What kind of expatriate are you?
I’m Myriam, 39 years old. I have a real taste for challenges and adventure and love the little everyday moments of happiness in life, diversity and finding out all about other cultures.
Where do you live?
I live in Amsterdam in the “Zuid” district. I love this leafy residential district, which is really tranquil within the city yet just 15 minutes by bike to the city centre!
How did you come to be here?
I came here with my partner.
Had you lived abroad before?
I could write a novel about this but I’ll try to be concise! As a child, I lived in Germany, France, Belgium, Ireland and England. My family has been moving and resettling abroad for the last 10 years: first in the United States in New York, then in Montreal, Canada and now in the Netherlands
How long have you been an expat in Amsterdam?
We came here 4 years ago with our 2 daughters (aged 10 and 4). It took us rather a long time to settle: 18 months.
You’ve launched your own “relocation” business: where did the idea for this come from?
My husband’s business didn’t offer any kind of relocation service when we were moving around before. Between 2008 and 2010, I made all the arrangements for our moves from Paris to NYC and NYC to Montreal on my own. When we settled in Amsterdam in 2013, this was the first time my husband’s company offered us a relocation service using a specialist company. This was when I first found out all about the relocation service. I had a lot of knowledge about this from personal experience through TCK (Third Culture Kids) as well as through my professional journey as a business development project manager. I was passionate about this subject, its diversity and complexity and the various themes that surround it. When I was an expat before, I worked for various companies and had to resign each time I moved. After taking maternity leave in Canada, I decided to take a year out dedicated to my children and to think about my next professional project. In view of the challenges with relocating and being a following partner, I needed to find a career that would fit in around my family life since my partner was frequently required to relocate and we were fast becoming a
family based abroad.
How do you organise things between your projects and your family life?
The advantage of being independent means I can manage my timetable without too much difficulty. Also, sharing childcare with other expats and out-of-school activities to keep the children busy means I can extend the working day even though the school day finished at 3.15pm.
So you’re a very busy “Mompreneur”?
Yes, I’m a real “Trailerbee” and try to be just as much a wonder-mum as a super business woman!!!
Tell us about a sudden inspirational moment of happiness?
I love simply spending time with my children: collecting them from school and seeing the smiles on their faces as well as developing my professional career at the same time. I love walking, enjoying food and dining, bath times and doing homework. I like to combine usefulness with enjoyment and get the children to join in with household tasks: folding the laundry while dancing, trying on clothes and creating new fashions!
What sort of cultural things do you enjoy right now on your own or with your family?
I love walking in the countryside, visiting new towns and cities, museums and historic sites.
Time for a bit of culture: Can you quote one of your favourite books or paintings?
The painting “Children of the Sea” by Jozef Israels gives me a feeling of calm and evokes the simple joy of life. You can really believe in this type of scene in today’s world: a family all pulling together. It could be anywhere and it’s timeless!
Tell me about your business in giving advice for relocations?
I launched my business in giving “relocation” advice to provide a tailor- made service for those who are relocating, depending the stage they’re at
(preparation, arrival, settling in, integration, departure).
How did you set it up?
During the year I spent contemplating my business, I was giving advice on project launches. This was mainly in communication but also on settling in and helping to manage change. Through the network of French entrepreneurs in The Netherlands, I discovered that procedures for setting up a business in the local area were fairly straightforward. So, I decided to start out: I went for interview and my business was registered within 20 minutes! Once I had my registration number, I could begin and set myself up straight away because advice in relocating and business development doesn’t need much investment in terms of materials!
Summarise your professional journey …
After a BTS in International Business and a Master’s Degree in Marketing, Purchasing and Logistics, I worked in project management and business development for 15 years. This covered many different business sectors and companies of different sizes in various countries (France, the U.S and Canada). I’ve always liked being an entrepreneur: from creating a student association to various roles in companies. So, launching my business was a natural step. In March 2016, I started Tips4Expat, which combines my personal experience with my professional expertise.