Moving to the Netherlands is a dream come true — the logistics around it though, are not.
I have been here nearly a week now, and it’s time to do a bit less exploring and a lot more work. It has been a long couple of days trying to figure out the residency permit application, as well as getting back in the job-application mode. But without these two things, my life here will end very soon.
Being an American looking to live in an European Union country can be difficult when it comes to obtaining a visa and work permit. In the Netherlands specifically, without a residence & work permit, a potential employer would need to sponsor me to work for their company. But being a sponsor is time, and money, and means paperwork with the government — including proving why I was an essential hire, as opposed to someone else within the country or the EU. So while I have applied to dozens of jobs, I have had no prospects.
On top of that, I tried to figure out a way to start my residency permit application while in the United States, but the logistics around it were too complex. For one, my fiance (Jeff will be a masters Biology student at UU) who I am applying to stay under was not living in the country at the time. For me, this did not seem like a problem, since all of his paperwork was figured out. But it turns out this was a big deal for the Netherlands, and would be nearly impossible to work around. I am the type of person who likes to be proactive, and make a plan — so when the consulate worker told me I should just pack my bags and move with Jeff, I was completely overwhelmed.
As an American, I have three months in the country, or anywhere in the EU as a tourist. This does not require a visa, or any sort of application, so I was advised to take the plunge and move to Utrecht — and apply for my residency permit upon arrival. This scared the shit out of me. But the only other choice was to abandon this dream Jeff and I had worked so hard to make a reality. So, here we are! The process is not going to be easy, but it will be worth it.
“People are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of.” Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
My favorite book in the entire world sums up my thoughts perfectly. Since the moment I read it I thought: why put off, or make excuses to live your dream, when you could do it today? This decision to move abroad is far from easy, but when was the last time something you wanted was handed to you? This is the attitude I have chosen to have during this stressful, and time consuming process. It’s time to buckle down, and work hard to get it all done.
Dealing with the stress of this move has been challenging, but the only way I have gotten through it is by staying positive. My dream of moving abroad is right in front of me — why waste that opportunity, and diminish all that hard work, by being negative?
Finally, this entire journey is a learning experience. I am young and at a point in my life where I can not only afford to take risks and make mistakes — but I am willing to.