ACCESS has been in partnership with Expat Centre Leiden since November 2016, providing internationals with experience and expertise in answering their settling-in related questions. A not-for -profit organisation with a 30-year legacy, ACCESS is run by volunteers with previously acquired expatriate experience (in the Netherlands or elsewhere), giving them the opportunity to help others, and serve the international community. Deborah Valentine, Executive Director of ACCESS comments 'We know from experience that speaking to someone who has been in your shoes, transforms that which may seem insurmountable into the manageable, firmly planting the first steps to settling-in'.
ACCESS is a not-for-profit organisation supporting the international community in the Netherlands. The professional volunteer staff at ACCESS can answer questions and provide information on important expatriation issues. In addition, its on-call Counselling Services Network consists of experienced and qualified professionals who are aware of the challenges facing expatriates in need of support. Many of your answers can be found in the Frequently Asked Questions Guides or by emailing the Expat Centre Leiden helpdesk at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, of course, if you are in Leiden, drop in at the Expat Centre Leiden during opening hours.
Expats helping expats
The ACCESS Helpdesk model is a tried and tested way of enlisting knowledgeable expats to help and assist recent arrivals. The experience of those who arrived before is invaluable in navigating the often complicated waters of a new home. After all, when someone is new to a place they do not know what they do not know, who better to help guide them than those who have travelled the same path. Being able to do so in person and face to face, enhances the impact and the hospitality extended to new residents of the Leiden area.
Volunteering for ACCESS
It is not simply the services ACCESS offers to the community at large which makes ACCESS unique, but importantly ACCESS provides internationals the opportunity to volunteer and thus contribute to their own settlement process. Contributing their time and expertise to ACCESS and the international community, the volunteers are able to broaden their personal network, make valuable use of their time, and create a supportive community for themselves. “ACCESS is now able to offer these benefits to internationals in the Leiden area, which makes us immensely proud of our collective achievements.” according to Executive Director Deborah Valentine. To find out about volunteering opportunities with ACCESS please refer to their Information Mornings.