ACCESS extends their welcome to surrounding areas

Living in a foreign country can be challenging. Things like learning how to open a bank account, finding a doctor or dealing with legal issues can be confusing, especially in a foreign language.

For internationals living in The Hague and surrounding areas, the non-profit group ACCESS may help make things a little bit easier.

Founded in 1986 with the aim of promoting the emotional and social well-being of English speakers in the Netherlands, ACCESS has evolved to support a variety of needs of internationals living in the Netherlands. They provide information, guidance and support to expats on issues related to living, studying and working here. Run entirely run by a group of 115 volunteers who have themselves been expats, the people at ACCESS offer unique support because they understand what it’s like to arrive and settle in the Netherlands.

One of the services offered by ACCESS is the Welcome to The Hague event. Although it is initiated and funded by the city of The Hague, according to ACCESS Office Manager Qin Cai it would also benefit people living in Delft and the surrounding areas. The half-day programme is offered four times per year, with the next one taking place on March 30. Attendees will get information on the region, on services provided by The Hague International Centre (THIC) and ACCESS, and an introduction to Dutch culture and people. The event, which organizers say is a good opportunity to meet other internationals, will also include a visit to the Hague public library and the old city centre. There is no cost to attend, but registration is required.

In addition, ACCESS offers year-round support through their Helpdesk. Internationals can get questions answered in person (office located at THIC), by phone, by e-mail or through their Facebook page.  According to their website, no question is too big or too small. If you have lots of questions or a particularly complicated situation, you can also arrange for a free one hour consultation with an experienced volunteer.

“One thing we would like new arrivals to understand and to encourage them to try is to make an effort to integrate into Dutch society and culture during their time in the Netherlands, “said Cai, a Chinese-British expat who has been living in the Netherlands for 15 years. “Making an effort to not just survive here, but to also enjoy themselves.”

For more information visit their website.

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