Olena comes from Lviv - a lovely, historical city in Western Ukraine, which is a breathtaking place to add to your travel bucket list. She’s been living with her husband and daughter in the Netherlands for almost 1 and a half years. Here’s an interesting fact! Olena and her family were one of our first clients that we supported during their relocation journey!
When asked her about the lesser known facts about her home country, she said, “In Ukraine we celebrate Christmas and Easter on a different day than the rest of the world (approximately two weeks afterwards). Ukranians love to celebrate, and our celebrations are always big and loud - lots of music, tons of food, dancing and singing. If you go to Ukrainian celebrations, prepare yourself for some serious party!”
One thing Olena misses the most about Ukraine are her family and friends, especially now, during this pandemic when she hasn’t been able to visit as frequently as she’d like. Additionally, she also misses the mountains and hiking, and not forgetting, Ukrainian Autumn, because here in the Netherlands the weather is different in the fall. “At the end of September we have really warm weather for a few weeks, we call it Indian summer (Grandma’s summer would be literally translated). During that period the weather is just perfect, everything is nice and golden and there is no rain.”
Olena and her family on their way to get their visas
A wish that came true:
This is not the first time Olena has visited the Netherlands. About 10 years ago, she visited this beautiful land of stroopwafels and tulips for a month, but it was surely, more than enough time to fall in love. “I loved that everybody spoke English, I loved nature and the green landscapes. Oh, and trains! :) Everything is so well connected and convenient for traveling.” From that moment she knew the Netherlands was a country she would love to live in and finally, almost a decade later, her wish came true when her husband got a job in Amsterdam.
“We relocated with the Settly support during the whole process. It was not the first time that somebody helped me to relocate but it was the best experience so far. Settly made the process so easy, we did not even notice what should be done and when, everything was taken care of and all we had to do was show up.”
Although the process with the support was easy, emotionally Olena faced some challenges:
“Emotionally, this relocation was the hardest one. Even though I’ve lived abroad before (USA and China), this was the first time I relocated with my family. I had some new roles I had to fulfil, as a partner and as a mother. Just after we started relaxing, Corona started and that did not help.”
What was the first thing you did in Amsterdam?
“The very next day after our arrival we went to In Amsterdam to get our ID cards and after that we went to Ikea because we were renting an empty apartment and we needed some furniture. So we were practical until we solved the basics”.
Finally in Amsterdam!
Meet Olena’s Amsterdam
Top tips for newcomers in the Netherlands:
- Don’t worry and don’t check the weather, it changes all the time anyway. Bring the raincoat with you and you will always be well prepared.
- Don’t try too hard to blend in, just be yourself and live day by day. Try to embrace the new culture and be a part of it one step at a time, don’t push yourself too hard.
- If possible, do not relocate during winter! It can be a really challenging first impression.
Olena’s favourite places to go:
- I liked the Dignita Hoftuin restaurant in the city center. It’s a hidden gem and has a lovely garden.
- I love museums, my favourite one is Nemo and I think it was more fun for me than for my daughter. Also, Museum Foam is a photography museum with great exhibitions.
- Pet farms, great places to go with children - combination of nature and fun. Kids love it!
- Parks - Wester park and Beatrix park are our family’s favourites.
Olena loves to spend her free time traveling. Since the pandemic is still on, she and her family are trying to explore the treasures that Netherlands has to offer! Recently, she came back to her hobby of photography and is actively pursuing it. Olena also loves hiking, and is hoping that maybe someday she’ll be back on the mountains. She’s also a big fan of movies, and it’s one of her favourite ways to spend an evening to relax. At Settly, she now supports our growing Partner Community, helping them settle into a new life and call this beautiful country, home.