How the Netherlands became the new home of these expat colleagues

Anyone who visits Conclusion MBS will soon notice its multicultural team. The company might be Dutch through and through, but the average employee isn’t. At Conclusion MBS, you’ll hear people speaking English in different accents (South African, Russian, Brazilian, Icelandic and Ukrainian) all around you. These expats are really happy at Conclusion MBS and very enthusiastic about the Netherlands. Michelle Visagie, Ruan van Jaarsveld and Daniel Petrov share their adventures with us.

November 21st, 2023   |   Publication   |   By: Conclusion MBS


A golden ticket to better social security

The expats who work at Conclusion MBS had different reasons for deciding to live and work abroad. Michelle and Ruan are both South African and came to the Netherlands mainly because of the better social security it has to offer. “I wanted to get some international experience,” Michelle says. “Safety and quality of life were important too. I really like the fact that I can walk down a street here and know that I’m safe whatever time of day it is.” Daniel, who’s Russian, decided to improve his prospects by doing a degree in the Netherlands: “I wouldn’t be able to work abroad with a Russian degree, so I decided to register with a number of Dutch universities. I won the golden ticket when I was accepted to attend Eindhoven University of Technology.”

I feel completely at home at Conclusion MBS

Ruan van Jaarsveld

From hectic to relaxed

Once the decision has been made, it’s time to take the plunge and actually move. As you can imagine, that’s not always easy or without its challenges. “The situation in the Dutch housing market didn’t make my decision to work here any easier,” Ruan says. “All you can do is hope that you’ll find somewhere furnished to live at the very least because you’ll have a maximum of two suitcases when you arrive.” And then there are the big cultural differences, or as Daniel describes it: the laid-back lifestyle.

Having now recovered from the culture shock, the three of them are very enthusiastic about Dutch culture and the way of life here in the Netherlands. “Initially, I was on a bit of a high,” Michelle says. “Everyone had warned me about how direct the Dutch are, but I actually found it quite refreshing. There’s no beating around the bush.” Daniel agrees: “Life in the Netherlands is both quiet and direct. There’s no need to be on your guard when you’re walking down the street at night or to be aware of any shady political tactics. As the Dutch themselves say: ‘what’s not to like about living here?’.”

What strikes me most is that MBS really cares about its employees. As in: 'What can I do to make your life better?'

Michelle Visagie

Work can be fun too

The three expats are also positive about Dutch company culture. Daniel: “Work is work, but MBS is very good at doing things to add an element of fun. As you can imagine, great facilities - like an all-you-can-eat lunch and tasty coffee prepared by a barista - really help as well.” “What strikes me most is that MBS really cares about its employees,” Michelle adds. “As in: 'What can I do to make your life better?'. The company culture is great and I love working here.”

Struggling with the Dutch language

It would be a lie to say that there aren’t any hurdles to overcome when you move to a foreign country. The Dutch language is a particularly big one. Although Ruan speaks Afrikaans, which has a 70% overlap with the Dutch language, it’s the other 30% that’s the problem. “For example, the time I went to a collection point to pick up a package. In my best Dutchfrikaans, I said that I’d come to pick up a package. Imagine my surprise when I was given a pack of condoms instead. Pointing to the PostNL logo, I repeated myself and was eventually given the package I had actually come to collect. Even something as simple as picking up a parcel can lead to strange experiences.”

Be a ‘yes’ person. Say ‘yes’ to every opportunity that comes your way. If you do, you’ll never be bored when the working day is over.

Daniel Petrov

Feeling at home in the Netherlands

Some elements of Dutch culture are a surprise and a real experience too. “I'm always amazed at how well the Dutch multitask when they’re riding their bikes,” Michelle says. “You’ll see them racing along while texting or holding up an umbrella or even carrying a month's worth of groceries and three children on their bikes all at the same time. How do they do that?" There’s so much to experience in the Netherlands that Daniel has just one tip for other expats: “Be a ‘yes’ person. Say ‘yes’ to every opportunity that comes your way. If you do, you’ll never be bored when the working day is over and you’ll get to know new people and places as well. Then, it’ll just be a matter of time before you feel at home in the Netherlands.” “And don't forget that after-work drinks are the key to success,” Michelle adds.

Making a difference together is so much more fun!

Conclusion MBS works for national and international organisations with diverse teams and diverse cultures. We believe this makes it important for us to have a diverse team ourselves. We can only make a real difference for clients if we have a mix of cultures and customs in our own organisation.

Jan Ben Mijs

Director at Conclusion MBS

Working for Conclusion MBS?

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Johannes Willems

Corporate Recruiter