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BSN News & Jobs - Teach, Live, Learn Q&A - with Donnica Frijlink

Happy 2020! The first week back at school has flown by. Do you have any New Year's Resolutions? Maybe
January 10 · Issue #92 · View online
The British School in The Netherlands - News & Jobs
Happy 2020! The first week back at school has flown by. Do you have any New Year’s Resolutions? Maybe finding a new job is one of them, or perhaps, learning another language? Donnica Frijlink could give you some advice about that–she learned to speak Dutch and also happens to be Office Manager at The BSN’s Language Centre. In her answers to our Q&A, Donnica emphasises how important learning the language is to the enjoyment of living abroad.

Is BSN your first job abroad?
I have been living in the Netherlands since 2001 and BSN is my third job while living here. I previously worked at one of the United Nations criminal tribunals as well as an international organization that advocated for midwives on a global level. Both jobs were located in The Hague.
What inspires you about working in an international context?
It is never boring. I learn a lot from my colleagues and understand that there are many ways of achieving organisational goals through positive and meaningful collaboration. 
What inspired you to apply for The BSN in particular?
I had been working at my previous job for four and a half years and knew that I would be completing my masters within a couple of months. It was time for a change – to experience a new environment and new challenges. 

What was the biggest adjustment/challenge when moving to The Netherlands?
I initially lived in Groningen and it was extremely important to learn the language if I wanted to have some sort of life outside the four walls of our apartment. Attending a circle birthday party and not understanding a word of Dutch for three hours was extremely painful. So, learning the language while attending the “fast track” inburgerings (Civic integration) programme was a challenge, but the teachers knew what they were doing and I was able to speak, read and write Dutch within nine months.   
What’s the best thing about living in The Netherlands?
I had moved, as they say in Dutch, ‘voor de liefde’ (for love). My husband was Dutch so he was the best thing about living in The Netherlands. Besides him, and my two children, of course – absorbing a different culture first-hand, intermingling and making friends with different backgrounds/cultures, and learning a language that not everyone in the world understands. Very handy at a market stand in a foreign country when you need to discuss negotiating a price with your partner!
What advice would you give a new colleague on their first day at BSN?
The BSN is a wonderful and complex organisation made up of people with different backgrounds, experiences and skills. Take the time to watch and learn about the BSN community as a whole – from the schools, the parents, the students to Central Services, the ILA and the Language Centre.
What’s the most valuable lesson you have learned since joining the BSN?
I will never stop learning and hopefully…I will never stop evolving personally and professionally.
What was the most recent profession development course/workshop you have done?
Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) ‘Developing Personal Effectiveness’
Favourite professional book?
One of my favourite professional books is Judgment in Managerial Decision Making by Max Bazerman. It really focuses on the individual person and what factors (both hidden and open) effect our daily decision-making processes.
Describe BSN in 3 words?
Innovative energetic organism
What do you do to unwind after a busy day at school?
I usually wait for the kids to fall in bed and then afterwards enjoy a glass of wine and read a book, play a game on the iPad or watch television. Anything to give my brain cells a little break. Twice a month I go for a 2-hour massage where I literally fall asleep on the massage table.
What’s your favourite destination for a weekend getaway?
I am not stuck to one place. I like to be adventurous and visit new places that I have heard about from others or stumbled upon myself.
Who inspires you?
Any person that is thinking outside of the box and provides me with new ways of thinking or looking at the world and my surrounding environment.
Scroll down for the latest vacancies. And, if you live in and around The Hague and you are free this Saturday, come and visit–it’s Open Day at The Language Centre!
BSN Language Centre
Our Open Day is Tomorrow! 🎉📅

11 January 2020, 10:00-14:00

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