How did I find the job as a Non-Dutch speaker in Vanderlande

This article is to share my interview experiences in Vanderlande, in order to give other people more insights about how recruitment and interview process is.

My background: bachelor and master in law in NL: international law, EU law, human rights, immigration. Living in NL around 8 years. Fluent in Mandarin, English and intermediate level of Dutch.

My previous intern and working experiences:

  • C & M Advocaten: legal research intern – immigration area
  • Everaert Advocaten Immigration Lawyers: applying residence permit for clients – highly skilled migrant, family reunification, permanent residence permit etc.
  • A Chinese B.V.: assisting clients invest their business in NL and immigration consultant. 

Sum up:

When foreigner nationals try to look for a job in the Netherlands, I think your own ability (50%)+ luck (50%) combined that can make you a successful landing. Because, frankly speaking, there are not many positions that suit your background and you like and do not require fluency in Dutch. As a non-Dutch speaking, what we can do it just to be very good prepared and apply as much as we can!

 My 3 rounds interview:

In Oct 2018, I saw there was a vacancy in LinkedIn “International Mobility Officer” in my recommendation page. After several times of viewing the position and search about tax equalization, tax protection and compensation package (here I did a lot of research about the content, very important before you applied for any jobs!). I felt my background can match the vacancy very well, as it required for example “an international language is a plus, a personal expat experiences is a huge plus” and I have had experiences in working in 2 immigration law firms etc. Therefore, I have adjusted my CV and motivation letter and sent through. There was a funny story behind it, there were 2 vacancies, international mobility officer and mobility specialist, due to my qualifications, I wanted to apply for the first one. However I made a mistake by sending my application to the senior vacancy. So I called the recruiter right away to adjusted it, and also I wanted to speak Dutch to impress the recruiter “oh, look, a foreigner can speak good Dutch!”(later I found out it actually doesn’t matter that much). However, the recruiter was never the one who picked up the phone, and in the meantime I found the waiting music in Vanderlande was quite nice, it is like a jazz.

Some background of global mobility: international mobility is inside HR department. For multinational companies, there are a lot of employees that needs to move around, to support projects worldwide. Therefore, the employees are actually my “clients”. My job is to arrange their assignment well and they can perform their best at work in a totally different county. The assignment is not limited to NL to other country, but also for instance: Indian – US, SGP – NL, USA – AUS etc. NL headquarter coordinates the whole assignment. This job requires flexibly, culture awareness, good knowledge of tax, social security and good communication skills etc.

1st round interview

After 2 months of waiting, I received a call to have the interview with recruiter. (I was actually receiving an offer from another company by then, but somehow I just felt that this job is the one for me, so as soon as I got the confirmation of the 1st round interview, I declined the other offer. Some sort of love for the first sight, isn’t it!).

So when the big day came, I did my makeup and dressed well for the skype interview(later we didn’t use the camera, only the voice instead, but I found properly dressed can make you have more confidence.), the recruiter asked my past working experiences, so I demonstrated that my experiences matches the job very well, since myself is an expat who is coming this country all alone, trying to survive and build my study, life and career here, therefore what the “clients” are going through, is what I have been through. And also I have a strong culture awareness. Even though culture differences seems small details, in fact, it is a key factor if you can trust your business partner. For example Asia in general is a Relationship culture, which means that before and when doing business, it is significantly important that business partner can have some time knowing each other, having a personal relationship – having dinners, drinking, going out (it explains the several rounds dinner in south Asia), but Europe is more Transaction culture, which means, as long as my product is good, that should be the thing I focus. (I will touch upon this topic later). After around 40 mins communicating, I can feel that the recruiter felt good about me.

 2nd round interview

After 2 weeks, I received another interview invitation with the team manager Amber. During our interview she would like to know my study in a more detailed, living and working experiences and my personality. A job interview is two ways, the manager wants to know you, but you also need to know the team and the company. I answered her question honestly (I recommend to answer question honestly, it is understandable that in some cultures, it is alright to “cover” some facts or make up with some other stories that is not your own, however, I don’t recommend here, I will talk about it in details later.) Amber asked me why I didn’t continue to work in law area. I told her that I just like some areas in law, for example immigration and human rights. And she also asked me it is quite difficult to study both bachelor and master in law in NL, how did I persevere. I said that I have to graduate on time, otherwise it is too expensive for tuition and visa and it is a shame for my family if I delayed it. So if I have a goal, I will accomplish it, whatever it takes.

I shared that I am able to feel our “clients” because I was/am in the same position – in a foreign country, therefore I know the feeling and I know where/how can I assist them to make them have a good assignment, and benefit the company in a bigger picture, from my personal/friends’ expat experiences and let alone the strong culture awareness I have, and my eagerness to learn. I am confident that I am the candidate for them.

We talked more than 1 hour, and were “kicked out” by the people who need the conference room. The manager was really friendly, she helped me to make my tea and she asked me if I have interviews or deadlines and she was sorry that I had to wait quite long. (I think here you can feel it it’s the either the Dutch cooperate culture or the company culture or the team culture, or all of them, it is quite employee consideration and friendly). When I went back home, I was telling my friend that I am bit afraid if I talk too much, but she told me it is fine, and Dutch companies like to communicate your thoughts. 

3rd interview

When the second day, I got the news that I was invited for the 3rd round interview, it is with the department director and 2 colleagues. So normally in Dutch companies, if the manager feels good about you, it is quite normal to invite your future colleagues to have a chat with you too, because you will work with them, it is important for both of you to establish a good working relationship.

My director Monique was a very friendly lady, very well dressed. She shared with me her working experiences, she said she also studied law, used to work in big 4, she used to work in different countries around the world and she likes dogs. She told me that Vanderlande was a client of EY, and then Vanderlande invited her to join the company. And she told me that one thing that impressed very much is that everyone in this company feels very proud! (Here it shows that the Dutch cooperate culture has less hierarchy, at less than Asian or North America, because I think at least in Asian culture, usually the boss will not share so much). I sincerely expressed my admiration and wish I could also experience these later in my life and my working experiences + what I have experienced as an expat + my thoughts regarding the culture differences. Monique was quite satisfied about me, so she told me that normally she would inform the candidate to wait at home and inform her the good news via email, but she wanted to tell me that I am employed! Next she asked my previous salary and she would discuss how to give me a good offer.

After that I met my two future colleagues. They seemed really friendly, one colleague asked me “what is the weekend Lydia look like”, I was bit surprised because I thought they would ask my working experiences. (Here you can see again that the company itself also have a bit more informal culture,I will share more in a detailed later).

After finished the interview, I called my mum right away to share the good news.

I remember before I officially started, Monique and Amber sent me emails saying that they are really excited to have me started and my desk is even ready. This is quite heart-warming.

During the my first day (Friday), the two colleagues in my team was having a day off, so Margret wrote me a note saying that have a nice day and see me on Monday.

This is the story how did I get a job as a non-Dutch speaker, especially with the whole virus situation, it makes more difficult for non-EU students to find a job. What I want to say is never give up, apply as much as you can and trust yourself, even though it might be frustrating, but I am pretty sure that it will all turn out good in the end!

PS: Some topics I will address at a later stage in a more detailed article.

More to come…….

Lydia 2 May 202


The moonlight is shining tonight /月が綺麗ですね (Japanese)/ 今晚的月色真美(Chinese)

The Moon has always been one of the symbols that I love. My real Chinese first name is 玥莹 (yueying), the first character of my name stands for moon and the second letter stands for crystal. A lot of people were trying to pronounce my name but it was not a success, so I used Lydia for convenience. The choice these of these Chinese characters are not random – as far as for me. As sometimes, when there is no full moon and only half of the moon was in the sky, it looks bit like 月[1]

I have one question that has bothered me: when English or Dutch people have a name, is there any meaning in the name itself? For example Jack Ma, his Chinese name is 马云, his family 马 stands for horse, first name is Yun, it is the cloud in the sky. Each letter has a meaning and a purpose. 

In ancient Chinese fairy tale and poem, the moon stands for a variety of things, sometimes it is the Love, it is the homesickness, sometimes it is the hope and looking forward towards the future.

Once while sharing Japanese literature and movies with a Japanese colleague, I was reminded of a Chinese story“今晚的月色真美/ 月が綺麗ですね” translates to “the moonlight is shining tonight”. Over than 100 years ago, the great Japanese writer Mr. Natsume Sōseki was holding a translation class. When a man was telling his endless feelings about a woman under the moonlight, one of student translated it into the phrase as “I love you”, yet Mr. Natsume Sōseki translated it into “the moonlight is shining tonight”. Because in Japanese,月つき(Moon)’s pronunciation is tsuki, and 好きすき(like/love)’s pronunciation is suki, the two words has the a very similar pronunciation. Therefore the man used “moonlight” to express his “love” for his lady. Another interpretation is that because of the moonlight is so brilliant, he couldn’t resist the beautiful scenery. So he whispers out of his mind and he wants to share every fine things in life with his love.

This is the Western way of showing love, direct contact, eye to eye.

This is the Asian way, Japanese and Chinese as far as I know.

  • Man : ” the moon light is so beautiful tonight”.
  • Woman : ” I think so too”.

Perhaps it is quite difficult to grasp the true meaning behind this story. The story is more than 100 years ago and comes from a vastly different culture. In Japanese and and most east Asian culture there is a different tolerance for directness. Saying “I love you” (or sometimes saying “No”) is not an easy task for us, especially the case for the older generation. Traditionally, words like “Love” “爱 ai”(in Chinese) were rarely, if ever, expressed out loud, like in my parents’ generation. Nevertheless, those feelings of love are expressed in the actions of everyday life – the lunch box that prepared for the one, the light like stars in his eyes when he saw her, the holding hands tight in the cold and windy night.

The moonlight I remembered was years ago. I walked with him along the coast. The white and navy blue waves softly blended with the sand. The summer breeze touched my silk dress, while the stars shined in the sky. His hand held mine tight, it was him who brighten my eyes and expelled the darkness from my life. We walked, talked and smiled the whole night as if the time stood by. Later, we went on our different paths, what left is the bright moonlight of that night inscribed in my mind.

Moonlight stands for the ties between families as well. Moon is my first name. Before I left China my dad told me that every time when he looks up at the sky and sees the moon he is thinking of me. When I raise my eyes in the other side of the world, I know we are facing the same moon and I am thinking of my family too. Over the past 10 years I have been away from home, I find peace by sitting under the moonlight and drinking some tea that mama packed for me hoping they are fine back home.

In the lunar calendar, the 15th of August is our moon festival. On that day, the moon should be full and every family member ought to be together enjoying the moonlight and eating mooncake. When I was younger, I never followed this tradition, complained this was too old fashion and that I wanted to hang out with my friend instead. As the years have gone, I have come to gradually understand that it is not about the moon but the family ties and bonds.

There is a fairy-tale that illustrates these points. Thousand years ago there were 10 suns in the sky. All the trees and rivers were burnt out and thousands of citizens were dying from the unbearable heat. The Chines god 


could see the people were suffering from the 10 suns. So he sent his greatest archer, Yi, to shoot down the other 9 suns. Yi had a wife – Chang’e, she was one of the most stunning women in Chinese history. So as a reward, the god gave him and his wife two medicines for them to keep them young and beautiful forever. Yi successfully finished the tasks and went home to share the great news with his wife.

However, Yi’s apprentice Meng, was very jealous and forced Chang’e to give over the medicine, Chang’e was very frightened of Meng, and in a moment of desperation, she swallowed the medicines all at once Few moments later, her body became really light, so she was forced to fly to the moon as a result of taking the pills all by herself. The Chinese god felt too sympathy to lock her down in the moon. Therefore every year, in the day of on the 15th of August, Chang’e and Yi were allowed to see each other from the earth to moon.


Giving the unusual situation we are in at this moment, we are probably not able to be home at this time. Being away from the ones we love and having some upsetting moments. Yet I want to read you a Chinese poem to bring you some peace and love, and I may you all have a full moon night with the people that we love and cherishe.

人有悲欢离合,月有阴晴圆缺, Men have woes or joys, part or unite; Moon may wane or wax, be dim or bright.

此时古难全, None has been perfect all the way.

但愿人长久, 千里共婵娟. Just wish we will live long and share, Her beauty, though we’re miles away.

Lydia 30 July 2020 Veghel

the Netherlands


[2]水调歌头 (施颖洲 译)




Random thoughts of today

In life, we play different roles: for a family, we are mothers/wives, daughter and daughter in law; in friendship, we are besties; at work, we are HRs, members of a team, colleagues etc. All these roles with different responsibilities and obligations occupied our lives. 

What I want to speak out is: You are first YOU. You need to make time for yourself at a certain moment every day to think about: Am I happy today? Is this what I want / to achieve? 

Have some time for ourselves, treat us well. We first need to love ourselves, then we are more capable of loving others.

Happy new year everyone. 


11 Jan 2020 Eindhoven

My 10 years journey in The Netherlands

It was almost 10 years ago that I came from China to The Netherlands to study my bachelor and master in law. A lot of happy, sad, vulnerable and proud moments flooded to my mind today. So I decided to do some sharing of my stories.

Let us start from here, in the first bachelor year, my English was not so good enough to understand all the legal terms, therefore I had to get up at 5 in the early morning every day and tried to learn everything as fast as possible to catch up the lecturers, I do not know if all other EU/Dutch classmates had the same problems as me. I stayed in the University around 22.00 in the evening and went back to my student room alone and then cooked my dinner and prepared my breakfast for tomorrow, because The Netherlands was still an expensive country, my family has invested a lot for my staying and I wanted to save some money for them. Instead of having parties or chill student life, I have put all my focus on learning and graduating on time due to the high tuition fees and I don’t want to disappoint to my family. We have 7 hours of time difference, they cannot be my side whenever I needed them, therefore I had to learn how to live in this completely different country. I also tried to have some part-time jobs in the summer holiday in order to reduce financial burdens and got to know the local society. I remembered in the last period of writing my bachelor and master thesis, I went to Peace Palace Library every day, deleted all my social apps, therefore nobody could reach me in order to concentrate and finish my thesis without any disruption.

In the end I made it! Graduated from bachelor and master on time and have published my bachelor thesis on EU law journal. And later my EU law professor in Maastricht shared with me that he told younger students in the class, if an Asian can pass the whole course, how can you fail EU law? He remembered and used me as an example to encourage other students.

After I have finished my studies, I first interned in Everaert Advocaten Immigration Lawyers for 2 months. Then I have entered a very difficult time to find a job. As for my expertise, most of the law firms would want Dutch native speakers and in the companies they would prefer EU nationals due to the work permit issues. I was unemployment for more than half a year, and I had 1 year visa limitation – which means if I am not able to find a job, then I will have to go back to China. Every day I woke up and kept asking myself with doubts “Lydia, you are a master in law, is it a shame that you are not able to find a job, why do you stay here if you cannot make a contribution, are you wasting your time here?”. In the end, even though under a lot of financial pressure, I kept telling myself “don’t never give up, keep applying, do as much as you can”. I went to library every day, started 8 in the morning till 20.00 in the evening, kept studying Dutch in the same time so that I can switch my frustration to hard work. I got some invitation for online tests or interviews, but in the end, it was all rejections. Sometimes I called my parents and cried, saying that I want to come back home and I am not able to hang in there anymore. My parents left me to decide, I know in the bottom of my heart, I still want to prove that I am as good as the others and maybe even better. Therefore, next day, I wiped my tears and started to go to library again.

After months of trying, I got a job in Vanderlande, met a lot of nice and caring people (thanks again for the team to give me this great opportunity), received a permanent contract within 6 months – and my new journey started from here and stories continues. During my 10 years journey in NL, I have successfully completed my study, got my permanent working contract, got my permanent Dutch residence permit, got my driver licenses and ik spreek meer Nederlands ook! In the meantime a lot of difficult moments came to me too, when my mum was sick I was not able to take care of her, I couldn’t see my grandpa for the last time and I have missed every birthday of my parents. Normally I do not share these personal moments because of my culture, modest is the key and you don’t “show off” what you have done. Be nice and humble always.

Here I just want to encourage all the people who were in the similar situation, especially with COVID-19 situation, a lot of people are struggling to find a job or lose their job, having some depression or mental issues, having difficulty in their relationships, starting a new life somewhere that you aren’t familiar with. My good friend who has a similar education as me, but she is not able to find a proper employment and needs to return to China, other friend who is having some relationship issues and it didn’t work out for her etc.

Please remember never give up, keep trying and learning, make it the best out of it, sometimes crisis can be a challenge and this challenge can also turn out as positive or “must have” experiences in life, as life is always full of ups and downs, it depends on how we see it.

​​​​​​​Most importantly, I cannot achieve all these without a lot of wonderful people I have met in my life – you have all supported me all the way and I couldn’t be more grateful to have you all – thank you all for everything, especially to my parents, they aren’t able to see my 2 times of graduation, the moment when I passed my Dutch and driving exam, nor can they see my working surroundings. What I can do is keep making them proud.

With all the love and support, I am looking forward to my next 10 year journey.

Lydia 21 June 2020 Eindhoven, edited in 9 July 2020 Veghel