“We know if we want to achieve something we have to do something, and maybe the original action plan doesn’t get you there, but a change in perspective and engaging with experts will bring you closer to success. Expat Spouses Initiative was one such influencer and a collaborator in my professional journey in The Netherlands.”- Andreea Parapuf
I have been living in the Netherlands for nine years. I first came in contact with Expat Spouses Initiative in 2015 at the conference Global City Eindhoven, where I was immediately enthralled by the vision and mission of ESI. At that time I was living in Nijmegen and I was doing an internship at the Ministry of Safety and Justice in the Hague, so I could not take part in many activities organized by ESI.
After finishing my Ph.D. in philosophy and my Master degree in Public administration, I found it surprisingly challenging to find a suitable job in the Netherlands. After a while, I moved to Tilburg and I decided to get in contact again with ESI. I was hoping that connecting with expat spouses and international migrants with similar stories would help open doors for me and motivate me to keep looking for a job. In my long search, I had almost given up the hope for a job that suited my education and experience and had settled for finding a job of any kind.
The thing that most impressed me when I attended the Community evening organized by ESI was the emphasis on following one’s dream path and dream job regardless of how tough and far those may seem at one point. “What would you like to do, what makes you happy?” asked ESI coach to each new member. That Community evening opened my eyes and reminded me to follow my dream. I was impressed with the empathy that ESI has for highly educated and qualified women that struggle to find a job. After the Community evening, I decided to volunteer for ESI. The time spent working with the ESI team was truly precious, it was the ideal combination of professionalism and family feeling.
ESI was my lucky charm. Soon after volunteering for them, I was invited to interviews and I found a job that suits both my ambitions and my experience.
Application Controls Support Engineer at Vanderlande
Successful people build each other up. They motivate, inspire and empower each other, that is what Expat Spouses Initiative is does. ESI has played a major role in my professional journey in The Netherlands – Arpita SARKHAR
Purposely choosing to quit your lavish career, leaving your family and your country behind just for love is a real challenge. To accomplish this you should be mindful, optimistic and self-motivated.
I was born and brought up in a small town called Vidisha in India. After completing my schooling in 2008, I moved to Bhopal city which is very near to my hometown to complete my Bachelors of Engineering in Information Technology. I was 21 years old when I completed my bachelors and moved to Bangalore, which is known as the IT hub of India, to search for a suitable job and got placed in Hewlett Packard in October 2012. I have grown from a naïve starter to a professional in HPE. I was at the peak of my career, receiving so much appreciation for my quality work, and got promoted thrice – my learning curve was growing and growing.
I was enjoying my life to the fullest, loving my job and was into my world, when I met Sushant (my husband) in August 2015. I never knew that I would fall in love with him in a short period with all the butterflies in my stomach…. It was a different experience. Love was in the air. We were in a long-distance relationship, as he was living in the Netherlands and I was in India. After almost 6 months we decided to get married and that I would move to the Netherlands. It was a big decision and change to leave my thriving career and family behind to be with someone special. Finally, I left my job in March 2016, got married in April 2016 and landed in Eindhoven in May 2016.
After coming here we bought a house in Veldhoven. I was enjoying my new household life. I explored Dutch culture, new people, new cities around Europe and I was loving it. After settling down in July 2016, I wanted to start my career again in IT in the Netherlands. I started collecting information about the Dutch business market and explored many new things, like how people work here, what their likes and dislikes are, new technologies and every possible thing to step inside the professional market. But as always, things do not always happen as you want them to. It was not simple and easy.
One day somehow I came to know about ESI while surfing the web on November 2016. I joined the first introductory event and I was super fascinated by the idea and vision of ESI. I loved the way they inspire and motivate their surroundings. I started to get in touch with ESI more frequently and voluntarily helped them in their events and the idea of helping others. Later I attended and participated in the preparation program for the ESI Live IT event held on 21st March 2017. The workshops were very effective and impactful for my professional and personal growth. I learned so many quality things about Dutch working culture and the importance of effective networking which helped me to build my confidence stronger. On top of that, I overcame my stage phobia as I presented myself for the first time in front of around 100 people and people loved to hear me and appreciated it. I have a different level of respect towards the idea of helping each other and this is the biggest reason why I got motivated and inspired by ESI. Expat Spouses Initiative plays a big part in my starting my professional journey in the Netherlands.I will always be proud to be a part of such an amazing and fast-growing organization.
“Success is where preparation and opportunity meet, no matter how prepared you might be from your side but is very important to identify the opportunity in a new culture and a new country. Expat Spouses Initiative bridges the gap and brings you closer to your professional start in The Netherlands.” -Vandana Raja
For all of us, there are multiple things that make up our identity-the many roles that we play in our personal lives, our passion or hobby, our job, etc. But what happens when we have to give up on one of these roles to honour another? A humongous conflict- one where no matter what you choose, you are going to be wondering if you chose right- definitely not a good place to be in.
When my spouse moved to the Netherlands, we almost immediately started looking for opportunities for me. In fact, that I would be able to work in the Netherlands without visa restrictions, was one of the main reasons for my spouse to take up the opportunity without a second thought. But easier said than done! By the time my husband met Kavitha from ESI (He was in Eindhoven and I was in India), I was having doubts about moving and leaving behind a flourishing career and possible international assignments. Both my husband and I instantly connected with the idea behind ESI since we were in the same situation as many expat families.
Soon afterwards, the ESI live event was being planned and I got to interact more with the ESI team. I was still in India and the team shared details with me and interacted regularly and even looked at the possibility of me joining the workshops/sessions via Skype. When I got to Eindhoven, there was a ‘crash course’ set up for candidates who joined late and I got to attend!
It was a tremendously useful session with information on the ESI live event, what to expect and what we needed to do as candidates to make the most of it. Participants also did an impromptu pitch and got feedback from teh industry experts. We had a rehearsal planned a few days before the event. I think this was very important since many of us were trying to restart careers and even for those of us who had left jobs recently, public speaking wasn’t a part of our day to day work in our IT careers. There was a sense of community and support from the ESI team and all participants as we all rehearsed our pitches. All the practice and support helped us to truly prepare and give our 100%.
This brings us to the second part- the opportunity. Kudos to the ESI team for having a well-planned and organised event. It was wonderful to hear all the pitches and different ideas/perspectives from the various speakers/panellists. As participants, we got to meet companies doing interesting work in various fields. At the end of the day, there was a feeling of contentment and renewed hope for many of us hoping to find a job. As I write this, I am about to attend a meet up of ESI community members to discuss our experience and learnings from the day. Over the last couple of weeks, we have received updates from the ESI team on companies which have expressed interest in possibly hiring us. We can achieve great results when we look at obstacles as opportunities and truly challenge ourselves to think out of the box. This is the spirit of everyone involved in this story. The ESI live event is a novel concept- where instead of being a resume in a recruiter’s mailbox, you get a chance to tell your story, talk about your passion and paint a unique picture. It’s a win-win situation for everyone- candidates, companies, communities, families and businesses. What’s not to love!
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