Xpat Blog Hop: Engels alsjeblieft

This Thursday I am linking up with Windmill Farms for her Xpat Blog Hop.  Here is this week's prompt:
Write about what you have found to be the hardest about adjusting to your new country and culture.  What tips would you give fellow expats who may be struggling or those who are thinking of moving to your country?

This is an easy one.
No, not the pizza.  Although, I have yet to find pizza as good as I can find in Minnesota here in the Netherlands.

It is the language.

Signs.  Receipts.

Instruction Manuals.

(Including the instructions.)

Materials from the consultatie-bureau.

All in a language I barely understand.

And it is all my fault.

J#1's company provides support for language training, and Rosetta Stone DVDs are NOT hard to come by.  But once we found out there was a good possibility we were moving to Scotland, I figured "why learn now?"

Big mistake. Big. Huge.  {What movie?  Anyone?}

Six months later, we are still here.   Even though we are moving within the next few months, I am wishing I would have done something to learn more of the language.

So that would be my advice.  Do whatever you can, as soon as you can, to learn the language.

Even if you can find a way to communicate with people via your native language, on top of the homesickness, learning your way around and meeting new people, knowing the first language of the country you are moving to would be a HUGE benefit.

The positive part about living in the Netherlands is that about 90% of the population knows some (if not A LOT) of English.  I have also heard that even if you DO learn the language and try to speak Dutch with the locals here, as soon as they realize your accent, etc. they will switch to English.

I have gotten by.

Thanks to Google Translate and Google Chrome (which automatically translates web pages in Dutch).

And thanks to the very nice Eindhoven native that shared my room in the hospital after giving birth to J#4.  Without her I would have likely gotten tea instead of coffee or milk instead of water.

The other bonus to living in the Netherlands?  From what I have heard it is the only (non-English speaking) European country that uses Dutch subtitles on television shows and movies.  All other countries (such as Germany, France and Italy) dub over English speaking television shows and movies, so we would be outta luck in that department.

But for reals, people.  I got an Ikea catalog today.
Imagine my excitement... until I remembered it was all in Dutch.
But luckily pictures and numbers are easy to understand.

To check out what other expats think is the hardest thing about moving to their new country please visit:

P.S. If anyone in the U.S. happens to still have their Ikea catalog sitting around, I would LOVE to have you send it to me.  {We have a FL mailing address, so it would be cheap!}.  I think it would be fun to compare prices and items featured.  See how different (if at all) they are.  Actually, anyone from other countries as well...I am curious to see how much the catalogs are changed depending on the country they are mailed to.  Dank je wel.


Windmill Tales said...

Lovely post, thank you for linking up. It is so true that the language is hard. I speak french and Spanish but Dutch is obviously nothing like these so it is a challenge but it does help you integrate into the community more. And yes it is hard especially when 90 % speak English and TV is in English too. Where are you heading in Scotland? I went to Loch Lomond, Glasgow area for hols this year. They speak English but I still couldn't understand them most of the time!!

Stacie said...

Pretty Woman!!

Mary De Bastos said...

When and where are you moving to Scotland?!?! I live in Motherwell, just outside the Glasgow area. We love it!! I've been here almost 4 yrs and my husband has been here 5 yrs. It is true the accent is hard to understand at first, but hey, it's English! Or it's suppose to be. It won't be long before you're understanding everything.

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