20 September 2016

Olga Mecking - Expat in The Netherlands

Olga Mecking - Expat in The Netherlands

We’ve had the chance to talk to Olga Mecking, 32, a Polish expat who has moved to Netherlands with her family. Mrs. Mecking who has been living there for five years, now works as a housewife, translator, and writer.

Read more about her experiences in the full interview below.


Q: What made you move out of Poland?

A: First, it was a student exchange programme called Socrates Erasmus. I went to Hamburg, Germany and met my husband there. Then, I followed him to Canada, Germany and now to the Netherlands.


Q: How did you come to choose this new country of residence?

A: My husband found work at an international organisation.


Q: How long have you been living in Netherlands?

A: Five years.


Q: What has been the most difficult experience you've had when you were new in Netherlands?

A: I think it was becoming a mother which coincided with my move to the Netherlands. My eldest daughter and I came here when she was six weeks old. Other things I struggled with was the healthcare- very hands-off it took me some getting used to.


Q: Would you say that formalities like getting visas or work permits and international health insurance were particularly difficult in Netherlands? What was your experience with these?

A: I suppose I am an EU citizen, all the formalities were rather easy. I don’t need a work permit and was automatically insured by my husband’s employer.


Q: Was it easy making friends and meeting people? Do you mainly socialise with other expats in Netherlands? How did you manage to find a social circle in Netherlands?

A: I reached out to expat parenting groups in my area and made friends. Yes, pretty much all my friends are expats or Dutch wives of expat men. It isn’t easy as a foreigner to make friends with locals because everyone has an established social circle and it is more difficult to make friends as an adult.


Q: What are the best things to do in the area? Anything to recommend to future expats?

A: The Netherlands are extremely child-friendly, and there is a lot to do, both for families, singles and couples.


Q: How does the cost of living in Netherlands compared to your home?

A: It is more expensive than both Poland and Germany.

  • How much is a cup of coffee?

A: 2 euro-2.50.

  • How much is a meal in an inexpensive restaurant?

A: Around 11 euro.

  • How much is a meal in an expensive restaurant?

A: 20 euro or more for the main dish.

  • How much is a bottle of wine? How about a pack of cigarettes?

A: I don’t buy wine that often and I don’t smoke so I have no idea.


Q: What do you think about the locals?

A: The Dutch are usually seen as very rude but are in fact extremely friendly and nice. They always help me out, smile at me when I’m out with the children. They are also not afraid to say what they mean, and it makes living here very refreshing.


Q: What do you think are the positive and negative sides of living in Netherlands?

A: The positive sides: quality of life, the Netherlands are a beautiful country, the sights to see and the things to experience. The negative sides: homesickness


Q: Do you miss home and family sometimes?

A: Yes, definitely. I will always be torn between Poland, Germany and the Netherlands.


Q: How do you cope with homesickness?

A: I try to see my family regularly and preferably go to Warsaw to see family and friends.


Q: Do you have plans to move to a different country or back home in the future?

A: I don’t think so. We like it here, and we are planning to stay.


Q: What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?

A: Probably the time I had the police called on me because my big girl had a temper tantrum.


Q: Do you have favourite websites or blogs about Netherlands?

A: Yes, I run a blog called The European Mama. It is not only about the Netherlands, but more about living abroad, raising children, multilingualism and travelling. I also share a lot of recipes.