Welcome to the Netherlands! Or… soon at least. We know that going on exchange, or a masters, or any type of study abroad can be intimidating and we wish you a very smooth and pleasant move. Moving to a new country requires quite some preparation such as organizing your school duties, a visa, a place to stay, and so on. We’re not going to bother you with those things as you most probably have already gone through that list. We’re here to talk about the move-in day in the Netherlands and how to make your new place feel like home as soon as possible.
Going abroad for a longer period of time means you can’t bring your whole room attire with you. You’ll be leaving many things home and will have to look for new furniture, new décor, new paint, new clothes, etc. etc. But don’t see that as something negative! New room, new you… or something like that. It’s an opportunity to make a boring, barely furnished room, flourish into something that makes it the perfect place for you. Like a blank canvas, it’s up to you, and that makes it exciting. When you arrive in the Netherlands, you’ll probably have to check a couple mandatory things off your list before you’ll be able to get to properly moving into your room and decorating. It’s important you do those things first before you get caught up in making your new stay comfortable. So go to school, register for classes, set up a bank account, get yourself a bike, meet some people, and THEN get into making your place more like you.
And then, when you’ve gotten to that point, there’ll be many people that can help you out. Have roommates? Ask them for advice on where to go shopping for affordable furniture, décor, bath- and kitchen wear. In some homes you tend to share items for the common rooms, so make sure to check that before purchasing anything. One of the best tips I can give you for the small things such as a couple of plates or a nice poster or frames, is to go check out second hand stores. Thrift stores have fun and usually the most affordable décor and furnishings available. Other than that you can find almost anything second hand and usually affordable online throughout Marktplaats.nl or Facebook groups.
For all the lovely exchanges amongst us; even though you probably want to make your new abode feel just like home, keep in mind that your stay is for just a few months. There’s so many other things to spend money on such as traveling through the country, meeting up with friends and the good old boring groceries ;). It’s usually the experiences you have and the memories you make together with others (or alone) that will make you feel most at home in your new country. And in the end, you’ll notice that coincidentally during all those experiences, you’ll have gathered physical forms that now decorate your room and give it character.
So for all of us out there that are a little nervous about moving countries and having our new place feel like home, no worries! I can guarantee you that you’ll find many ways of making it the perfect place to stay. Whether that’s by hanging out with friends daily or filling your room with all the fun second hand goodies you can find, I promise you that you’ll be fine. And if you’re ever having troubles with getting comfortable, don’t hesitate to reach out to us or any of our Dutch ESN sections. As our name gives away, we’re here as a network for all of you (inter)national students and we’re more than happy to help you out. Happy movin’!