The moment you decide to move to another country – no matter the reason – you start to be different. Thinking about where you are going to go, what you are going to do, if you are going to like it, and if you are going to be happy, makes you reflect on who you are and who you want to be. There is no other way to see it, being an immigrant makes you different from the rest of the local community, and you will always be different, whatever you do. So I invite you to start by accepting this reality
I was born in Venezuela to Dutch parents. They always told me that we were Dutch with a Latin touch. This is how I walked through the countries where I lived – Honduras, Costa Rica, Italy, Armenia, USA, and England. When I came to live in Holland, with my Dutch mind and Latin touch, I quickly discovered that the Dutch did not know what to do with me. I look Dutch, but I dressed as a Latina, and I spoke Dutch with an accent that was neither English nor Spanish. For the Dutch, I did not fit in any of “their boxes” so they did not know how to treat me. And I did not feel welcome or understood. The inner struggle was complicated and lengthy. I discovered that my identity had two very definite faces, but together they puzzled people. The question they asked me the most was: are you Dutch or Venezuelan? My response was always very clumsy. I was born and raised in Venezuela; my parents are Dutch. One day someone asked me: how do you feel, more Dutch or more Venezuelan? This question, although very similar to the other question, touched me very deeply. For the first time, I forced myself to see who I was and how I felt and not so much how people saw me.
I definitely have a lot of Dutch: norms, values and traditions. But I feel Venezuelan. I miss Venezuela. This is who I am and makes me see things differently, I always took advantage of the situation, but now I make conscious use of this duality. My differences make a difference in my life and that of my loved ones. I have made of my duality my business.
From this experience I want to help immigrants adapt and accept the new reality quickly, only then can they start creating successes and a balanced and harmonious life. Here I share my life lessons, seven advantages to creating success in your life as an immigrant:
1. Merge the best of both worlds: Your country formed you, the new country will reshape you again, so merge the best that both worlds offer you and get the best out of it. Be the best you can be.
2. Accept your uniqueness: coming from another country, speaking another language, having other experiences and learning make you unique. There is no other like you. As soon as you accept this reality and see the advantages, you then can learn and grow.
3. International social network: Coming from another country, having traveled and settling in a new country gives you the advantage of having a diverse and international social network. You can use this network for your personal life as well as for your venture or finding a job
4. Several languages – more reach: You already speak one language and now most probably you have to learn the local language as well. I invite you to learn it fast and the best you can, it will help you move smoothly and quickly, and the locals will admire you for the effort.
5. Another perspective of the locals: coming from another country and having diverse experiences gives you the advantage of being able to see things from a perspective that offers you the power of creating different solutions, which others have not seen.
6. New niche: Your enterprise and your social networks will provide you with the possibility of seeing what your compatriots need in a way that locals do not understand. This can offer you the opportunity of solving problems for other immigrants, offering non-local products, specialized services that only you can see what they are.
7. Use curiosity and mystery: People are curious, so more than once they will ask you where you come from, this is an excellent possibility to share what you do and what you need. Create mystery around your person and entrepreneurship it will help your marketing!
It is not easy to integrate into a strange place but if you work, you want it, and you make the effort you will make the new place your home. You will find that there are enough people and space that will be part of your life.
Here are some tips to speed up your integration and create your success: Seven tips to integrate quickly:
1. Learn local language NOW! It will help you meet people, find information and take good care of yourself since you will always be informed
2. Make an effort to connect with the local community – you will speak the language faster, you will understand the traditions and customs, you will have a support group; guides in your first steps and you will not feel alone. Do volunteer work, do things in your children’s school …
3. Take care of you by working on your personal, social and professional development
4. Share who you are and where you are from – you will invite the curiosity and interest from others
5. Stop complaining and looking back. The place where you are will give you many opportunities if you want to see them. Complaining and looking back will only bring you pain and frustrations.
6. Open your mind and be grateful. The fact that you can live in a country different from yours is a gift because the decision to move was yours.
7. Educate yourself and learn about the things that suit you
Wishing you a great stay!