Interview with Nino Kvantrishvili, journalist, media communications specialist from Georgia
Mr Nino in The Hague
My first name is Nino and the last name is Kvantrishvili. Nino is the most common female name in Georgia, but here, in writing communications most of the time I am referred as Mr. Nino. I found out that my surname is too complicated for Dutch people to pronounce and most of the time I am saying that my name is just Nino, and I am a female. I’m Georgian. My hometown is Tbilisi. My roots are in Georgia and they will stay there no matter how much time I will spent abroad. The Hague has become my second home. This is the city where the most important moments of my life happened. My child was born in The Hague, I’ve done second Master’s Degree in Media Communications here and I have already spent 6 years in the city of Peace and Justice. The Hague is very diverse and super interesting. It is a very international city. Here, you can meet expats everywhere. So you don’t feel like a stranger in the city. I still have two more years left for the Dutch adventure.
TV and Central Election Commission
In my country, Georgia, I started working when I was in my second year of undergraduate studies of the Tbilisi State University. Working as a journalist in private TV station Imedi was the first step taken on my career path. In Imedi I learned to be critical, because the age was giving chance to be most frank in my statements. Being a TV journalist of the most rated TV channel is very exciting and challenging at the same time. The love of viewers is a reward, but at the same time it gives you responsibility to be unbiased and fair.
Later on, after successfully finishing Master’s program in Media Communication Management (The Georgian Institute of Public Affairs, The Caucasus School of Journalistic and Media Management), after experiencing all the challenges and charms of the journalistic field, I got involved in Public Relations. Free and fair elections are the most vital for a developing country like Georgia. During Parliamentary and Presidential Elections in Georgia, I decided to work in the Public sector and began working at the Central Election Commission of Georgia (Public and International Relations Department). I must admit, that I was lucky enough to manage to combine working at two places at a time, at the TV station (being involved in one of the most popular programs) and at the public sector, the challenge, which is not easy to successfully deal with in most cases.
Speeding life up in The Hague
Since 2010 I have been living in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. My husband is a diplomat and his posting was at the Embassy of Georgia. I left my dream jobs and started a new life in The Hague. I can’t say that it was easy. I was 26 years old, already with a successful career, used to work a lot and always to be busy. Life in The Hague from the beginning was not as busy as in Georgia, but I did my best to “speed it up”.
I liked what I was doing, but I came to a point where it was not enough. A bit of an activist inside me told me that it was time to continue studies. One part of me, which is more doubtful kept asking if it was the right moment to stop working and go back to university? I tried to do my best and managed to combine work and study. I choose both of them and now I think that it was a right decision.
I applied for a Master’s program of the Webster University Leiden. As the cost of my studies was very expensive I applied for a Scholarship and was lucky to receive full scholarship of my studies. The experience of Webster University enabled me to get to know the latest journalistic/management/PR technologies and the international way of working in the field of communications.
At the same time I started to work at the Embassy of Georgia as well and to deal with the Media and press issues of the Embassy. After one year I made second Master’s degree in Media Communications. My friend from Georgia offered me to work as a Special Correspondent for the Georgian radio program about European Union “European Time”. So, I managed to speed up my life as I was used to.
I just found out that I am writing a lot about my career and have not mentioned my most important life event. In 2013 my daughter was born in The Hague. She is the one who changed my life, my dreams and future. Since her birth she is the most important person in our family.
Back in Georgia and back in The Hague
My husband’s posting ended in 2014 and we went back to Georgia. I was happy to be in my home country and to start a new job. I served as the Head of Public Relations and Civil Action Planning Division at the Parliament of Georgia. It was a very busy and interesting job. I learned a lot at the Parliament and I had opportunity to work with very interesting people.
It turned out that my life is based on movements and changes. In 2016 my family moved to the Netherlands second time. My husband had a posting at the Embassy of Georgia and I had opportunity to work at the Embassy as well. Now when I am writing my story I found out that all this relocations were not easy emotionally. Difference between the first and second relocations to The Hague was that I was not coming in the unknown city, this time I was going to the city which I love, have friends and I was not a stranger here anymore.
I miss my family and friends back home, I miss Georgian warmth and I don’t mean only weather and sunshine, but warmth of people, and of course as every Georgian living abroad I miss our delicious food and dishes. I think that we have one of the best cuisines in the world. I’ve never seen person who will say that they don’t like Georgian cuisine.
When I went back to Georgia I used to talk a lot about my European life. I kept complaining about Georgian special style of driving and disorder. I missed The Hague and have been comparing everything, but now while I am here I miss my Georgia and complain about Netherlands. I think that it’s an attitude.
Warm boots, Dutch and bicycles
I remember my first impression about the Netherlands. When I came here it was August. In my country we had 40 degrees of heat and in The Hague it was only 15 degrees. From summer I directly went to winter. First what I did I bought warm boots and a coat, which I found out that here can be useful in every season of the year. When Dutch people ask me if I like Netherlands, I say that I love everything here, except the weather and I think I’m not the only one complaining about it.
Unfortunately learning languages is not my strong side. The official language at my workplace is Georgian and English. Until now I could not manage to learn Dutch, but after 6 years of experience living here I can proudly say that I manage to understand the content of all letters in Dutch, which I receive by postJ. One advice for the newcomers: If you plan to live in the Netherlands I encourage you to start learning Dutch as soon as possible. It will help you with integration and settlement in the Dutch society. Here, everyone speaks English, but if you speak Dutch they love it. I wish I have followed my advice back in 2010.
I have to say few words about bikes. I used to ride bicycle in my childhood just for fun. Georgia is very mountainous, so you can’t bike there a lot, except few cities. It can be unbelievable but until now I have not tried to ride a bicycle. If you ask me why? I can tell you that The Hague is a small city. I live and work in the center. When I want to go far away I am driving a car, otherwise I can walk, which is very good for health actually. That’s why I don’t see reason why I have to ride a bicycle in winter, rain and wind.
Why my child is the noisiest one?
I am curious how Dutch people manage to live so silently. After living in a very noisy capital it was not easy to settle down in the silent city. I had to get used to the fact that after 8 p.m. people start to go to bed. I have feeling that houses are empty as you could not see people watching from the window, you can’t see them in their garden or in a balcony. My neighbors from left and right side both have children (three of them) and I don’t understand how their children play, and why my child is the noisiest one. Actually, all Georgian children and adults are very loud. In the streets or at the cafés if I am with my Georgian friends there is always someone who askes which language we speak, which sounds very strange for foreigners. But I love that question. My immediate answer is that it is Georgian, our alphabet is unique and it is proclaimed by UNESCO. In that sense worth question is if it’s Russian language… never ask Georgian this question.
Run our life
In Georgia we like to “run our life”, this is our attitude to life. We work a lot and have less time to enjoy the life. Here, I found out that you just have to rest sometimes, enjoy different countries, travel a lot and etc.
Now if you ask me if I am happy or not, I will say that of course I am happy. I have loving family and friends, I live in a nice city, but now I feel that I want to do more. Maybe it is time for a career change or for study adventure, I don’t know yet. But what I know for sure is that I don’t like to stay in “one place” for a long time without changes. I like when I have opportunity to develop and study a lot. So my advice is, don’t wait until you finish your study or don’t stay in one job for a long time, always look for changes and think about what you want, instead of replying – I like everything. I don’t know what will be my next challenge, but I know that dreams come true only when you work hard and try to develop.
With my family, my husband Levan and my daughter Mariam – Bari, Alberobello village
Walking with my child Mariam
25th OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in Tbilisi, Georgia – with my colleges Nina Beradze, Madona Nozadze and photographer Giorgi Abdaladze- happy that everything went well and the billboard on which we worked hard looks nice
European Parliament building in Strasbourg, Euronest Parliamentary Assembly meeting
Parliament of Croatia. Study visit – Knowledge Transfer of the Croatian Experiences in the Area of Parliamentary Communications and Public Outreach to the Representatives of the Parliament of Georgia
Imedi TV, Morning program – Interviewing my best friend during his debut as an actor
Billboard of the Morning program, Imedi TV, 2009
Text: Communications-Unlimited.nl © Copyright www.communications-unlimited.nl, 2018. All rights reserved.
Photos: Nino Kvantrishvili © Copyright www.communications-unlimited.nl, 2018. All rights reserved.