Your Rotterdam expat buddy

Are you new in town, an expatriate? Save time and effort by letting me show you the non-work-related sights and sounds of Rotterdam.

Expats often need extra attention because of cultural differences and language barriers. By establishing yourself temporarily abroad, you have made a conscious choice to embark on a new adventure. At the heart of it, as an expat, you want to gain knowledge and experience and to meet new people.

In reality, even if you are a seasoned expat, you will be flooded with all manner of registrations and obligations. Unable to make yourself crystal clear, you might be misunderstood. You most likely have different expectations, met with many uncertainties. From sorting out paperwork to opening a bank account to finding a rental property.

Nothing is simple, easy or familiar during the transition abroad. Which can be frustrating! Especially if you are all alone.

Photo – Witte de Withstraat Rotterdam

Let me show you around Rotterdam

Born in Singapore, I emigrated to the Netherlands to live with my mother when I was 12 years old. I have been living in Rotterdam for more than 25 years now. In my previous jobs I have always taken it upon myself to coach the expats in my team. To help them acclimate to Rotterdam and to the Netherlands.

I understand how you feel, being a new expat in a big city. Because of my experience in coaching expats, I can answer your questions and help to get you what you need. This includes helping you to rent your temporary home, finding decent Dutch language lessons, taking you out for dinner and outings in the first weeks, and more. Socialising with other expats can also help in the transition. For example, I have set up a dinner club together with my (former) expat colleagues and we take turns cooking dishes from our homeland.

From experience I know that having a dedicated expat buddy can give you a more solid head start in an unfamiliar environment.

Photo – Op het Dak Rotterdam

Issues that expats run into

  • Where can I find a furnished home?
  • How do I get a BSN (social security number)?
  • Which bank do I choose?
  • Which insurances do I need?
  • Where do I find an English-speaking GP?

All this – on top of your new workload – can be overwhelming. An uncomfortable and lonely experience. Not exactly the way you want to kick off your foreign adventure.

Photo – Schorem Rotterdam

Coming to live and/or work in Rotterdam?

I specialise in helping expats who come to Rotterdam alone to acclimatise. Let me be your guide and friend before, during and after your move to Rotterdam. I can help you to steer clear of any pitfalls and unnecessary stress, so that you feel more quickly at home.

Let your time in Rotterdam become one of your great life experiences!

Ling Chan

How I help you

Free initial orientation of Rotterdam

I give you practical information about daily life and living in Rotterdam. I answer your questions about renting a house within your budget, expat recruitment agencies, etc. And I give tips on events, sports clubs and social activities that are geared towards expats.

SparkLing pre-visit orientation tour

I put together a city tour based on your wishes. It’s always good to first visit the city before you decide indefinitely to come live and work here. During your tour you will encounter daily life in Rotterdam, first hand. No book or blog about Rotterdam can compete with that.

I will tell you about the neighbourhood you have your eye on, how to get to and from your workplace and other practical matters; i.e. public transport, supermarkets, barber/hairdresser, etc. We will also take some time out to taste typical Dutch snacks along the way. After the tour, you might feel more at home in Rotterdam.

Your stay in Rotterdam during orientation

I ensure that your stay in Rotterdam is arranged, within your budget. If you like I can schedule appointments for you with, for example, property agents or a tax advisor.

Photo – Hotel nhow Rotterdam

A SparkLing welcome to Rotterdam

I put this package together based on your wishes as an expat. For example, I show you the different neighbourhoods of Rotterdam, help you acclimate to the neighbourhood you have chosen to live in, and tell you about the subtle do’s and don’ts of the Dutch culture. Ask me whatever you like – I am here to help! My personal tour for you includes a welcome basket with regional products from Rotterdam, such as beer from Brouwerij Noordt, Maasstroompjes cookies, Zeemansboter peanut butter and Natte Tea . By now, Rotterdam might start to feel more like home.

Practical support

When you have arrived in Rotterdam to live and work, you will be inundated with practical challenges: the filling out of countless forms, closing a mobile telephone subscription, arranging an internet provider, buying items for your new house. The list goes on. Having problems making a start? Are you at odds with which service providers to choose, and how to decipher what they have to offer? I will think with you to answer these questions. And if I don’t have an answer for you, I can put you in contact with the people who do. To start you off on the right foot, I can arrange to have you picked up from the airport as well as arrange your temporary stay.

Your expat buddy support in Rotterdam

As an expat, you will have questions throughout your stay in Rotterdam that need answering. I am here to answer your questions and act as your sparring partner. For example, I can help you locate the practical things you will need in your new Rotterdam neighbourhood: the supermarket, barber/hairdresser, butcher, caterer and delis, gym, cafés, dentist and the general practitioner. I can also clue you in to the best breakfast restaurants or a delicious baker. Tell you where expats typically hang out around Rotterdam, how to meet people (both Dutch and non-Dutch) with similar interests and where and when the expat meet-ups take place. Do you have any questions, or have you come across any issues? For example, where to rent a car, or which other cities in the Netherlands might be interesting to discover? You can call on me! I will do my very best to help you feel right at home in Rotterdam.

Photo – Watertaxi Rotterdam

Things that make living in Rotterdam worthwhile:

  • Large expat community
  • Fascinating activities: A barista workshop, sushi-making with a Japanese chef, bike tour through Rotterdam neighbourhoods, etc.
  • Information evenings: Learn about (Dutch) taxes, health insurance, etc.
  • Meet-ups: A bite to eat or a pub crawl
  • Music festivals: Best Kept Secret, Pinkpop, etc.
  • City trips: Discover trendy Dutch neighbourhoods, etc.
  • Agenda with local expat events
  • Travel (more information)
  • Language and culture training: Learn about cultural differences and the Dutch language
  • FAQs for any situation you as an expat might run into

Photo – Brouwerij Noordt Rotterdam

Try as I might, I cannot make everything 100% perfect for you or solve all your problems. However, I can promise you humour, dedication and that I will work with you to help give you the best start possible in your new home city – Rotterdam.

SparkLing packages

Are you coming soon to Rotterdam to live and work as an expat? And would you like a dedicated expat buddy? I can help. After a non-obligatory discussion with you, I will put together a proposal based on these prices.

Together we can make your move to Rotterdam easier and more pleasant!

Starter packageEuro 650.00
Advanced packageEuro 975.00
Hourly rate
Euro 125.00

*Note: all above rates are listed inclusief of 21% VAT (BTW) 

Here when you need me

Call, email or Skype me for a free introductory meeting. I like to ensure that I will be a good match for all the expatriates I work with, and this non-obligatory meeting will help us to get going on the right foot.

Let’s get in touch.