Testimonial: Being a researcher in the Netherlands

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Published on 2020-09-16 at 12:29 by Javier Olivas Alguacil
Biomedical researcher, traveler and life enthusiast, Spanish expat Helena took a new position in the Netherlands just a few weeks ago. She tells us a little about finding a job and subsequently living and working in the Netherlands.

You are a scientist, tell us a little about your field of research.

I am a biologist, specialized in Neuroscience and Biomedical Research. I have collaborated in different fields, such as studying Alzheimer's disease, as well as analyzing the effect of different drugs on mental illnesses such as Schizophrenia.

Do you think you have more opportunities in the Netherlands than in Spain?

The life of a scientist is uncertain anywhere, you get scholarships, they end, you look for another one. You need to be really lucky to land a permanent position. Furthermore, the economic situation right now is not the best regardless of what sector you are in. I spent a lot of time searching for a job in Spain, but there comes a point where you get exhausted, especially mentally. Seeing like I also like traveling, I decided to try my luck abroad. The Netherlands has many very powerful research groups and projects, so let's hope it works out for me and if not, we will travel elsewhere!

How does one approach job search in the Netherlands?

I did a lot of research over a long period of time and I currently have amassed a lot of information. Today, it is easy to find information thanks to the Internet, although it is very important to know how to classify it and focus on those sites and websites that are trusted. Currently and due to COVID-19, active search in person is very difficult, practically impossible. So be patient with sending emails and making phone calls. Very important not to go crazy / crazy in the process!

What are the procedures required to move to the Netherlands.

The first for European citizens is obtaining the BSN, which is the citizen number you must obtain in order to work here. Deciding which bank to open an account with is quite important, you have to give it much thought...

You have been in the Netherlands for a short time, what are you liking the most at the moment?

I love how green my new city, Leiden, is. And I mean not only landscapes, but also the way of life. I love cycling everywhere. In addition, I live in front of a huge farm with cows, sheep and different species of birds (which sometimes cross the road) that I can see from my garden.

Any quick advice for those thinking about moving there?

Don't think about it too much and take the leap!