Have you ever had the feeling of wanting to change, leave, explore new places and experiences? Much more if you feel stuck in the small town where being open minded is not that popular. Yes, this is how I felt and why I decided to leave the sunny and warm Calabria to ended up living in Utrecht.
After I graduated at university and spending almost one year in Barcelona, I have decided that I wanted more than what I had, I’m not usually happy with the least I can get, I like challenges and always aim to the best. Back then I didn’t have much money, well to be honest I didn’t have any at all, so I started to look for a solution suitable for my situation, something that could give me the opportunity to travel while spending almost nothing…do you think it was impossible? If your answer is yes, you got it wrong 😉
I have decided to become an aupair, which means living with a local family while helping out with the kids and normal house routine, in exchange I didn’t have to pay for food or rent. I found a very lovely family that took me in as one of the real family members, and they introduced me to the new (to me) Dutch world. I didn’t speak any word of the local language and I didn’t know anyone there, not to talk about the fact that I have never been to The Netherlands before that, not even as a tourist.
Throughout the months I lived with this family, I have learned a lot about their culture, the city and country, and I even started Dutch lessons as I strongly wanted to be able to have at least a basic conversation. I have to say that I was very lucky in finding this family, as they supported and helped me a lot with everything. The sad part was that one day I was told they were moving to the North of the country for job reasons, I was very welcome to move with them but then I had to make a decision: follow them or stay in Utrecht (close to Amsterdam) where I may have more chances to find a job considering I’m not fluent in Dutch? Guess what…I went for the second one and decided to look for a job.
It wasn’t easy at the beginning and I had to work hard, first to find a job and then to survive with what I had found, which was a standard employee in a warehouse…so not my dreaming job and on top of that the salary was low. But this helped me to get to know the market and myself. I entered the cycle of working people and I made my way through until I found a better job, and started to build up my career. I worked first with a startup translating data from English and Spanish to Italian, and after that I joined an international company working in the tourism.
This experience gave me a lot of opportunities, not just related to my career, but enhancing my personal growth as well. I have learned so much about myself, what I like, what are my ambitions and what makes me happy. Since then I can’t stop…I never choose the easy way, and I take any risk that comes on my way. Sometimes I had (and still have) the feeling that I can’t make it and I don’t see the way out, but this doesn’t stop me… overcoming the challenges makes me stronger and more satisfied.