Being a Dutch immigrant: Physical freedom versus social freedom

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“I can travel to a club all on my own, but can I speak to everyone there?”

Imogen Winckler is a young adult. She is an English-speaking South African who moved to the Netherlands in 2019.

The Netherlands gives her physical freedom. She rides her bicycle wherever and whenever she feels and travels on her own. In South Africa, she never felt safe enough to do that.

On the flip side, she experiences a genuine lack of social freedom, since she is not fluent in Dutch. At times, she has felt isolated, but getting a part-time, entry-level job was one of the best things she could do to become less isolated.

Imogen offers many useful tips for any young person thinking of moving to the Netherlands.

The Dutch school system differs a lot from the South African school system. She explains it in the interview, and afterwards provides us with a useful link to more information and to this graphic.

Graphic by Tijmen Stam, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Imogen is presently completing the pink column on the right. “It is a lot harder than the curriculum in South Africa,” she says.

See also:

Emigrasie na Nederland: Wat jy moet weet

Emigrating to the Netherlands: “So much is so different.”

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