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BSN News & Jobs - from Italy to the Netherlands

Heather Bell is working with the Communications and IT teams at BSN on the new intranet (Gateway) for
December 13 · Issue #91 · View online
The British School in The Netherlands - News & Jobs
Heather Bell is working with the Communications and IT teams at BSN on the new intranet (Gateway) for parents and staff. She has a background in both User Experience Research and Communications. Heather tells us about her transition to the Netherlands:

“In late 2015, after 13 years in Italy filled with listening to lyrical Italian and retreating from Rome on weekends to hilltop villages, my British husband, Roman-born daughter and I moved to the Netherlands.

I had always watched the Netherlands from afar and appreciated what I knew about Dutch innovation. I saw it as the land of innovative water management, really cool bikes, and where the telescope and the microscope were invented. I knew very little about Dutch people and culture before moving here - except for one of my old bosses at the UN World Food Programme who used to throw us parties where he supplied us all with orange hats.

One of my first impressions on moving here is that everything simply works. Registering in the Netherlands was a straight-forward process - and a very welcome break from the bureaucracy I had gotten used to in Italy. What a joy!

I very quickly learned to love the Dutch directness and still find it refreshing. This directness fits perfectly with my passion for User Experience Research: People are not shy about their likes and dislikes. It is very helpful to know what people are really thinking, in my role.

In late 2016, we welcomed my son to our family. I felt so supported throughout the process of having a child in the Netherlands with the kraamzorg service. I absolutely fell in love with our kraamverzorgster (maternity aide) and did not want her to leave - It was like having a fairy godmother in the house for a week.

If I have one criticism of the Netherlands it is that everyone speaks English too well. I am still on the journey of picking up Dutch and it has taken me a lot longer than Italian because people hear your accent and switch to English. I often persist in speaking Dutch and have the bizarre situation where they continue in English and I continue in Dutch and neither of us is speaking our native language.

One thing I miss is having guanciale and eating my favourite dish bucatini all'Amatriciana but I know that Italy is a quick flight away from Schiphol Amsterdam airport. I always make sure to leave one of the suitcases half-empty to bring back all of our favourite goodies from Italy.
In day-to-day life, my family loves to ride our bikes around The Hague. We have even invested in race bikes for the grown-ups for the weekends. I highly recommend it: You get to see this beautiful country on the thousands of kilometres of paths - and get some exercise along the way!
Working at BSN, I get the opportunity to cycle to the campuses around The Hague. I must admit that I have a smile on my face most of the time (except for the occasional downpour!) on my way to work. I’m delighted to work with such a professional and truly lovely group of people in this gorgeous country.“
Language Assistant- Chinese
Teaching at The British School in The Netherlands (BSN) 2020
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