The Tilburg International Club Board of Directors currently has 4 members who help lead our club activities. Meet Yolonda van Riel, our President!
I have worked and lived in the Netherlands since 2005. Sometimes it feels like I have been here forever and other times it feels just like yesterday! I was born in St. Louis, Missouri, USA but lived most of my life in Knoxville, Tennessee. I grew up as a typical American kid. My father taught high school and my mother was a secretary. My brother and I were very lucky to have such devoted parents and they always appreciated and supported that I had a different view of the world. From a young age, I had a tremendous fascination for “all things European” and I desperately wanted to travel and take in all the beautiful wonders that Europe had to offer. But, alas, I put those dreams on hold and followed a more traditional path, working towards my Master’s Degree and taking a “safe and secure” government job.
After a few years, I was approached by a company and given an opportunity to participate in the start up of a new service center for repairing aircraft engines. I was ready for a change and jumped at the chance. After a successful start-up, my company sent me to their sister facility in Tilburg to give some assistance and also receive some training. Later, I was offered a transfer to the facility in Tilburg. Although I was nervous about making such a move, my mother’s sound advice of “You will only regret what you never try”, rang loud and clear!
I also discovered tíc during this time and that added a whole new perspective to my life here in Tilburg. It has been great meeting such diverse and fascinating people and sharing stories (both good and bad) about life as an expat. Being on the board (event director first!) has also enriched my experience and broadened my view of the world in ways I could have never imagined.
In the spring of 2010, I took position with another company – this time one that was European owned. That “sealed the deal” for me and I plan on staying in The Netherlands indefinitely. I have a great life here. I love all the different cultures and individualism that this small country has to offer. A part of me will always be partial to “home” but as the old saying goes, “Home is where the heart is” and mine is definitely in The Netherlands!
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