In June 2014 I organised the first Expat meet Local meet-up. It was a picnic in Amsterdam’s Vondelpark. During Winter this moved indoors. No sane Dutch person picnics during Winter.
The reason I started Expat meet Local had to do with something almost everyone will have experienced when living abroad: connection. When people talk about the time they lived abroad, they probably tell you how “it was hard to really connect with the locals”. I don’t think this has anything to do with the country they lived in or the country they came from. My idea? It has to do with language barriers, cultural differences, expats who spend most of their week at the office and locals who may not warm up to the idea of befriending people that move away a couple of months later (to the other side of the world). Of course I could be wrong.
Fact is expats hang out with expats, locals hang out with locals. No one’s to blame. When you’re an expat you seek like-minded souls, as a local you may just love your life as it is. But… don’t you secretly just love meeting people with different backgrounds, from other countries and cultures? Meeting people you otherwise might’ve never met? As an expat, wouldn’t you want to leave a country after a couple of years, with the knowledge you’ve made the most of it and are leaving some dear and local friends behind?
And that, dear people, triggers my brain! It tickles and pokes my love for bringing people together… Knowing that people go home after an event with a new friend or squash-buddy, having learned and tasted something new. That’s my intention. It brightens up my life. Simple as that!
So are you an expat or a Dutchy living in The Netherlands? Are you up for meeting new (Dutch) people? Make sure you don’t miss out on upcoming events. Simply by joining the little Expat meet Local community and come say ‘hi’ at the Expat meet Local facebook page.
See you soon!