Eleni is a 28-year-old dentist from Crete, Greece. She studied dentistry at the University of Athens, where she graduated in 2013. Since 2016, she works and lives in the Netherlands, in the city of Dordrecht (near Amsterdam). Eleni tells us about her experience so far.
How did you get in touch with BGB?
I put my CV online in the Eures portal and then Arjen, one of the BGB career consultants, contacted me by e-mail. So, I did not find BGB, but BGB found me.
What did your first months in the Netherlands look like?
I guess I did have a cultural shock. The changes were enormous. Coming into contact with people, getting to know the culture and the traditions and being willing to adjust is the key to integration.
Is there anything that you miss from Greece?
I miss the sun and the sea, the relaxing rhythms of life and of course my family and friends from Greece. You cannot replace them, but you can slowly build a new social circle here, which is important for your personal life. I also travel a lot to Greece to catch up.
You’ve been in the Netherlands since 2016. Do you feel you’ve intergrated well?
I feel a part of the Dutch society. The most important part of the integration process is the language according to me. After the course in Seefeld, I still follow courses to this day to improve my language skills. This is the main obstacle that keeps you away from interacting. Since my level of Dutch is basically good, I enjoy going out with dutch colleagues from the clinic , learning their habits and customs. What I would advise my colleagues is to invest in the language, be open to socialise and respect the new country that offers them a place to stay and work.
Holland is known as a place where the people are generally open and tolerant. Have you found this to be true?
Like in every country you can find both open and close-minded people. The advantage here is that the Netherland is multicultural so Dutch people are used to foreigners and until now they don’t seem surprised to have a Greek dentist!
Are you happy with your job in the Netherlands?
I am really happy with my job in the Netherlands. Stable salary, stable working hours, job security, good materials and instruments, opportunities to evolve and learn and respect among the colleges are the reasons why!
Can you describe your average working day to us?
Busy would be the perfect word. The agenda is really full. You have to be concentrated during every treatment, follow Dutch protocol, keep the card of the patient up to date, communicate with colleagues about plans and inform your patients thoroughly about everything.
What is different between Greek and Dutch dentistry?
The level of dentistry is good in both countries. But in Greece, we lack preventive dentistry. No one visits the dentist for control. How sad.
You have accompanied us to some career events in Greece. How did you experience those?
I have mixed feelings about these events. On one hand, I am really excited to share my experience in the Netherlands, but on the other hand I see that Greece still cannot provide good working conditions for new dentists.
Do you have any tips for your Greek colleagues who are interested to work in the Netherlands?
Be prepared for big changes, invest in the language, being open to adjust and follow new customs. and of course ready to sacrifice some things for their career.
Would you like to know more about working in the Netherlands as a dentist? Talk to our career consultants and ambassadors by going here!