Tilburg International Club

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Meet the Board!

Tilburg International Club

Tilburg International Club is an all-volunteer organization managed and run by a board of professionals who work and live in the Tilburg area. Our board consists of 5 positions including President, Treasurer, Secretary, Events Coordinator and Communications & Outreach.

Katie Schweitzer, President

Tilburg International Club Treasurer

I have been living in the Netherlands since Aug 2017. I am originally from the US. I was raised outside of Philadelphia, PA, but moved to Washington, DC for my bachelor’s degree and then worked there for 5 years before moving to the Netherlands.

I knew I had wanted to move to Europe at some point. I had been going to Ireland to visit family – my mother is Irish – since I was a kid. But a study abroad semester in Germany really left a lasting impression. Not only did I love the lifestyle, I loved being able to travel to so many different countries, and experience different cultures, with only a short plane or train ride.

So, when the opportune moment came, I decided to get my master’s degree in the Netherlands and have been working here since I completed my studies.

I joined TIC in 2020, though I had been to some events before that. Shortly after, I saw that there was an opening for Treasurer. I had been looking to get more involved in Tilburg and the (expat) community, so I applied. Then this year, when Yolanda was (still trying) to step down, we found a new Treasurer, Dietrich, which gave me the opportunity to take on the role of president, so here I am!

Dietrich Haas, Treasurer

Dietrich Haas

In the summer of 2019, I was lucky that my German company offered me an expat position responsible for our internal accounting at our Tilburg automotive production plant. Since I had been abroad several times during my studies and for work before, I did not hesitate to accept this offer. I was keen on learning about our neighbouring country which I had only known until then for our close rivalry in soccer and for the constant flow of camper vans on our highways.

As to be expected, right from the start, every superficial stereotype was blown away and I really fell in love with the Dutch way of life, the people and the city. TIC had a significant share in this, providing a lot of helpful information in the beginning. Even more importantly it gave me as a newbie in Tilburg a social network, that is until today the base for all the friends, we were lucky to make here!

Since the first major event for me in Tilburg was the outbreak of COVID, it was even more important to already know a lot of people as well as being involved in quite a few social events at the time.

By being the treasurer, I hope that I can contribute a bit to the background organization of TIC, giving something in return for all the great experience and events it has given me so far.

Dagmara Gielen-Bernacka, Secretary

Dagmara Gielen TIC Secretary

Most of my upbringing took place in Warsaw, but my heart always belonged to my mum’s hometown Zamość – a renaissance pearl in South Eastern outskirts of Poland.

By an incredible turn of events, my quite unadventurous life changed it’s direction 180 degrees after I met my now husband. I moved to The Netherlands in 2014 and started a new career, working in the glass studio of my new Dutch family.

The language course at ROC was an international network starter to me. I got to know a couple of amazing women who encouraged me to join TIC. The club gave me a versatile network, reasons to become more outgoing and, last but not least, a few precious friendships. And so here I am, after some years of careful consideration, to serve the members in the position of Secretary.

Lily Gonzalez, Events Coordinator

Tilburg International Club Events Team

I grew up in the northern part of Mexico (Baja California). Since I was young, I was really interested in other cultures just by listening to people talking in their own language (even though I did not understand a word) or reading books where the story was somewhere in Europe. This gave me the idea that it would be nice to live somewhere outside Mexico, somewhere in Europe.

It was in August 2016 when my dream to live in Europe came true and I had the opportunity to do my Masters in Geo-Information Science at Wageningen University (NL). During my studies, I learned about other cultures, taste traditional dishes from those countries and I discovered more cities in the Netherlands. Moreover, I realized how easy it was to travel to other countries close by and “just like that” I felt in love with the country (although not with its weather but that is another story) and I have lived in the Netherlands since then!

After my master’s I found a job at a start-up in Den Haag and the next move was to find a house close to the office but as you can imagine, it was really difficult to find a decent and affordable place. It was a day of a BBQ where “luck” was on my side and by talking with some friends living together in Tilburg they offered the opportunity to transfer their rental to my partner and me. That’s how I started to officially have a place in Tilburg in November 2019.

Being more settled in Tilburg made me realize that I really wanted to be part of a group/association where I could meet more people. Back then, I felt that my Dutch was not so good and I barely spoke a word so I decided to search for a more international environment, and then I found tíc. I started following them on social media but I didn’t dare to join any event initially because I felt shy about just showing up. A few months later, I saw a post on their social channels where they were looking for volunteers to help organize and host events for the club. It was after the Welcome Event 2020 that I officially joined and I’m really happy to be able to meet new people and enjoy events together.

Mala Raman, Communications & Outreach

Mala Raman

I’ve always been an adventurer and traveler.  I grew up in Seattle visiting much of the US and many different countries with my wanderlust parents.  As a teenager, I went to live in India for a couple of years where I went to school and learned the Indian classical dance, Bharata Natyam. This was the start to my professional, 18-year dance career for which I toured in England, Canada and the US. This experience gave me a passion for seeing the world and experiencing new cultures. 

After building my HR career in Philadelphia, I made a pivotal decision that changed my life. I took a job in Germany. The rest, you may say, is history.  Within 5 months, I had moved overseas, started my new position and began learning German.  Fast forward 20 years and a lot has happened!  I met my now husband, moved to the Netherlands, learned another language (ugh!), started my own translation business, added an additional 3 to my family (+ 1 dog and 1 hamster) and helped start the Tilburg International Club!

Though I’ve settled in the Netherlands, I always wanted to stay in touch with the international community.  I was more than willing to volunteer my time to participate on the Board to help develop the organization.  That was back in 2007!  Over the years I’ve contributed in various capacities and am now in the primary role of developing tic’s business partnerships and membership support programs.  I enjoy getting to know our membership group and I look forward to meeting out newest international members as our club continues to grow!

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