What is your name and where are you from?
Priyanka Sharma from Delhi, India. Although I lived in China for 5 years before moving to the Netherlands.
What is your business or what do you do? (i.e. study, internship, etc.)
I am a content writer – blogs, web content, social media, books! I have done it all. I work at Connected Circles – we are a social media content strategist specializing in LinkedIn content and growth. Our aim is to help industry leaders connect with like-minded people and help them translate their thoughts into words to share with others.
When was the first time you were in the Netherlands? Was it fun? Was it an adventure?
My first visit to the Netherlands was in December 2018. We came to celebrate Christmas with my husband’s family. It was a beautiful experience. We visited Nijmegen, Maastricht, Eindhoven, Amsterdam, the Efteling! Each city brought me closer to the decision that I want to raise my family in the Netherlands.
How long have you been writing for The Holland Times?
I have been writing for Holland Times since November 2019.
What attracted you to be a contributor to The Holland Times?
I had been writing for newspapers in China for almost 4 years back then. I was looking for an outlet for my thoughts in the country I had just made my home. The Holland Times provided me with that. Their wholesome approach towards the goings-on around us is what attracted me most towards this newspaper – it’s not just dry news or pages filled with op-eds and advertisements, it’s a well-balanced publication and always a delight to read.
What is the best thing about writing for an expat magazine with such a wide circulation?
Every time I get to write about a new topic; I’m not limited to one subject or topic. And the fact that I’m bringing news to expats who can’t follow Dutch news (on television or in print) without having to translate it first – and much gets lost in translation anyways – is motivation enough for me.
Do your friends/family in your home country read your articles?
Yes! Every article!
What subject is your favorite to write about?
I am really passionate about sustainability and love writing about it. I also love writing about current affairs and politics.
Is writing a hobby or an aspiration for you? Do you write for your regular job or studies?
I am one of the lucky ones who have been able to turn their passion into their job. Writing is both my passion and my bread and butter. I do content writing and social media management for a living. If I don’t get to write more than two days in a row, my fingers start to itch. Haha.
Who is your favorite writer? What genre do they write in? Or are they a journalist, scholar, etc.?
I am an avid reader. When it comes to classics, my favorite writer is Leo Tolstoy – Anna Karenina is my favorite book of all times. Mitch Albom is another writer I admire – although I love all his books, The magic Strings of Frankie Presto is my favourite (for now).
What do you like best about the Netherlands?
I love how the Netherlands strives to hold on to its past while moving towards modernization. It’s a reminder that we shouldn’t and don’t have to leave our past behind to progress – it is what made us what we are. Our experiences of the past help us make wiser decisions for our future. The Netherlands has managed to hold on its history with one hand while claiming the future with the other.
What do you like least about the Netherlands?
Lately, all the senseless crime and protests. This is so not what we are, we are better than this.
Where do you recommend a new expat or visitor to see here in the Netherlands?
Leave the big cities. Head to the smaller, lesser-known places – Gouda, Delft, Den Bosch, Leiden, Nijmegen, Naarden, Wadden Islands. The Netherlands is so much more than just Amsterdam and its coffee shops… hahaha…
Best kept secret in your city?
Leidschendammerhout and Kasteel Duivenvoorde – everyone floods to the Peace Palace and Grote Kerk in The Hague, but what they don’t realize is we have our own camping grounds and castle! Its beautiful and seldom crowded. Its our favourite picnic spot.
Looking back, what do you wish you knew before you moved to the Netherlands?
Everything closes after 6! I come from a city that never sleeps. It took me some time to get used to the idea of not having 24/7 stores at my disposal.
What are a few things you recommend to new expats here in the Netherlands?
Though almost everyone in the Netherlands speaks English, learning the basics of the language will help you a lot – it’s not as difficult as its made to believe (at least not to speak). Learn to live with rain. If you keep waiting for it to stop or for sunnier days, you will never be able to do anything. We get an average of 189 days of rain in a year, though lately it’s changing due to climate change.
Interview by Marla Thomson
Thanks to Priyanka Sharma