Mandie van der Meer


Hello, I’m Mandie Rose van der Meer, a lifestyle writer, editor, tutor, teacher and lexophile. (That means a lover of words.) The word “zeggen” is Dutch for “say,” and that’s the goal – say what you need to say with the right words to the intended audience.

I’m originally from New York City, and now I live in the Netherlands with my Dutch husband. The journey from ‘New Amsterdam’ to ‘Old’ has enriched my life in many ways – love, language, career, culture, friendships and just plain fun. I spent my first year or so here learning Dutch, though the journey is everlasting. It’s the same with my native English language, as one can never know too many words or ways of expressing ideas.

 My passion for storytelling began early when my mother taught me how to read, with Dr. Seuss’ Cat in the Hat, Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are, and the impressionable Oddkins by Dean R. Koontz. Now I’m a bit like a kid all over again, trying to read Dutch writer Annie M. G. Schmidt’s amazing works, and Dutch magazines like Happinez and Flow. I’m motivated to get a better handle on this very tricky language and I’m lucky to have some lovely Dutch friends who help me with my speaking.

Communication has been the main focus of all my studies. In 2011 I earned a Master’s degree in Rhetoric & Technical Communication from Michigan Technological University. For my under-graduate degree I attended Elon University, on a beautiful campus in North Carolina. Those studies in English and journalism prepared me well for my professional work as an editor, a lifestyle writer, English tutor and communications instructor.

In 2015 I was the editor for six issues of The Holland Times news magazine. My work before that role included teaching English as a foreign language with the Berlitz Language Center of Amsterdam, and editing a 100-page book of collected stories from 150 internationals living in the Netherlands. The book Ready, Steady, Go Dutch, a joint project by and ACCESS, is a gem of a resource for expats and immigrants integrating into Dutch society. These first-hand experiences provide real insight and advice for foreigners. It was a pleasure to read participants’ tales and compile them into this approachable, handy book.

I am currently editing the ACCESS Magazine, which has returned to print for 2016 after five years as an ezine. Are you a writer looking to contribute articles about life as an international in the Netherlands? Get in touch!

Besides all that serious work stuff, there’s also room for hobbies, like photography, card making, cooking, reading, wine tasting, some yoga, hiking (or wandeling, as it’s better known in Dutch) and traveling. I’ve visited 35 states in the US, and 12 countries in Europe and Africa, and there’s quite an extensive list of places I dream to visit in the future. There’s just so much to learn from this world, isn’t there? So much to soak up and enjoy!

Allan Halterman

Allan Halterman
Hi I’m Allan and thanks for the chance to participate.
I’m a long-term resident here in Japan living an hour outside Tokyo for nearly twenty years.  I’ve tried most of the usual jobs for foreigners in Japan…JET Programme, English teacher, university instructor, etc. now working in advertising, mostly for pharmaceuticals.
This is kind of ironic as I’m suffering from a rare disease called Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN) and end up taking a lot of heavy medication every day.  In case you’ve never heard of TN, it’s a disease of the facial nerves that causes unbearable pain to the patient and is known as the most painful disease known to man.

One of my hopes is to help raise awareness for TN and rare diseases. Research funding is drastically lacking compared to common disorders, while the cost to patients in dollars lost to disability and suffering is absolutely greater.

My hobbies are Heavy Metal, J-Pop idols, PS3 gaming, and cooking stews. You can find that and my rabid scribbles on my main account at @yabaikankei.

James Tollgren

James Tollgren

An English guy from Portsmouth living in Nagoya, Japan, and working for a large Japanese company that manufactures large products.  Mostly hang around with Japanese people, and almost never see or speak to other non-Japanese.  Travel around Japan a lot for work, which is good and bad.

Background in Science, graduate of three universities.
Husband, father to two boys, when I have free time (not often) I’m supporting Portsmouth FC, watching Japanese movies and TV, reading,  taking photos, or blogging about haikyo (abandoned buildings).  My haikyo blog is at:
Twitter: @nagoyapompey7
Instagram: @Nagoyablue

Nathalina Romeu


I have lived in London for 13 years now. I was only supposed to have a gap year after I finished my Bachelors degree in art, but life had other plans. Originally from a small village in the Swedish speaking part of Finland, settling into life in London hasn’t always been easy (still hate the separate hot and cold taps); however, it is where I have made my home and they do say home is where the heart is. I met my wife-to-be soon after I had decided to give London a chance and we got married the year after civil partnerships were allowed and converted—or should I say upgraded—to marriage when that became law in 2015.
Life post-Brexit vote is uncertain, but this is my home. The UK won’t get rid of me that easily.

I am also admin of the @twklgbtq RoCur and my personal Twitter handle is @nathromeu.

Eva Moreda


I have been an expat for two thirds of my adult life – in Italy, Germany, England and finally Scotland. Although growing up no one in my family or close circle of acquaintances was an expat, I was always curious about living abroad, and when I could finally do it as an adult, I realized that being a expat was the condition which allowed me to be the best version of myself. Moreover, as an academic, one of my areas of expertise is expats: I have written a book and several articles about music and exile, focusing on Spanish exiled composers.

Craig Atkinson

Craig Atkinson

I’m a father of two boys (6 and a new born) currently living in Tokyo. I was born in a small town called Ballarat in Australia, then moved to Melbourne when I was 22. My first taste of expat life was during a U.K. Working holiday visa in 2006, that lasted 18 months. Once I returned home, I realized that I’d been bitten by the travel bug, and within 6 months I was teaching English in Japan.

During that time I met my wife, and we decided to move back to Australia for a few years (5). Therefore, I officially became an expat in November 2013 when we moved back to Tokyo for the foreseeable future. Since being back, I’ve been working on achieving some of my creative goals through my writing.

Rachel Woodlock

Rachel Woodlock
Dr. Rachel Woodlock is an academic and writer with a special interest in the experiences of Muslims in Western societies. She studied and worked at both the University of Melbourne and Monash University in Australia before she moved with her family to the quiet solitude of rural Ireland. She has lived as an expat Australian in County Tipperary for nearly four years, during which time she co-wrote For God’s Sake: An Atheist, a Jew, a Christian & a Muslim Debate Religion and co-edited the academic title Fear of Muslims? International Perspectives on Islamophobia.

Raised in a Baha’i family, Rachel found a new home in Islam in the late ‘90s, so she is an expat both geographically and religiously. Her religious life has taken some wandering twists and turns but she is particularly entranced by Islamic spirituality and its comparisons and overlaps with ascetic ancient Eastern Christianity. She also has an interest in Jewish-Muslim interfaith relations having attended Jewish religious education classes as a child, honeymooned in the Holy Land and worked professionally with colleagues at Monash University’s Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation.

In Ireland, Rachel has found friendship, welcome and much craic!

Fernando Gros

Fernando Gros

I’m a photographer and artist who lives in Tokyo with my wife and daughter. Born in Chile, I moved to Australia as a young child and grew up like a classic third culture kid, speaking English at school and Spanish at home. In my late 20s, I moved to London, where my daughter was born. When she was 2, we moved to Delhi, then later Hong Kong, and Singapore, before arriving in Tokyo in 2013.

Along the way, I switched careers, leaving academia and going back to studio work, music and then photography. This experience was summarised in my first book No Missing Tools. I also regularly share experiences of living and working in Japan on my blog, and also Twitter and Instagram.

Everyone knows about the amazing spring in Japan, where the cherry blossoms burst forth in clouds of white and pink. But, it’s only one of the amazing seasons (some say we have 72 of them). I love autumn the most, when the ginkgo trees light up like great shards of yellow and gold. The air turns crisp and is so inviting for long walks and hikes. And of course, it reminds us it will be winter soon, when the snow will fall and we’ll catch the fast trains into the mountains to go skiing.

Matthew Smith

Matthew Smith

English-born former corporate IT professional Matthew Smith swapped the livestock country of rural Devonshire for the South Australian grain-belt. His move started with contrasts which set the tone for the last fifteen years, being snowed in the week before leaving England, and arriving to temperatures in excess of 40ºC.

Matthew lives on a rural property with his Australian wife, ten Labradors, a horse, a budgerigar, and a vintage tractor. Working from home as a freelance software developer and IT consultant, he enjoys cooking, art, music, observing the local flora and fauna, science and humanities Twitter RoCurs, and studying Cold War history.

Administrator of the @WeRWorld Twitter “global village” RoCur account, Matthew can normally be found holding forth as @smiffy, tweeting mostly in English, with the occasional bit of bad French thrown in for good measure. Instagram: @schamiyam

Amanda van Mulligen


Amanda van Mulligen is a British expat who made the Netherlands her home in 2000. She has three Dutch sons, who she is doing her best to tinge with a little Britishness, and a pure-bred Dutch husband.

In a previous life she worked in the world of Human Resources (HR), helping new expats get settled in the Netherlands or helping employees and their families get ready to embark on a life in a far-flung remote location. It was in this role she learnt that not all expats are equal; some expats are more expat than others. Hence Amanda realised she lives her life in a little piece of no man’s land situated between being a British expat and a local Dutch woman. To complicate her sense of identity further she now also has Dutch citizenship.
Amanda left HR to dabble in writing and is now a published author, freelance writer, translator and blogger. She has contributed to expat anthologies Dutched Up! Rocking the Clogs Expat Style, Once Upon An Expat and the upcoming Knocked Up Abroad Again. She has also translated the children’s book Langmuts is een Held from Dutch into English, one in a series of books written with highly sensitive children in mind.
You can find her scribbling her thoughts and experiences about her expat way of loving, living and parenting at Turning Dutch. She also writes about raising highly sensitive children on the Happy Sensitive Kids blog and you’ll find her all over social media like a rash: FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.”