I’m Elizabeth Joss, writer and blogger, born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa. I now live in The Netherlands. Before arriving here I lived like a gypsy and travelled out of a single suitcase for six months during 2013. During these six months I worked remotely for an online marketing company which funded my travels. I moved to The Netherlands in the middle of 2013 in order to take up a new job and to focus on my career.
1. Why did you move abroad?
I initially moved abroad to be able to travel around Europe. After a stint of travelling/working remotely, I knew I wanted to further my career and explore more concrete work opportunities in Europe.
2. How do you make a living?
I work full-time in the marketing and editorial field.
3. How often do you communicate with home and how?
I call home nearly every single day via Skype! It’s important to keep strong ties with the place you call home and with the people you love.
4. What's your favorite thing about being an expat in the Netherlands?
The open, friendly and humble Dutch folk. I love the fact that as a foreigner I feel welcome and accepted here and people take a personal interest in my background and where I’m from.
5. What’s the worst thing about being an expat in the Netherlands?
As clichéd as it sounds, the weather can be dull.
6. What do you miss most?
The vibrancy of South Africa and the fact that there is never a dull moment.
7. What did you do to meet people and integrate in your new home?
Because I arrived in The Netherlands all alone, it was important for me to join expat groups and meet as many people as possible. I joined a Facebook group (South Africans in The Netherlands) and have met some wonderful people who are now like family to me. As South Africans we have formed our own little community and for that I am very grateful.
8. What custom/ habits do you find most strange about your adopted culture?
Nothing really stands out in my mind as being odd. I think the whole concept of being a foreigner in a different place makes you realise how misplaced and odd you yourself are.
9. What is a myth about your adopted country?
Europeans tend to think that violent crime in South Africa is grossly exaggerated. In fact, crime is a very real problem that affects people from all walks of life.
10. Is the cost of living higher or lower than the last country you lived in and how has that made a difference in your life?
The cost of living is much higher! Everything is a lot cheaper in South Africa (especially things like eating out at restaurants!). Things are also much cheaper in Italy and Spain, two countries where I lived before moving to The Netherlands. However, in The Netherlands I have the luxury of an extensive public transport system which we don’t have in South Africa. I guess there is always a trade-off in some way or the other. Every place has its pro’s and con’s. The main thing is to try and see the positive side of things and keep looking forward.
11. What advice would you give other expats?
Sometimes you have to dive right in. There is no right and no wrong way of doing things. That said, it does help to do some research before you move. It also helps to join network groups and meet other people – it makes the transition phase so much easier.
12. When and why did you start your blog?
I started www.themuseumtimes.com a few months before leaving South Africa. I wanted to write about my experiences as a traveller. But at the same time, I also wanted to write inspirational articles for people in need of a bit of a boost and some inspiration in their lives. I have never looked back and I honestly wish I had started blogging earlier in my life. I’d like to give credit to my previous boss, Jim, who was one of the main influencers in my career at the time. Without him, I would never be where I am right now. I would also never have thought about the many fantastic opportunities and the self-fulfillment that blogging and writing can bring.
Blog, Elizabeth Joss
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