Useful links and information for newcomers

If you are new to the North of the Netherlands and are feeling a bit out of your depth below is a list of some useful websites where you can gain additional information (generally in English).

Connect International has worked for over 20 years with the international community in the North of the Netherlands.  Our ultimate goal is to help internationals coming to live in the provinces of Groningen, Friesland and Drenthe to feel at home as quickly as possible.

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Useful Apps for Expats in the Netherlands

Google Maps

For any newcomer no app is more useful than Google Maps (or other similar apps). Took a wrong turn and are completely lost? Need to do the grocery shopping, or get into town with the bus?

With the app you can navigate in real time, let it know if you are travelling by car, bus, bike or on foot and it will give you the best routes. Need to take the bus or train? It will even tell you when the next bus or train leaves.

Google Maps is available for Android and IOS devices, and via your web browser on your computer or laptop. Save mobile data by downloading your local area map at home through Wi-Fi before you head out.

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Culture Shock

The American Heritage Dictionary defines culture as “the totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought characteristic of a community or population.” It can also be viewed as “a system for creating, sending, storing, and processing information. It is how we talk, behave, understand and act.” (Edward Hall, Anthropologist).

It is perhaps no wonder, then, that we experience culture shock when we are transplanted from one culture to another! Culture shock, the sense of disorientation and the resulting anxiety and stress, is a normal reaction to adjusting to a culture other than the one in which we were raised. Familiar cues, including general behavior, customs and norms, word usage, facial expressions and body language, are gone and we feel insecure as a result. In essence, we feel like a child again, having to relearn almost everything we took for granted in our home culture.

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Dual-Career Workshop Series Offered by RUG

So, here you are in Groningen, facing many new challenges. You are busy settling into a new city and setting up a household, perhaps learning Dutch and building new social and professional networks. Perhaps you have already thought about the next step in your professional life, or about starting voluntary work. Or maybe you’ve applied for a job but have not yet received the good news you’re hoping for. You might have found that job hunting is not easy and that Dutch language proficiency requirements make it even more difficult.

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Career Strategies for the Perpetually Mobile

Knowing that your husband is going to change his job location every four years might at first have the taste of adventure. I’ve always wanted to experience new cultures and see new places. Besides, having the opportunity to reorganize my house from scratch every once in a while feels great to me, being an interiors decor lover. Also, raising my kids with an international background seems like an intriguing idea. As exciting as it might seem, this is not that practical from a career point of view. Women often have extra challenges when it comes to family-work balance, and that’s a well known issue, but having a stable, long-term job as an expat wife is an antinomy. At least that’s what we tend to think.

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Introduction to Dutch

70,000 participants registered for the Introduction to Dutch MOOC in 2015. The online course was developed by the University of Groningen Language Centre (, and is aimed at prospective students and staff of the University, international professionals who intend to live and work in the Netherlands and people from other countries with an interest in Dutch language and culture. The course introduces participants to the basics of the Dutch language and gives background information on the city of Groningen, the University of Groningen and the region as a whole.

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The Job Quest of a Cheeky Scientist

The job search landscape has drastically changed during the economic downturn of the last decade – in no favor of academic researchers looking to spread their wings outside the confines of the ivory tower. How exactly are researchers affected? Well, nowadays networking is the best way to find coveted industry positions as the majority of open positions are filled through employee referrals. Additionally, academic researchers are busy with their own research and can lose sight of their networking objectives and job search strategy, which can bring tremendous value BEFORE finishing their thesis. These two points can unfortunately keep academics stuck in the confines of academia longer than desired. Based on my own unique career path, first as a tax accountant and later as a biochemist, I share here my own job quest and how the Cheeky Scientist Association (CSA, equipped me with an effective job search strategy.

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