Am very happy to present this article with thoughts, experiences and feedback of one of our first Get in Touch spouses: Irem Bezcioglu.
She kindly replied to our questionnaire which we’ve been sending around to our GiT spouses who have attended the GiT Program for some time, and then had to quit because of a good cause: a study, moving town, a job, getting pregnant, or any other understandable reason.
We were curious to know their ideas and recommendations, and their views on the impact of the GiT Progam on their lives.
Thanks a lot Irem, for your willingness and openness and for your postive comments.
We’ve been very happy to have had you with us, with your active and inspiring involvement throughout the years (and still .. now as a GiT partner). One of Irem’s many GiT initiatives has been the start of this Get in Touch Blog, for which we’re very grateful to her (and also to Yolima & Iro, the other initiators).
My name is Irem Bezcioğlu Göktolga, 29 years old, from Turkey.
Currently I am a PhD student in Culture Studies in Tilburg University.
What do you think of the Get in Touch Program?
The program offers great opportunities, especially when you are a newcomer. One may not dare go to an oriental shop alone, or may not know about attractions of a city, but these tours give newcomers courage to do the things one cannot do alone.
First, they motivate Get in Touch members to join the following activities and get to know other members. Second, they allow local people to gain awareness about the presence and experiences of expat spouses.
I enjoyed going out with spouses from different countries and cultures a lot, and I loved observing how different cultures react to the same thing. Most of the spouses come from high SES background, and they have (had) a profession, so conversations with other spouses are actually very fulfilling.
About Carola Eijsenring (coordinator & creator of the GiT Program) I think, she is professional enough to organize each event perfectly, but still have the warmth and flexibility to adapt them for each and every spouse. Fantastic.
Which event did you like best?
I liked the visit to Van Gogh’s house in Nuenen, because I met my good friends in The Netherlands there. And I learned about the town Vincent Van Gogh once left, which helped me understand his artistic background.
Also attending the ‘GiT with Dutch’ (Dutch lessons within GiT) was a wonderful opportunity to get to know about the language and culture.
Which meeting did you like least and why?
Not about a matter of liking, but visiting the shops in the Kruisstraat was not new to me, I already knew about these shops. But I must confess getting to know about that street is an eye opener for many spouses.
Have you been actively involved in extra Get in Touch projects?
Indeed, I joined ‘GiT with Dutch‘ classes with Karin Boone. These classes offer great opportunities and excitement. I learnt so much about Dutch language and culture.
Then I initiated the organization of GiT Blog. I was reading the stories of expat spouses all over the world, but I realized there is nothing about the spouses in the Netherlands, especially in Eindhoven. So I thought a blog in which spouses write about their experiences, suggestions and ideas would help the newcomers a lot.
In February 2014 I presented the launch of the GiT Blog at the big ‘Get in Touch with .. Get in Touch‘ Event in the Blauwe Zaal (TU/e)
What did you miss or would you recommend?
Other places, such as .. educational opportunities, visits to vocational schools, Volksuniversiteit, courses, uitzendbureaus and how they work.
Other activities, such as .. famous authors, singers, actors in the Netherlands, daily TV shows and different regions in the Netherlands
What would you like to tell newcoming Get in Touch spouses?
Get in Touch group and Carola are the best things that happened to me when I moved to Eindhoven. It is always motivating to see how much effort people invest to make the world a little bit better place.