Mala Raman, Seattle, USA
Seattle, Washington native, Mala Raman has lived in Tilburg for 7 years and wants others to know that Tilburg has a lot to offer!
Profession: Expat Coach, English teacher and runs 4kidstime.com
Tilburg is... a small town trying hard to grow up.
Why did you move to the Southeast Netherlands?
I met my life partner!
What is your motto and what is its significance?
Make it happen! AND The power of conviction! Rarely do things happen by themselves, so if you really want something, believe in it, put in the work, go out there and make it happen!
Is there anything that you wish you knew before moving to Tilburg?
I wish I had known how difficult it would be to make friends with the locals.
Are you a member of any international organizations or clubs?
Currently I serve as Secretary for the Tilburg International Club (TIC) and I am a member of the International Society for Performance Improvement.
What is your best piece of advice for other expats?
While moving to a foreign country might seem exciting and glorious, understand that your whole life as you know it will be challenged from external experiences all the way to questioning your own self-worth and identity. Take time to understand your potential challenges for yourself and your family and surround yourself with a support network both here in Tilburg and back home.
What was your first impression of Tilburg?
My first impression was that Tilburg is going through transition from a small textile town to an international city.
Did you experience culture shock?
I had a bit of culture shock moving to the Netherlands from Germany where I lived for 2 ½ years prior to my move. The Germans are very direct, but I was a bit surprised at how forthright the Dutch can be!
What do you miss most from home?
I miss my family and my girlfriends from back home, but I've been here long enough that it doesn't hit me as hard anymore. On a day to day basis, I miss food items that you can't really get here like sweet relish and angel hair coconut.
If you had to leave the Southeast Netherlands tomorrow, what would you miss?
I would definitely miss the relaxed, family-oriented lifestyle and the friends I've made here.
Is the Southeast Netherlands international?
We're getting there!
What is your favorite part about living in this part of the Netherlands?
I love that we are situated so centrally to many airports and many other countries.
If you could go back in time, to before you moved here, would you still move?
What is your favorite thing to do in the Netherlands over the weekend? In the autumn?
On the weekends during the summer, I love to go on long bike rides and discover small tucked away places and friendly people. In the fall, I love to go for walks with my kids and collect leaves and branches for collages. There are also a lot of nice indoor play areas where I can take the kids and sit down and relax with a nice strong cup of coffee!
What would you like to see in the Expat Center Brabant Newsletter, News for Expats?
I would love to see a listing of local service providers who speak English (although my Dutch is pretty good!)!
Anything else you'd like to share with our readers?
Tilburg has a lot of offer. It's just a matter of speaking to the locals to discover the places and people who make it really fun, exciting and special.
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