Experience blog by Federica.
The first thing that I remember is their enthusiasm: of my new Dutch colleagues, I mean. They showed themselves immediately open to us: to ask us about our previous experience and about our education – which even here is known to be remarkable.
One clarification: I speak often using the plural because I started to work in that team together with other three Italian colleagues from EMTG – what helped a lot, by the way.
Not everyone between the new colleagues was just enthusiast to work with us, of course: there was someone more suspicious or just curious to understand how our work relationship and our communication with each other could go on… But they were really interested in us, there’s no doubt. And they were kind, extraordinary patient: I cannot imagine how difficult it had to be for them, struggling at every sentence to understand us. But they did it: they kept listening to us, with dedication, trying to give us always the correct answer. I remember their perplex faces with a smile on my face, now that I can speak with them properly, without effort from both sides.
The second thing I remember is the headache: coming back home after the all-day spent struggling – vice versa – to understand them and the clients, to express what you have in your mind, thinking twice or more before speaking. With the frustration of always saying something in the wrong way, eventually.
It’s not easy. You think: how can I make myself accepted and recognized for my value if I speak like a child, busy with his very first words? But if you’re lucky, you’ll find people like the ones I met, colleagues always ready to support you, to listen to you and to believe in you. It doesn’t matter if you feel stupid: your professionalism will come out, before or less. And it conquers more than one thousand words.
It is the same with the clients. I won’t lie, at the beginning it was barely impossible for them to see us as professionals with a degree, due to our difficulties with the language. I mean, we studied Dutch in a little bit more than three months, everyone was astonished by our capability to manage it, after a so short period of time. The Dutch course was incredibly well-structured indeed and it gave us the possibility to communicate successfully even with elderly people, so we were perfectly well-prepared. But speak Dutch every day, for every single thought that you have, is another story. It requires time and patience, it’s granted.
Furthermore, to do a job like ours, which requires a bachelor, everywhere worldwide it is expected to use a medium-high lexical level, rich in technical expressions, without uncertainties. That’s not exactly what happens during the first months in a foreign country. So, it happened quite often that the clients thought that we were still attending our studies, just because we could not speak with the same accuracy which we used to reason. But we reasoned and how we did it. So, in a little time, everyone realized our abilities and the added value which we had brought to the team. Then, with the constant increasing of our ability with the language, we stand out more and more. So don’t be frightened: let’s be brave and confident, let’s keep your mind clear from doubts and your heart open. And it’s going to be all right 😉
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