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Meet the board! tíc Treasurer
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.(more…)
Meet the board! tíc 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. (more…)
Meet the board! 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!
Meet the board! tíc Treasurer
I moved to the Netherlands in April 2017. I’m originally from a small town near Santiago in Chili which, compared to any other city here, is not that small! I grew up my whole life in the same place, going for holidays to the same place as well until I felt I wanted and needed to see the world.
That’s when I decided to go and study some of my university course in Canada, as an exchange student for a semester. I met amazing people from everywhere around the world and made good friends, but I also met an incredible Dutch man who is the reason why I’m currently living in Tilburg.
I studied business administration as my university degree and I did a master’s in economics in the same university, after finishing my studies in Canada. Since then, I’m always thinking about my next destination and even how difficult it can be to say good bye to your loved ones, living in a different culture is a tremendous opportunity that I think I’m experiencing at 100%.
Meet the Board – tíc President, Yolonda van Riel
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. (more…)
TIC & me
The year was 1981 when I arrived in the Netherlands to join Hein – the love of my life! – and we lived in The Hague. While life in a foreign country is always a challenge, it is much easier in a city that is internationally oriented. As the Dutch governmental capital, The Hague has numerous international clubs, and I immediately joined the American Women’s Club (AWC) of The Hague. Here were a group of women who spoke my language, understood my bafflement at many Dutch customs, and missed family and friends as I did. Such a relief!!
As the years progressed, I learned Dutch, became more familiar with Dutch customs, had children, made friends, and moved a couple of times to different parts of the country…yet, I remained a member of the AWC. Even though I didn’t feel as lost as I once did, I still really enjoyed the social activities with “people like me”.
It was 2007 when Hein got a job as President of Tilburg University and we moved to Tilburg. While I remained a member of the AWC in The Hague, it was pretty far away and I missed a closer “expat contact”. Hein, who had always supported my activities in the AWC, realized there was nothing similair to help the many (250!) international employees of the University. “Why didn’t I start an international club here?” Why not indeed!
I started by making a 2 page questionnaire for expats to see if they would be interested in an international club and, if so, what they would like it to offer. I got a list of foreign based companies in the area from the BOM (Brabant Development Agency) and started calling to see if they had foreign employees. While most companies with expat employees were receptive to the idea of an international club as a plus for their employees, some were not. “We help our employees enough, they don’t need a club!”
Often no amount of reasoning would get through to these stubborn HR employees and once I bluntly asked who their expat employee should call on a Sunday afternoon if his cat was vomiting? There was silence on the other side of the line…”Aah, we’re closed on Sundays.” While there is a lot employers can do for international employees to help them get settled, an informal social network of other expats can help with the many small details of life in Tilburg. Also, no matter how nice Dutch colleagues are, they have their own family and friends and are not necessarily looking for more, outside of work.
I made appointments and set out for the many companies employing expats with questionnaires for their employees. I complied the results and was not surprised that there was a need for just such a club. There were many “official” details that needed to be taken care of: deciding on a name, writing the Constitution and By–laws for the club, finding a meeting location, arranging for publicity, finding sponsors, planning an initial meeting, getting 2 additional Board members, finding a notary to register TIC as a “vereniging” (association) and deciding on the first event. On March 30, 2008, TIC had a very well attended Open House at De Harmonie and our first members signed up…My TIC became Our TIC.
And here we are, 10 years later! TIC is steadily getting stronger and more anchored in the community, and while a lot of members have come and gone, there are more who are willing to help with the planning and running of the club. Thanks to social media campaigns on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter, we are reaching more expats in the area and are able to enrich the international experience of our members. TIC is flourishing!
After 10 years on the Board as President and Secretary/Membership, I am so happy to see that there are many others who see the club as “Their TIC”; who pitch in to plan fun and interesting events, who attend events and make them successful, who share their national customs and foods, who are interested in getting to know other club members…who have made TIC into Our TIC! I feel confident about the club and secure in the knowledge that because the club is in many good hands, I can step back and let others take the lead. I will continue to organize the Book Club and Movie Night, and maybe I’ll be back on the Board again in the future – who knows? But for now I am happy to be just a member of Our TIC.
Of course, I still hope to see you at a TIC event soon!
All the best, Anne