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Finding a Piece of Canada in the Netherlands


Feeling homesick while working abroad? Tori discovers that you can find a piece of home wherever you are.

One of the best things about working abroad is the opportunity to immerse yourself in a new culture. Between trying new foods, learning a new language and meeting new people, it can be easy to forget what your life was like before you moved. But sometimes you have days where you miss the little things about home, like being able to run to the store and pick up your favourite snack (which doesn't seem to exist in this new country).

I've been in Amsterdam for over three months now and have had nothing short of an amazing experience, but there are still days that I miss home. When you're living in a foreign country, the comforts of home can feel impossibly far away, but I recently had an experience that made me realize finding a piece of Canada in the Netherlands is easier than I thought.

When you're living in a foreign country, the comforts of home can feel impossibly far away.

When I'm at home, I love to have music playing in the background. I don't know many Dutch radio stations, so I often tune into stations back home from my computer. Not only does it allow me to stay up to date new music from my favourite Canadian artists, it's oddly comforting listening to the news and traffic reports for my old city.

While opening up the radio app on my computer one day, I noticed that one of my favourite Canadian bands, the Arkells, were starting their European tour right here in Amsterdam. I looked up ticket information and was thrilled to see that they were playing at a venue just two blocks from my apartment the following week. I excitedly purchased the tickets and marked the date in my calendar.

The night of the concert arrived and my boyfriend and I headed over to the show. The venue and crowd were much smaller than where I had last seen the Arkells in Toronto, but I was still excited to see them play. The first thing I noticed was how many people in the crowd were speaking English. Not only were they speaking English, they all had North American accents. As the night progressed, I came to learn that the majority of the crowd were not only Canadian, but from cities across southern Ontario that I know well. The highlight of the night for me was when a girl in the audience gave the lead singer her leather university-branded jacket. It took me just seconds to recognize this jacket was from my university's rival school, but tonight this didn’t matter. I was just thrilled to see this little reminder of home in my new city.

As the band played their encore, it dawned on me just how small the world really is. Here I was nearly 6,000 km from home, in a room filled with other Canadians, listening to one of our favourite Canadian bands. If I had any lingering feelings of missing home, they were quickly forgotten about that night. This is a great reminder for anyone who is feeling homesick while living and working abroad—it may take some looking, but you can find a piece of home anywhere.

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Published in Work Abroad Blogs
Tori Holmes

Tori Holmes is a Canadian freelance copywriting and social media specialist living in Amsterdam. After graduating from the University of Guelph and doing post-graduate studies at the University of Toronto, Tori moved to Amsterdam to fulfill her dream of living and working abroad.

Website: www.findtherightwords.ca

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