±Compare Expat Providers

Expat Health Insurance Quotes

Foreign Currency Exchange Quotes

International Moving Quotes

We're very social! Follow Expat Focus on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+

Expat Focus Facebook PageExpat Focus on TwitterExpat Focus Pinterest PageExpat Focus Google+ Page

Notify me when new content is added about a country

±Expat Focus Partners

Expat Experiences

Netherlands > Expat Experiences


Melissa Adams, Amsterdam

Friday August 05, 2016 (12:30:44)
Melissa Adams
Melissa Adams

Who are you?

I'm an American freelance journalist who was born in Los Angeles but spent most of my adult life in Newport Beach, California (of reality show The OC fame). After graduating from UCLA in 1973, I launched my career as a travel writer for the American Automobile Club (AAA). Since 2012, I've shared passion for my adopted city at UnClogged in Amsterdam: An American Expat Plumbs Holland.

Where, when and why did you move abroad?

I fell in love with Amsterdam after visiting the city on a whim in 2007. I bought an apartment in 2010 and exchanged sunny southern California for this soggy but gorgeous patch on the European continent for good.

What challenges did you face during the move?

Language! While it's easy to get around in Amsterdam without knowing Dutch, you need the language to read your mail, bills and the local newspaper. Making phone calls and communicating with local merchants also is much easier if you try to do it Dutch.

Are there many other expats in your area?

Yes, Amsterdam is a melting pot of expats. I've met many through local meet-ups and expat groups. Still, it takes some effort, especially if you work from home.

What do you like about life where you are?

Everything! From experiencing seasons to having no need for a car, I love living in Amsterdam - the only city I've been to in all my travels where it's perfectly normal to talk to perfect strangers. I do it all the time, over cappuccino in Leidseplein; over beers at Sound Garden, my local dive bar; or at Eerst Hulp, the coffeeshop around the corner from me.

What do you dislike about your expat life?

It takes a long time to fully integrate into local culture, especially if you don't have family or work colleagues nearby. Also, Mexican food. No matter how they try, Dutchies just can't make tacos or burritos like they do where I grew up.

What is the biggest cultural difference you have experienced between your new country and life back home?

People commute via bike, not car; everyone complains about the weather; and smoking marijuana in the park is commonplace and condoned.

What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?

Learn Dutch. If you're coming from Southern California, ditch the flip-flops and invest in several jackets and some good-looking boots.

What are your plans for the future?

To become fluent in Dutch while living out the rest of my days in Amsterdam.

You can keep up to date with Melissa's adventures on her blog, UnClogged In Amsterdam.

Link  QR 

Expat Health Insurance Partners

Aetna International

Our award-winning expatriate business provides health benefits to more than 650,000 members worldwide. In addition, we have helped develop world-class health systems for governments, corporations and providers around the world. We want to be the global leader in delivering world-class health solutions, making quality health care more accessible and empowering people to live healthier lives.

AXA - Global Healthcare

As the global healthcare specialists for AXA, the world’s number one insurance brand, we can help you get fast access to expert medical care, whenever and wherever you need it. All our plans include evacuation and repatriation, a second medical opinion service and extra support from a dedicated case manager if you’re diagnosed with cancer. You’ll also have 24/7 support from our caring multilingual team - we’ll always remember you’re a person, not a case number.

Bupa Global

Bupa Global is one of the world’s largest international health insurers. We offer direct access to over 1.2m medical providers worldwide, and we settle directly with them so you don’t have to pay up front for your treatment. We provide access to leading specialists without the need to see your family doctor first and ensure that you have the same level of cover wherever you might be, home or away.

Cigna International

Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.