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How a Dutch company makes me feel at home

Date:02 February 2021
Author:Zexuan Yuan
Zexuan Yuan, Master Student Econometrics and Actuarial Science, Enterprise Risk Management Intern at Nationale-Nederlanden
Zexuan Yuan, Master Student Econometrics and Actuarial Science, Enterprise Risk Management Intern at Nationale-Nederlanden


My name is Zexuan. I come from a small city in China, and this is my fourth year in the Netherlands.

This year I started my Master in Econometrics and Actuarial Science. After completing my Master, I’m planning to stay and work in the Netherlands. For me and possibly other internationals this might be challenging for instance because of the language barrier and the lack of work experience, just to name a few reasons. I embraced these challenges by developing myself and making myself more competent in the labor market. I wanted to gain work experience before I graduate. This is how I got the idea of doing an internship. I started looking for different internships on LinkedIn, and it was not as difficult as I initially expected. I got invited to a few interviews, and eventually I decided  to do an internship at a Dutch insurance company: Nationale-Nederlanden(NN).

Yet working in an international company was always my dream. So how did I end up in a Dutch company? I still remember the day of the interview with my managers. They were so passionate and enthusiastic about their job and they shared their experiences with me. I already felt included the first time I talked to them, as if we already knew each other for a long time. I was so touched and inspired by the inclusive culture that I hoped I could start working there as soon as possible! Luckily, they told me the next day that I got the position!

Working in the team has been a great experience since the first day. Because of the Corona pandemic, everyone has to work from home. But my internship supervisor still arranged something special for me to get to know everyone in the team. I had a virtual coffee with almost all my colleagues online, which immediately made me feel welcome. In the first few weeks of the internship, I did some E-learning so that I could obtain some theoretical knowledge about the work being done in the team. After that, I immediately got some tasks so that I could apply my knowledge. It is not always easy,  but luckily everyone in the team is willing to help me. Although I am an intern, everyone just treats me as part of the team and I am able to contribute to the team, to the company and my opinion and suggestions are appreciated all the time.

It is also not always about work. For Christmas, I was very happy to receive a huge package as a Christmas gift, and we even had an online Christmas event. After the holiday, I was surprised to receive lunch delivered to my home so that we could have lunch “together” online. During that lunch, I even had the chance to tell everyone about Chinese new year!

Sadly, my internship contract was going to end in February. As I enjoy being part of  the team and also would like to learn more, I got the courage to ask my internship supervisor if I could extend my internship. To my surprise, the team was also hoping I could stay longer! Is there anything else than this that can make me feel more like home?

Lastly, I would like to give some advice for students that want to find an internship in the Netherlands. First of all, you need to know your own capabilities and interests. There are many positions listed on platforms such as LinkedIn, but you need to choose the ones that suit your profile/academic background and your interest the best. This is important because you need to first enjoy what you are doing, then you can do it well. Also it is easier to write a motivation letter and convince the interviewer  if you are truly interested in the position. Secondly, be confident about yourself. If you are invited to the interview, show your confidence. Don’t be afraid that there will be unfamiliar things/tools in the position.  Most importantly, embrace the challenge, and appreciate the opportunity of learning new things.

This is my internship story. I hope it can give all international students inspiration to look for an internship or a job in the Netherlands and find the one that suits you the best!

Questions regarding my story or the university? You can contact me via the contact form on my personal page, link below.

About the author

Zexuan Yuan
Zexuan Yuan
My name is Zexuan Yuan, and I am from Taizhou, Jiangsu, a south-east city in China. In my high school I majored in science track. After completing the bachelor program Econometrics and Operations Research, I'm now pursuing a Master in Econometrics and Actuarial Science at University of Groningen.