Your expat buddy in Rotterdam for tailor-made relocation services

What is an expat without a buddy? Lost.

Every expat needs a buddy. And I’ve got your back!

Moving to another country can be a daunting task to figure out how exactly to prepare for the unknown. With me as your expat buddy, your transition will be streamlined, seamlessly managed and worry-free.

Over the past 10 years, I’ve guided expats through the maze of Dutch systems and helped them integrate faster into Dutch life. Having firsthand experience, I know how hard it can be for a newly-arrived expat to cope with challenges, especially on your own. Therefore, I’m here to help you steer clear of any pitfalls, minimise stress and maximise your relocation experience.

Rest assured that with me in your corner, you’ll find your feet and feel at home quickly in the bustling city on the Maas.

Relocating to Rotterdam? SparkLing One is your buddy and guide

Settling into Dutch life

Are you moving to Rotterdam on your own? You’ve already got one friend in your new hometown! I’ll be your personal guide and buddy.

Uprooting your life and landing in a whole new country and culture can be exciting but also challenging. In particular the actual move and all the underlying practical issues, which have to be arranged in quick succession after entering the country. On top of filling in a bunch of mandatory paperwork, you’ve to find a place to live, get accustomed to your new job and acclimatise to a different culture. Simple, easy or familiar would not be the words to describe most international relocations, but this is precisely how it’ll be for you when working with me.

I tackle the initial issues you face as an expat and arrange the essentials. What a relief! And that saves you time and energy. 

  • (semi-) furnished rental home
  • utilities (electricity, gas water)
  • internet, TV, Dutch mobile provider
  • social security number (BSN)
  • DigiD
  • Dutch bank account
  • insurances
  • public transport travel card (OV-chipkaart)
  • orientation tour of Rotterdam
  • cultural briefing
  • just about anything else to help you start your life in Rotterdam

 

From experience, I know that having an expat buddy by your side from the beginning can give you a head start in your new environment. Together, we can get you to the point where you’re hitting the ground running.

Culture clashes, language barriers and other challenges

Finding your way around

As a newly-arrived expat, you’ll face problems and challenges. Especially if you’re here on your own and you don’t know many people thus far. You experience culture clashes and language barriers that turn simple errands into a scavenger hunt and may cost you extra energy, time and money. Not to mention that you’ve to adapt to a hectic business life that doesn’t give you time to take a breather.

Your employer may have already taken care of some essentials, but you need more support setting up your new home base. Navigating your way through a housing market in an unfamiliar city or the Dutch healthcare system can be challenging. You feel overwhelmed and lost in figuring out the details all by yourself. This can cause a lot of stress and confusion.

With me by your side, you’ll feel confident, relaxed and supported. You just need to focus on your new job while I take care of the necessary arrangements.

I’ll show you the ropes and help you settle into your new life. I ensure your relocation is smooth, quick and hassle-free. You’ll feel at home in no time.

Photo: Schorem

Proud Rotterdammert

As a proud Rotterdammert (how we refer to ourselves), I love showing people around the real Rotterdam. Rotterdam is a city you need to get to know first before you fall in love with it.

This city offers you a unique combination of old and new architecture, broad cultural offerings, hip and varied restaurants, colourful street art, renowned museums, awesome festivals, the constant urge for rejuvenation and no-nonsense mentality. These things make Rotterdam an attractive place to live. It’s a mishmash of cultures; a place that has something for everyone and where countless expats feel at home quickly. There is always something to do and experience here.

While exploring the different neighbourhoods together, I’ll share my favourite locations and Rotterdam’s best-kept secrets with you; the most exciting places, convenience stores and the best hangouts where you can go to make new friends with the local residents. This will not only help you practice Dutch but also fast-track your integration process, allowing you to understand the Dutch culture better. 

Personal attention and support for expats

The personal touch

Growing up in different cultures and working with different nationalities has helped me to interact with and relate to people from different backgrounds easily.

I was born in Singapore, a country that’s home to a wide range of cultures, ethnicities and religions. My parents were expats in China and Japan, which is how I came to experience expat life firsthand. Often dependent on themselves to find their own way around, it took my parents a long time to get used to living in a new city and adapt to a new culture.

When I moved in with my mother, who had already immigrated to the Netherlands, I regularly went out with her and her Korean expat colleagues. I still remember how much her colleagues appreciated our hospitality and loved being invited to celebrate Queen’s Day (now King’s Day) or to come over for homemade pea soup or Dutch pancakes. These are the kinds of moments I strive to create for you when we work together.

        I can’t promise to solve all your problems,
but I can promise you won’t have to face them alone.

How SparkLing One - your expat buddy in Rotterdam – helps you

There’s no place like home

SparkLing One gives you the support you need for a smooth and successful relocation to Rotterdam. As your expat buddy and guide, I help you sidestep any pitfalls, minimise stress and maximise your relocation experience. You’ll integrate faster into Dutch life, meet new people and make great memories that you’ll cherish for years to come.

I have years of experience being an expat buddy, especially to engineers from the energy industry most of whom have come on their own to live and work in Rotterdam.

Here’s how I improve your relocation experience

You’ll never walk alone

In recent years, I’ve created a home away from home for many solo expats. Expat life can be like an emotional roller coaster. Leaving your friends and building a new network from scratch in Rotterdam is a challenge. It’s easy to feel isolated and lonely. Making friends can be hard and living far away from your family can contribute to loneliness and feeling homesick. I understand how it feels to be a newcomer, and what you need to feel at home in Rotterdam.

Arrival

You start at the airport, where a chauffeur waits to pick you up at the arrival hall and brings you to your new home. I’ve already helped you find a furnished rental apartment in a good neighbourhood. I make sure that your new place is ready for you. For an extra warm welcome, I stock your kitchen cupboard with a few traditional local goodies.

Your first outings

We explore your new neighbourhood together. After all, the faster you feel at home in your new environment, the quicker you’ll feel at home in Rotterdam. I tell you more about the Dutch language, local customs and cultural differences, so you’re ready to integrate into Dutch society. In the beginning, things can take an unexpected turn. This is why we meet regularly to discuss your new experience and how I can support you moving forward.

Creating your social circle

Meeting new people can be tricky, no matter where you live. For expats, building a strong support network plays a crucial part in maintaining a healthy mental well-being. Being in an unfamiliar environment with many new things to learn as well as adapting to all of the changes can be very emotionally taxing. Having a network of people who understand what you’re going through or who are at least able to listen and provide comfort is a necessity. With this in mind, I organise different activities for you, other expats and Dutch friends so everyone can get to know one other. Think architecture discovery tours, street art explorations, or just simply sharing a meal together at a local spot. You get to know Rotterdam better, meet other like-minded people and build meaningful connections. Such activities will help you settle into Rotterdam quicker and feel more like a part of the community.

Feel free to ask

I’m used to being asked a wide variety of questions: from how to find a good barber/stylist to where the main switch is in the fuse box. All questions are welcome. Don’t wrack your brain looking for answers to every single question when you can simply ask me. As we say in the Netherlands, “lekker makkelijk!”

SparkLing One services

How it works

To create a hassle and stress-free relocation experience for you, we first connect on a complimentary discovery call so I can learn more about your situation and needs – it’s more than just knowing the basics like your wish list for your new home. This is also an opportunity to see if we’re a good fit to work together.

If we decide to work together, we’ll take a deep dive into your relocation, crafting a personalised roadmap for a seamless and successful transition to Rotterdam over a virtual meeting. Your relocation is off to a flying start before you even step on the airplane.

I look forward to helping you to settle into your new life.

What you get:

  • find a (semi-) furnished rental apartment in Rotterdam area
  • accompany you to 2 viewings and 1 move-in inspection (I can arrange a pre-recorded video tour or live remote tour of the rental apartment if you’re not in Rotterdam at the time of the viewing.)
  • arrange home utilities
  • assistant with arranging household contents and liability insurances
  • assistance with BSN (Citizen Service Nummer) registration
  • assistance with selecting a Dutch bank and opening a bank account
  • how to use OV-chipcard and public transport
  • how to use DigiD
  • orientation tour of Rotterdam
  • support via e-mail and Whatsapp throughout the course of relocation (2 months max.)

 

Euro 2000 inclusive of 21% VAT

What you get:

Everything that is included in the Essential Package +

  • assistance with selecting a Dutch healthcare insurance provider
  • assistance with finding a General Practitioner, dentist, pharmacy close to your home
  • cultural briefing
  • orientation tour of your neighbourhood, with special focus on amenities you might require such as shopping facilities, leisure activities, Dutch language school etc.
  • a list of useful apps and links
  • 1 post-relocation follow-up Zoom meeting

 

Euro 2500 inclusive of 21% VAT

It’s my aim to give you a headstart and make your life easier before, during and after your relocation to Rotterdam. Besides the packages, my services are fully customisable to suit your needs.

For example:

  • I can help you to select the best Dutch health insurance plan and recommend a general practitioner, dentist and other healthcare professionals e.g. physiotherapist (Euro 250 inclusive of 21% VAT) .    
  • I take care of the practicalities that need to be dealt with when you decide to leave the Netherlands (Euro 1450 inclusive of 21% VAT).
  • I help you plan your weekend getaway or staycation in the Netherlands (starting fee is Euro 200 inclusive of 21% VAT).
  • I organise street art and street food guided walking tours to explore the lesser-known areas in Rotterdam and to help you make new friends (Euro 75 inclusive of 21% VAT).

Are you preparing to relocate to Rotterdam or have you just arrived?

Do you have burning questions about:

  • Which neighbourhoods are the best to live in?
  • How does the Dutch healthcare system work?
  • What is the best Dutch bank for expats?

 

Spending hours on the internet doing research and digging into multiple Facebook expat groups leave you puzzled and you wonder if you actually have the correct information.

Sometimes you just need a buddy to tell it to you straight and to show you the shortcuts to a pleasant life in Rotterdam.

What you get:
– 1.5 hour session via Zoom, recorded so you can refer to it later

Please send me your questions beforehand so we identify the main areas you need my support with. It ensures we get the most out of our time to solve whatever issues you require assistance with.

Euro 350 inclusive of 21% VAT

Frustrated, lonely and far away from your social support network?

It’s advisable to invest time in networking and to become acquainted with expat communities in the Netherlands to build a social life in your new living environment.

However, if you’re an introvert or if you don’t immediately come across people who you feel comfortable opening up to, you can count on me to support you through this transition.

A go-to local buddy comes in handy, especially during the first few months of a relocation. You’ve got my support on speed dial. You don’t need to go through challenging situations all by yourself.

What you get:
– 1 hour session via Zoom

Euro 85 inclusive of 21% VAT

Are you looking for an hour of fun?

In the Netherlands, we love a good excuse for having a borrel (a drink). On a Friday afternoon, we call it a VrijMiBo (Vrijdagmiddagborrel)!

Pull a seat up, pour yourself a drink and prepare to put your world knowledge to the test.

Interested in joining the free online sessions? Just send me an email to reserve your spot for one of these dates at 5 pm (CET): 

  • 16 October 2020
  • 13 November 2020
  • 4 December 2020
 

Let’s swap (travel) stories and kick start the weekend by having a few laughs together.

See you soon! 

  • Travel time and travel expenses are included in the Essential and Settling Into Dutch Life package prices. However, extra expenses and time spent in addition to  the amount of your chosen package will be calculated and charged at an additional hourly rate. Read my General Terms & Conditions for more details or ask me for more details.
  • My hourly rate is Euro 85 inclusive of 21% VAT. This rate applies to any additional time spent working outside the scope of any given packages or services and this rate is exclusive of travel time and travel expenses.
  • Payment plan is available upon request.