Poulomi in WonderLimburg
Interview with Poulomi Basu from India living in Maastricht, brand and marketing consultant, founder of Ignite Marketing.
I grew up in India, finished my graduation in Economics and Post-Graduation in Communication, and started working in advertising. In 2007 I moved to Dubai with my (now ex) husband and also worked in advertising there. In 2010 I separated from my husband, and moved to Paris to pursue an international MBA. Then I started working in marketing in the LÓreal headquarters in Paris, and in 2013 the whole department was moved to Singapore, to be closer to the Asian countries. Later in Singapore I also worked in the global brand team of Johnson & Johnson, and eventually started my own marketing consultancy to work with smaller businesses, helping them with their branding, content marketing, SEO, and copywriting.
In the meantime I met my current partner, who is from Germany, in Thailand on a weekend trip. He is currently working in RWTH Aachen. After having a long-distance relationship for some time, we decided to move in together, and we chose Maastricht, Netherlands, as the perfect place where I could work in English, in an international city, and he could drive 20 minutes to his work place in Aachen.
Similar to Singapore, I started my own business here as well, a marketing consultancy.
My first impression of Maastricht
Well, Maastricht and Netherlands are both new to me. I had never heard of this city before, Amsterdam and Rotterdam were all I knew, and when my boyfriend told me about Maastricht, I was convinced it was so tiny it can’t even be on the map, hehhe 😉 But then I came here to visit, and I was quite pleased by how beautiful and charming it is. And not a village, as I first thought! Lovely river and architecture, very international, friendly people who all spoke English.
Of course my family and friends from other places I lived in. One thing I miss as well are authentic international cuisines, even Indian food. Yes I have tried a few restaurants here, but since I’ve had the opportunity to try very authentic global cuisines, especially Asian, in their home countries and other international places, I know that the ones I have found in Maastricht so far at least are not close to the real thing. I think Middle Eastern and European food they manage well, but Asian not so much, from what I have seen. Let me know if you have any recommendations 😉
The tallest people and fries
The tallest people I have ever seen, hehhe 😉 The smell of weed in many street corners, and the fact that you can smoke that legally, openly, inside shops as well. A LOT of fries!!
On another note, Limburg at least is much quieter compared to the big international cities I have lived in. Also people have more laid back lives, and the pace of life is not as dynamic as I was used to in Singapore, for example. It took some time to get used to it at first, but now it’s good 🙂
Just switch to English
The fact that people don’t roll their eyes when you don’t speak Dutch! They don’t judge you or look at you disapprovingly, they just switch to English, all with a smile. That automatically makes such a huge difference in making anyone feel welcome. I’ve had tough times sometimes going around in Aachen because I don’t speak the language, and I really appreciate how it is easy to live in Netherlands.
Maastricht is home now
While I miss Asian cuisines, there are some really nice restaurants here with European food. Also when the weather permits, it’s really nice to walk around, around Sint Pietersburg for example.
It’s home now 🙂 I have a nice and cosy apartment here with my husband, have some nice friends, we enjoy walks in the city, going for movies, dinner, and show our non-resident friends around when they visit. It’s now my comfort zone.
Career in NL
Was very easy to set up my business, which I was also very appreciative about. I sometimes work in the offices of my clients in Netherlands, and also do a lot of work online for my international clients. I have met some other small business owners here as well, which has been quite nice.
Embrace new life
An open mind, welcoming all kinds of possibilities. Whether it’s Limburg or any other place in NL, or that matter the world, it always takes a bit of time to let go of what you’re used to, and embrace a new life. But if you wanted to live in a really nice, comfortable place in Netherlands, Maastricht is one of the best places to be. A lot of Dutch people have also told me that.
If you’re from outside Netherlands, you have to be prepared that things work very differently here, and it may take some time to get used to everything and settle in. Some rules are different from even city to city (even within Limburg), and though people speak English, most of the written documents are in Dutch.
Also the rules of Germany and NL are very different, so while my husband initially thought that it is just another European country, he had to adapt to a whole new system as well. So you should be prepared for that, even if you’re European.
Also, if you don’t have any friends here, don’t get disheartened if it takes a bit of time. Especially if you’re not working in an office, and your partner is going to work, and you’re by yourself. Like a lot of smaller cities, people in Maastricht already have their own networks, families, and friends, so unlike big cities like Amsterdam where there are plenty of new expats coming in daily, looking to make new friends, and going to various networking events, here a lot of people already know each other. And there are not so many events happening to meet new people, like there are in big cities.
But the Holland Expat Centre South does organize some events like those, so you might want to check those out. People are very friendly there, and happy to help! There are also some women’s groups and other communities you can be a part of, and soon you will meet some very interesting and warm people 🙂
Most importantly, enjoy this beautiful region! I know it must be hard to give up your life, friends and family back home, but if you give it a chance, Limburg can become a beautiful new home for you too! The quality of life is really very good here, and I feel quite grateful to have had the chance to live here.
Read, watch also:
Latest series: in WonderLimburg/in Wonder Netherlands in an alphabetical order
Adina (Romania): ‘’I brought from Romania a lot of passion and determination and in Maastricht I was welcomed with support and opportunities for growth.’’
Chalida (Thailand): ‘’Things happen for some reason’’ Personal journey from Motherland to Fatherland
Elena (Latvia): ‘’The Netherlands and Limburg will always remain in my heart as one of the brightest memories’’
Marieke (Spain/The Netherlands): ”That makes the distance between Barcelona and Maastricht very small”
Michelle (Australia): ”We are really fortunate to have a strong community here in Limburg”
Nestar (Uganda): ’’Limburg is my new home. But Uganda is my roots and flows in my blood’’
Nino (Georgia): ’’I know that dreams come true only when you work hard and try to develop’’
Nurlaila (Indonesia): ‘’Never stop dreaming; finding your passion isn’t just about career and money. It’s about finding your authentic self.’’
Sara (Iran): ‘’From Tehran to Eijsden’’
Agnieszka (Poland): ‘’It is here where after a long search I have found myself’’
Céline (Canada): ‘’My new Chez Moi’’
Heide (Austria): ‘’The ‘music’ in both languages made the connection for me’’
Katalin (Hungary): ‘’What I learnt in Limburg is: stop running, slow down and try to enjoy life’’
Meghan (United States of America): ‘’While we never dreamed we would live here, now we dream of staying for good’’
Orsolya (Hungary): ‘’Maastricht is a potpourri of people, nations and moods’’
Sathi (India): ‘’Two lives in Maastricht’’
Silvina (Argentina): ‘’You have to fly to change languages in Argentina’’
Sonia (India): ‘’I was tremendously excited on starting this new episode in my life’’