Katie Schweitzer, President
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.
Mala Raman, Communications & Outreach
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 1½ years where I went to school and learned the Indian classical dance style, 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 graduating from college, I spent the next 10 years building an HR career and completing my Master’s programs in Philadelphia (yes, and still dancing!). Towards the end of my studies, I made a pivotal decision that changed my life. I took a Organization Development 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 membership base. I enjoy supporting our existing membership group and I look forward to meeting out newest international members as our club continues to grow!
Lily Gonzalez, Events Coordinator
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.