Spotlight on a contributor

What is your name and where are you from?
My name is Raphael Perachi Vieira and I’m from Porto Alegre, southern Brazil.

What is your business or what do you do? (i.e. study, internship, etc.)
I’ve just finished a masters in marketing at the University of Amsterdam last year. I’ve worked for many years as a journalist for international tv channels. However, in the last few years, I’ve made the transition to content marketing. The master’s graduation was the start of this transition. During Covid, I decided to open my own agency called Silver Deer. It’s a digital marketing and multimedia content creation company operating in Brazil and the Netherlands.

When was the first time you were in the NL? Was it fun? Was it an adventure?
I moved to the Netherlands in August 2018. I didn’t know anyone in the city and I had visited Amsterdam for just one day in the past. In June 2018, I quit my steady job as an international news editor at an established tv station in Brazil. I enrolled in my masters and I decided to try a new career path. I was 33 years old at the time and I had been working for 12 years. It sounds crazy, but I needed a change. Going back to school after many years is a big challenge. Everyone is younger than you, but I wanted to take the risk. It has been quite an adventure to learn more about Dutch culture, to live so far away from my family and to adapt. However, I’ve grown so much and I’m happy about the experience. I have met a lot of people, discovered new things and come across many different points of views from all kinds of people.

How long have you been writing for The Holland Times?
I started to write for the Holland Times in October 2018.

What attracted you to be a contributor to THT?
I wanted to spread my ideas and to write for people who were like me: lost in translation in the Netherlands. It has been a grateful experience to share content with fellow expats.

What is the best thing about writing for an expat magazine with such a wide circulation?
The connection with likeminded people. During Covid, I wrote an article about mental health and how to stay sane throughout corona. It felt good to share helpful information. I also felt really honoured and grateful to have such an opportunity. I was able to share my research and insights with other expats. It’s even harder to experience a world pandemic away from home. I believe it’s really necessary to have such a magazine that thinks about the expat community in the Netherlands. Our numbers are growing in the country.

Do your friends and family in your home country read your articles?
I’m the only one in my family who speaks English, so they don’t read it. However, some of my fellow co-workers and friends speak English. They really enjoy reading the articles and are really proud of me. It’s such a joy to be able to write content in another language.

What subject is your favorite to write about?
Sports, science and politics.

Is writing a hobby or an aspiration for you? Do you write for your regular job or studies?
I’ve been writing my whole life. Writing is really natural to me. It’s a hobby with an aspiration. The only thing I love more than writing is to talk.

Who is your favourite writer? What genre do they write in? Or are they a journalist, scholar, etc.?
I love fiction and to be taken to other places with my imagination. J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter are a huge inspiration for me. I want to publish fiction books in the future. Harry Potter was my buddy during my teenage years.

What do you like best about the NL?
The organization of the country, the steady economy and the safety of the streets. Also, the supermarket lines are really fast.

What do you like least about the NL?
That’s easy to answer: the weather, it sucks, haha. I also find it strange that there are no small interactions between people in the supermarkets, stores and pharmacies. If you start a conversation, not business-related, they think you’re weird.

Where do you recommend a new expat or visitor to see here in the NL?
Grab a bike and go around the city. It’s awesome. You can also bike to the beach, it’s like one hour and half away. It’s beautiful. Also, visit the countryside of the Netherlands, take a train ride. It’s full of nature and open fields.

Best-kept secret in your city?
Come in August, when the weather is nice and you can go sailing in the canals. You can even try to swim a bit, it’s joyful. During Pride, the city transforms. Also, try a Dutch pancake in the morning and visit CAU steakhouse in Dam Square for a nice steak. Don’t forget to grab a nice cocktail outside when it’s sunny.

Looking back, what do you wish you knew before you moved to the NL?
How bad the weather is, haha!

What are one-two things you recommend to new expat here in the NL?
Don’t take what the Dutch people tell you personally, they are really honest and direct people. To meet local people, try to play a sport or to enroll in a course. It’s a good way to meet Dutch people and other people from your city. Also, look for a room way before you need to move, as it’s crowded.

Interview by Marla Thomson