SAMUEL J. EKPO
- Nationality: Nigerian
- Age: 40
- Field of study: Educational Studies (Theology)
- Current employer: University of Groningen
- Current position: Teaching / Research Assistant
Why I started my career in the Netherlands
My thought to start a career in the Netherlands was a challenge to me in the first instance, considering the barrier in speaking and understanding the Dutch language. However, I overcame my fears and worries by learning the language and doing voluntary work at different organisations to give me the entry point and to appreciate the Dutch culture and work pattern. The experiences from these voluntary activities were transferable to regular paying jobs; which serves as my contribution to the Dutch economy in terms of paying taxes. My approach to keeping appointments, time schedules and agendas are some of the positive transformations to my personal life.
A typical work week
My typical work week is a combination of several tasks. I supervise and mentor students in their reading and journal assessments and on a part-time basis I work for a hospitality service company. On the social side, I am engaged in voluntary activities for a worthy cause to add value and empower others in my community, I love music and playing instruments like the keyboard/piano and networking with like-minded professionals.
I participated and worked with SKIN-Rotterdam as a volunteer for the project "GUIDE of Christian migrant communities in Rotterdam" from 8 September 2014 to 8 March 2015. In this project I primarily helped with the fieldwork, contacting churches in Rotterdam to request their cooperation for the publication of their contact details in the GUIDE. On 10 February 2016, I participated in a research and interview organised by SKIN-Rotterdam, about the impact of unemployment on the work of the international churches in Rotterdam. We work together with prof. dr. Pieter Boersema of the Evangelical Theological Faculty Leuven.
What I like about the Dutch work mentality
I like the flexible working mentality and the holiday pay packages. The Dutch have a reputation for being blunt and direct to the point of rudeness, but there is such a thing as Dutch etiquette. Shaking hands for instance is a Dutch custom and one of those norms and values all foreigners have to adopt in order to be truly integrated. The Dutch shake hands all the time. When you come back from holiday, you shake hands with your office colleagues.
My career advice to you
My career advice to you is to act locally and think globally. Living in the Netherlands can be sometime lonely; religious people with a Christian background can get in involved in church activities and/or engaged in some voluntary work if still in search of a paid job. Doing this will keep you in contact with people to build your network and to increase your net worth!
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