Spotlight on a contributor

What is your name and where are you from?
My name is Nicole Bea Kerr and I am from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.

What is your business or what do you do? (i.e. study, internship, etc.)
I am currently working as a B2B journalist. Additionally, I am a content creator and recently launched my website called – where I discuss life-related topics through videos, podcasts and articles.

When was the first time you were in the Netherlands? Was it fun? Was it an adventure?
I moved to the Netherlands in September 2016. To be honest, it was nerve-racking at first, but looking back I am glad I took that leap of faith and believed in myself and my life journey. I had never visited the Netherlands before my move and so it took a few months to adjust to the new environment, people and culture. Moving to a different part of the world on your own (no family) can be challenging, especially at the age of 19, but I had lived in the UK for over a year before coming here, so that made the transition a little smoother.

How long have you been writing for The Holland Times?
I have been writing for The Holland Times on a part-time basis for about a year and a half

What attracted you to be a contributor to The Holland Times?
I love writing and saw this as an opportunity to shed light on the current affairs in the Netherlands – for expats like myself.

What is the best thing about writing for an expat magazine with such a wide circulation?
The best thing about writing for an expat magazine is that I get to learn more about the Netherlands, while also helping other expats navigate through the current affairs.

Do your friends/family in your home country read your articles?
Yes, they do 😊 I always take a few newspapers back to Zimbabwe and South Africa when I travel back home.

What subject is your favourite to write about?
I like to write about self-help topics or any topic that exposes some truth and helps people, such as human rights.

Is writing a hobby or an aspiration for you? Do you write for your regular job or studies?
Writing for me is both a hobby and a job. As a journalist and content creator, I write every day. I studied English Language and Literature at university so I have always been fascinated with the written word. You could say I navigate the world through words.

Who is your favourite writer? What genre do they write in? Or are they a journalist, scholar, etc.?
My favorite writer at the moment is Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche. She has written novels, short stories and nonfiction. I suppose her overall genre would be African literature.

What do you like best about the Netherlands?
The opportunities to follow your passion and express yourself freely, which is limited in other countries due to economic constraints and government corruption.

What do you like least about the Netherlands?
All I am saying is the climate here is not my friend. I do not like the cold and long winters (for me autumn and winter are the same), as I was born and raised in one of the sunniest places on earth.

What do you recommend a new expat or visitor to see here in the Netherlands?
I would recommend they visit Giethoorn, it is pegged as the Venice of the Netherlands and it is absolutely beautiful – words cannot describe it, so please do see it if you get the chance to. It is a village located in the Dutch province of Overijssel.

Best-kept secret in your city?
In Groningen, there is a forest area called Kardinge and I definitely recommend this place. Hoornsemeer is also very close to the city – a beautiful lake that is surrounded by nature.

Looking back, what do you wish you knew before you moved to the Netherlands?
The intensity of the cold and also the reality of adapting to a new environment in which you do you do not speak the main language. Luckily, everyone I have met here has been very kind and helpful, so that also tells you something about the Dutch – they are welcoming to an extent and accommodating to other cultures.

What are 1-2 things you recommend to new expat here in the Netherlands?
I recommend a new expat learn the basics of the language as this will help in the first few months of living here. Additionally, if they plan to live here for the long term (after their studies for example), it would help to know the language as it is very difficult to find an English-speaking job if you are not located in the Randstad. Apart from that, I recommend they take each day at a time and try to find other expats who can relate to their journey here, as homesickness is a reality. I would suggest joining expat groups on Facebook to find other expats in their current city.

Written by Marla Thomson