A few years ago, our Portuguese dentist Carolina became an ambassador of our BGB program. Along with entering into this new role, she cooperated with us in this great video, in which she gives us a great impression of her life as a dentist in the Netherlands and explains her reasons for moving here.
In this article, we will focus more on Carolina’s life before she came to the Netherlands. Why did she choose to emigrate, and what made her choose Holland as her next destination? What steps did she have to take? Perhaps you are a dentist yourself, and you have similar questions about your future. This is why I’d like to take you back in time and show you what Carolina’s adventure looked like in chronological order.
As Carolina grew up in Portugal, the most likely choice for her would be to study in Portugal. However, she chose to study in the University of Brno in the Czech Republic, where they offered a dentistry program entirely in English. The reason? She would get more opportunity to combine theoretical knowledge with practical lessons.
Carolina’s choice was, in many ways, a great success. She was able to participate in lots of practical classes and got to know plenty of international students. This turned out to not only be a good choice career-wise but also in terms of her personal life. During her studies, Carolina met the Czech Aneta, who was at the time working in education. They developed a serious relationship, and when Carolina concluded her studies, they had to make serious plans for the future. The most important question being: where are we going to continue our lives and careers together?
The start of an adventure together
Carolina already used her years as an international student to look at the possibilities for her life after her studies. After graduation, many of her peers returned to their respective countries of origin, but for Carolina this was not an option.
Both Carolina and Aneta wanted a life with economic stability; a life where, instead of living from paycheck to paycheck, you could actually save money and build a future together. This proved to be next to impossible in their own countries, so they decided to start building this future abroad.
With their wishlist in the back of their heads, they took to Google, and quickly discovered that the northern countries where the most compatible with their expectations. Sweden and the Netherlands emerged as the prime ‘contestants’, with them opting for the latter due to its financial stability, good balance between work and private life, and renowned open culture.
Of course, choosing a country was but the first part of the puzzle, because both of them still needed jobs.
Carolina and Aneta soon discovered BGB and saw that we were looking for people to work as a dentist in the Netherlands. They would offer these dentists guidance with starting a career and life in the Netherlands, with much emphasis on the Dutch language. For dentist Carolina, it was a clear for match, and Aneta saw an opportunity to change the trajectory of her career. Seeing as BGB’s team already consisted of several different nationalities, she decided to apply for a job as a recruiter. This resulted in two applications reaching us at once: one by Carolina, who wanted to work as a dentist in the Netherlands, and one by Aneta, to add to our team of recruiters.
Due to the distance, our first conversations took place through Skype, and they were pleasant from the get-go. It did not take long before they were able to take the next step in their adventure: a personal interview in the Netherlands!
A pleasant personality, a good level of dentistry, and a knack for language-learning: the basis for a successful cooperation with BGB
The date of the personal interview happened to be on a very special day in the Netherlands. It is the day that the entire country is clad in orange, people visit flea markets and party like there’s no tomorrow. In short: King’s Day. You would be hard-pressed to find a better day to get to know the country.
While a video call usually gives us a good impression of what a person is like, BGB always likes to invite candidates to come and meet us in person. This face-to-face introduction is combined with discussing the contract and a dental interview, to make sure the dentist has what it takes as a professional to be able to thrive in a Dutch dental clinic. This does not just include dental knowledge, but also their personality, motivation and ability to learn languages. Seeing as BGB offers a cooperation of multiple years, these are the cornerstones of a successful and satisfactory experience for both parties.
I welcomed Aneta and Carolina to the Netherlands together with my colleague Dário. The good impression we had already seen on Skype was more than confirmed in real life. After just a few conversations, it was obvious that the both of them would be great additions to the BGB team. This feeling proved to be mutual, and it was the personal approach that convinced Carolina and Aneta to continue their careers in the Netherlands.
Then followed the next, crucial step: learning Dutch!
Learning the Dutch language: essential for a successful career in the Netherlands
Apart from the fact that speaking Dutch facilitates a successful start in the Dutch job market, it is in fact mandatory for every European dentist working in the Netherlands to pass a language exam at B2+ level. And even if Aneta was not a dentist herself, she still wanted to participate as to prepare herself well for her new job with BGB.
After following a 5-week e-learning, Carolina and Aneta continued their course in the Austrian village of Seefeld, the location of the BGB Academy, where they would focus near-exclusively on the Dutch language for several months.
Having arrived in Seefeld, both Carolina and Aneta realised that their adventure had truly started, surrounded by the Austrian mountains, and of course other dentists, who were also there to learn the Dutch language. It was there that they laid the foundation of their future careers in the Netherlands.
Not long after concluding the BGB language course, Carolina passed her language exam, in which she proved to be able to possess the right language and communication skills to treat Dutch patients. This allowed BGB to help register her as a dentist in the Netherlands.
This registration, called the BIG, is an important milestone in the career of any European dentists coming to the Netherlands to work, as it establishes a guaranteed baseline of quality and reliability. It is for that reason that both BGB as the Dutch dentistry community as a whole greatly value this registration.
In the meanwhile, BGB had found Carolina a dental clinic where she’d be able to work in two different locations, which made her work more fun and varied. These clinics were situated close to Zwolle, a cozy city where Carolina and Aneta went to live. This city offered the advantages of it already being the homebase of quite a few other BGB dentists, as well as having a good train connection with Amsterdam, where BGB’s office is located. In short, their new lives and careers in the Netherlands had begun!
Living, working and speaking as the Dutch do
And what does that life look like? After breakfast, they take the train at Zwolle station. Carolina goes to Kampen four times a week, and Meppel once a week. From there, it’s only a short bike ride to the clinics, which makes the travel time quite agreeable for Carolina. Aneta has to take a bit more time to get to work, but with the good train connection to Amsterdam, this is not a problem. Not to mention that the train offers the added advantage of making for a suitable work environment before you even arrive at the office. On her LinkedIn profile, Aneta explains more about what Dutch public transport is like.
Both Aneta and Carolina realise how important it is to have a good command of Dutch. Of course, Carolina communicates with patients in Dutch on a daily basis, but the use of the language stretches beyond just her professional life: several of her colleagues have since become her friends, and they all sing Dutch songs together. What better way to integrate in the Netherlands?
Aneta also benefits from her knowledge of Dutch. Since the first day of arriving at her new job, she has been communicating in Dutch, and has no trouble understanding anything that goes on at work. In addition, she is not afraid to make mistakes and has urged both me and other colleagues to correct her when necessary. Aneta has absolutely no trouble cracking jokes in Dutch, so we can only conclude that her integration at the BGB office has been a success!
The Netherlands: the best destination for European dentists
All in all, their lives in the Netherlands are filled with many of the things they set out to do when they ran their first Google search for a career abroad. They’re able to go out a lot, travel, and enjoy life. This is made all the more easy by the good infrastructure of the Netherlands, the pleasant balance between work and private life, and the professional opportunities that present themselves. (Are you looking for more reasons to move to the Netherlands? Read my article on just that topic!)
In the Netherlands patients go to the dentist twice a year for check-ups, and don’t wait until they experience pain. This allows dentists to treat many patients every day and do all the treatments that are classified under general dentistry.
As a result, it is common for dentists in the Netherlands to treat 15-30 patients per day on average, while the quality of the treatment and the communication with the patient are still the highest priorities.
Carolina has her own chair in her clinic, while she also checks another room for common check-ups. In this second room alone, Carolina sees about 10-15 patients each day, which goes to show how many treatments she performs. This adds a lot of variety and excitement to her work days.
Important to note as well is the role of assistants: contrary to several other countries, dentists in the Netherlands work with assistants. The combination of a dedicated assistant and high-quality materials allows Carolina to offer effective dentistry at a high level, which helps both her patients and Carolina herself, as she grows as a professional every single day.
Aneta also developed herself greatly at BGB. Several administrative responsibilities have been added to her initial role of recruiter, which make her a strong asset for the recruitment team and BGB as a whole.
In conclusion, Carolina and Aneta are very happy with their lives and careers in the Netherlands. This is also why we can recommend every European dentist to consider a step to the Netherlands. Carolina and Aneta do have some tips, however: if you have an open personality, and you’re both adventurous and flexible, you will be able to get the most out of a career in the Netherlands. Not to mention that learning Dutch requires real dedication, but if you enjoy learning languages, it can also provide an excellent challenge. If you are prepared to take all these steps, there’s a bright career waiting for you in the Netherlands.
Did reading this article trigger your interest in starting a career in the Netherlands, and would you like to know more? Take a look at our job offer for more information, or get in touch with me or Aneta.
Image Kingsday: Wikicommons