Can you introduce yourself? Who is Corine?

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I’m originally Dutch, and have worked in HR in the Netherlands for years. First in consultancy, later at a technical company that hired internationals and sent employees abroad to France and Taiwan. This is when I first worked with internationals and learned about the huge possibilities as well as the challenges of global living. My family then moved to Malaysia. I worked as a secretary and later as chairperson of the Board of ‘De Bontekoe’, the Dutch School in Kuala Lumpur my children were attending. After having lived there for three years, we moved to Bangalore in India. Here I led a Shell Outpost team. Outpost is a unique expatriate support system that helps Shell’s internationally mobile staff and their families to face the challenges of global mobility.

After having done that for a few years and with our upcoming return to the Netherlands in mind, I figured it was time to prepare to get back to the work force and did a few courses. The one I enjoyed most, was an extensive cultural communication training, which taught me a lot about the different ways people regard time, group relations and much more. It showed me the ‘theory’ behind what I already experienced when working in a multicultural team. Why we all work, think and act differently. It also taught me that I am really Dutch, I love to plan ahead and can be blunt without even realizing… The training and my experience abroad made me realize the Dutch way is definitely not always the best and only way of doing things.

Why did you apply for the job of manager at the Expat Centre Leiden?

I applied for the job of Manager of the Expat Centre Leiden while packing up the house for the move. I’ve been in the Netherlands since June 2016 and enjoy working with expats a lot. It gives me a chance to help others with what I have learned and experienced abroad. This job also links my Dutch and overseas professional and personal life. And what I like most: it gives me a chance to talk about the fact that I’m not just any Dutch person. Because let’s face it: the Dutch let you talk about all the things one has experienced for about 5 minutes and then it’s time to ‘act normal’.

What is your goal as the manager of ECL?

With the Expat Centre Leiden we want to offer expats (highly skilled migrants, intra corporate transferees, scientific researchers, entrepreneurs, privileged people, recent graduates, EU citizens with the same qualifications, and their families) a one-stop-shop where they can get things done: governmental facilities such as municipal registration, information about for instance driver’s licenses and child support, ask questions regarding anything that will make the expat’s life in the Leiden region easier and find a network for internationals to get in touch with each other through events and activities. Last but not least we refer internationals to partnered businesses that will be relevant for them like banks, tax and legal advisers.

I’ve been working hard to increase the number and quality of services offered by the expat centre, turning it into ‘Expat Centre Leiden version 2.0’. Since November 2016 we can actually register people at the Personal Records Database (Basisregistratie Personen - BRP) of the Municipality of Leiden at the Expat Centre. We have added the towns in the region since May 2017. ACCESS is on board to answer all your questions. The new website is live now and we have regular events for internationals, and much more to come!

Can you recommend websites for (new) expats in the Leiden area?

Thank you for the introduction, Corine. Can your readers contact you for questions?

As we’re still in the process of adding services, I’d love to get in touch with you and hear your suggestions. Please feel free to give me a call at +31 70 51 66 005 or email me at info@expatcentreleiden.nl. Or stop by at the Expat Centre Leiden at Stationsweg 26 in Leiden. We’re located in the Tourist Office. Our opening hours are listed here