your current location to other expats? Does it rock or does it suck?
Amsterdam is a global village. You either love or hate the small town feel.
It is very international though; there are many expats and you can get anything from Mongolian food to Austrian wine. To escape the city is easy, either you bike down the Amstel to Oudekerk a/d Amstel, or you fly from Schiphol to any European city you desire.
What is the expat community like where you are?
The Dutch social culture is a bit particular. As a result, the expat community is quite well-connected and hence perceived as small. Still, there are an estimated 40.000 expats in town. Some cultures, like the Italian, stick together, but most groups of expat friends are pretty multicultural.
Anything you’d like to add?
Amsterdam, Hong Kong, and any other place in the world… it is as fun as you make it. You do have to get out and do it yourself.
In Amsterdam it’s easy to find your way, just visit my blog and you’ll find plenty to do.
Thank you, Kira 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.