By Liz Jones
Posted on 25 February 2020
It’s a mystery!
When you move to another country you may not know a lot of local tricks. Living in a foreign country is unfamiliar. It’s an adventure.
I recently chatted to a colleague who had been in the county for four years but had no idea that glass bottles might be under a deposit system.
Seems small but all those 10c returns are important. It made me consider that sharing some local knowledge might be useful.
The mysteries and opportunities of a new country are boundless.
Have you explored the travel discount systems where you live?
These could also save you money but might help you explore. In many places it’s possible to get free travel at weekends, for example. It may mean asking a colleague or friend but don’t take this stuff for granted.
Another option might be a discount ticket. In the Netherlands these are regularly available in stores like Blokker or through the rail website
Perhaps you want to travel more independently and can access bike hire, car share or scooter schemes. It’s worth looking them up.
There may also be walking tour information through train companies. The Dutch service is here in English.
Park and Ride
I recently discovered that it’s possible to Park and Ride in Amsterdam for €1 at the weekends as long as you visit the city with public transport which is handy when you are in a group and don’t live close to a main station.
Is there a cultural shortcut to allow access to museums where you live now?
Perhaps you get a great discount on museums or the cinema with an annual card for example, do you have a Museum Kaart?
Sites like Groupon and Meetup offer opportunities to visit places with a group in order to make it cheaper too.
Have you looked for English language theatre in your new country? The #NTLive movement broadcasts live theatre from the UK to many different cinemas all over the world at regular cinema prices. A great chance to see Shakespeare and National theatre without the travel costs too.
Many cinemas have discount cards with a subscription too. These can support independent cinemas too. English language comedy is often also available at the touch of a short google moment. In The Hague you can visit Theatre Branoul on English comedy nights and take a trip to Amsterdam to see Boom Chicago.
Sometimes people think they cannot find a topic or object because they don’t know the local term. But it is possible to find your hobby or interest in English in many cases as the word might be similar.
TicketSwap and other similar sites are another more universal tool to find music and other culture opportunities in your new home.
Have you looked for a club or society from your own country? Perhaps it’s a way of finding something familiar. Check out your country’s twitter feed to find home events and comrades.
Free and for sale stuff
Social Media can also be a good source of information when seeking second hand or new purchases. It’s worth checking for a group of expats as the leavers often need to pass on their goods when they leave in good condition.
Libraries and Bibliotech
It’s not common knowledge, but libraries often have English language books, though you may have to subscribe.
Some have ranges of other items to borrow like board games, computer games and music. In this area of The Netherlands a couple also have cinemas that show smaller budget films.
Checking for similar opportunities in your area may help you beat the #wintercultureshock.