Matteo Barboni is an Italian dentist who has been working in a Dutch clinic since 2016. He arrived in the Netherlands with BGB, and now he helps out fellow dentists from Italy by giving them information about moving to the Netherlands. To give an idea of what it is like to move, live and work in Holland, Matteo shares his experiences in this interview.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Matteo. I am an Italian Dentist and I am 26 years old. I lived in Madrid for 5 years, where I studied and got my degree in dentistry. Now I work and live in the Nederlands.
How did you find out about the BGB project?
Shortly after my graduation, I went back to Italy to start my adventure as a professional in the field of Dentistry. I was working but I had very few chances to to put into practice what I had learned, treat patients and develop my skills. So I started looking around in search of opportunities and new challenges. It was then when I read an announcement about BGB, published on the local dentist association’s board.What was your first impression of the BGB project? What were the main reasons for you to join?
I realized from the very beginning that it was a great opportunity. The project had a clear structure and most important of all: it was made by people who truly cared about helping you in this journey. From the first day I felt a human connection between me and the BGB team and that really convinced me to take this big step.
Regarding Seefeld, what was your first impression of the village, hotel, employees etc.? Is there any thing on your point of viewing it, that could be improved?
Actually the tree months in Seefeld were my biggest concern, but they turned out to be one of the most beautiful experience of my life. I had the chance to meet other dentists from different European countries who were living my same situation, and share with them a lot of experiences. The language course is tough, but everything is made to allow you to completely focus on it.
How did you experience your first months in the Netherlands?
The first months are the hardest but is also the time when you meet so many new people and learn all the new things about the life you just started living. Every day is very exciting.
Did you experience a cultural shock of any kind? If yes, what was it and how did you overcome it?
Yes of course, I didn’t realize it at the beginning, but often you have to relearn to do a lot of basic things in your daily life, and sometimes that can be frustrating. I think that the best thing you can do to overcome the shock is being as open and communicative as you can with the people around you. As the Dutch say “Alles komt goed” (Everything will turn out fine)!
What do you miss from your country that you cannot have here in the Netherlands? Is there anything that you did to replace it?
I’m Italian, so obviously I miss the food, the weather and the family. But now that I’m more settled and organized, also financially, I can enjoy my vacations back in Italy or in some other sunny place. Jokes aside, the Nederlands is also a very nice country with a lot of places to visit and enjoy.Are you happy with your job in the Netherlands?
Yes I am. That is the most important reason I came here. I did not imagine that in only one year I could have found such a good clinic like the one I work at now. We are 4 dentists working in a team and sharing our experiences over treatments and management of the patients.
In terms of integration, do you feel a part of Dutch society?
With every day that passes, I feel more integrated. As I already told, the best thing is being open and communicative. The Dutch people like it when you are spontaneous and they are always likely to help you and have a good time together.
Dutch people have a reputation of being open-minded and friendly. Is that true? Did you feel welcomed when you arrived?
The Dutch are open-minded and very internationally oriented. Almost everyone speaks English at a high level, and they have a lot of curiosity for people who come from other countries.
Can you tell us what a typical work day looks like for you?
I get up very early because I have my first patient at 7:30. I work 8 hours divided into turns of 4, with a lunch break in the middle. At 16:00 I am done and I still have time to work out, care about my house and meet some friends.
What are the differences between working in Italy and here in the Netherlands?
I think that in the Netherlands, there is a very good dental care system. The prices are the same for every clinic and the majority of the population has a dental insurance, which makes the treatments much more accessible to the patients. As a result, this makes our jobs as dentists easier, as we do not have to worry about lower quality competitors.What did you achieve in the Netherlands so far?
I am very proud of my professional and private achievements. During this first year, I had the chance to treat a very large number of patients. I could also focus on developing my skills in endodontics, following high quality courses. On the private side, I found my economical independence and I also bought the appartement where I am living.
Any advice to your Italian colleagues who want to work in the Netherlands as well?
It is not an easy journey, but there is nothing that is impossible to accomplish with a good attitude and motivation.
If you are a dentist and you would like to ask Matteo something about working in the Netherlands, you can contact him by clicking here.