• Natasha Villaroman

Finding Home Away From Home: Why I Moved to the Netherlands

Updated: Sep 3

It seems rather unusual and unexpected to move to a country so foreign, miles away from home, such as the Netherlands.


Coming from a tropical country and living most of my life in one place, this was my first crack at becoming an “expat”. It may sound like an exciting leap (and it is, for sure) but the ambiguity that you face can be quite terrifying for some.


So why this city? More importantly, why did I decide to take that leap and leave home?

It’s always been my dream


Have you ever felt that strong affinity to a certain place that just makes you itch to go there? Some chase the American Dream, while I blush on the idea of strolling around European streets, eating croissants in a Parisian cafe, and admiring preserved landmarks in charming cities.


Europe has always been my dream, not only to visit once, but to explore a continent so rich in culture, ideas, and innovation. It didn’t really matter where I stayed, as traveling around Europe, as you know, is quite easy!


Paris is always a good idea!


Taking the first step


Living in the third world meant going to Europe for a vacation impossible to reach (as a young, independent, ambitious 20’s).


No matter how much you save, it will never be enough — unless you get a big break or get a little help from family and friends.


And since my ambition was not only to visit once, I thought of doing further studies and earn my Master’s Degree – while getting to travel Europe. Seemed like a ‘hitting two birds in one stone’ scenario!


I remember back in April 2017, where I decided to quit my office job and focus on getting to my dream school while doing a lot of side jobs to earn. This was also the time when Natalie and I were kicking off The Travelling Foxes and travelled to India together.


So many questions in my head, but I had that unwavering passion and dedication to that dream.

Backpackers in India


The unexpected twist


I stuck it up, for about 7 months, trying to get into the school I want while working on my commercial modeling gigs. I had to hustle; as not having a full-time job meant using a lot of creativity to earn more.


When I finally got that admission letter, I was beyond ecstatic! I was about to study at a prestigious University earning a Master’s in Marketing degree that would take part in two cities – London and Paris.


At that time, I was dating an amazing guy whom I met at a work event about two years ago but is now based in Amsterdam. I told him immediately my plans and were excited about the prospect of being in closer cities.


For a while, everything was going well until that time came when I had to take a hard look at my finances.


There were options to apply for full scholarships, getting a loan, or borrowing from my parents. But due to certain circumstances, I wanted to be out of debt as much as possible and decided to sell one of our properties in exchange to fund my tuition.


Three months have passed and the property didn’t sell. I didn’t get the money that I needed.


Maybe, it wasn’t for me, my friends say. Or maybe I was just unlucky. Needless to say, my dreams of studying abroad seemed blurry at that point and I had to take another approach.

Chasing that ray of sunshine, always


Amsterdam, perchance?


It was a hard decision to make, but I had to do it. Postponing my studies meant I had more time to save up. But what about my dreams of travelling to Europe? Well, I still grabbed it and made a better turn.


I took a leap of faith and followed my heart.

Say cheese!


Yes, I moved here because of love.


I never really thought of coming to Amsterdam in the first place, but because my boyfriend has been working here for awhile, I decided to give it a try.


I visited him for 3 weeks last November 2016, then finally making a move March this year.

I had mixed thoughts about the city, but mostly positive. I’ve always been open-minded about new, unexpected journeys, and now that I’ve been adjusting to the new lifestyle, I can’t wait to share with others the beauty and adventures of living in a foreign city.

Cycling around Vondelpark


Journey onwards


As I navigate my new life here in the Netherlands, I wish to continue inspiring the spirit of travel and never-ending exploration of your dreams.


If you can dream it, you can live it… Just have a little faith and keep trying.

As the saying goes, if your dreams don’t scare you, they’re probably not big enough.

Here’s to finding a new home and saying YES to new adventures,

Natasha ♡


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Do you have similar experiences moving away from home? What about trying to live in the Netherlands? Drop me a comment or message me your thoughts!

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