Sam Welie retires14 July 2022
She is the most familiar face of the front office of Expat Centre Maastricht Region. From today, she can enjoy her retirement. Although Sam may not have the most traditional idea of retirement.
You worked for LIOF for several years. How did the Expat Centre adventure start for you?
'Well, I was actually still working at LIOF when Gemeente Maastricht asked me to help with questions from expats. It was then called International Service Desk. I worked here from time to time. A few years later when my job at LIOF ended due to reorganisation, I came to work at what was then called Holland Expat Centre South.
This centre was then working together with Holland Expat Centre South in Eindhoven. It soon became apparent that people living in Venlo would turn to Eindhoven, but everyone further south would go to Expat Centre South and GIP (Cross Border Information Point) in Maastricht. It was a logical step to go further on our own.'
The Expat Centre has developed through the years. You’ve been very involved almost from the start. What is it that you’re most proud of?
'We can realy help people. It’s a place where people are welcome with their questions. And they keep visiting us. Even in times like these were much information is found online. The kind of questions keep changing too. For example, nowadays we have fewer questions about taxes or freelance work, but more about renting a house or flat.'
You probably have many great anecdotes, is there one you would like to share with us?
'At first we were stationed at Centre Céramique which was fun and 'gezellig'. We didn’t have an appointment system like the one we have in Mosae Forum. One day we had about 200 people waiting on the big wooden staircase in the entrance hall of the Centre Céramique for their appointment with the IND. That was a bit overwhelming. We realised we needed more of a system.
Those things improved a lot when moving to our current location. It is also a bit more practical to be close to the Gemeenteloket. And we no longer get distracted by the monthly music performances. Some were nice, but some were very loud.'
What will you miss most?
'The people. Both colleagues and guests. Their stories. Why they moved here and what they are going to do. Every family is different, every PhD candidate has a different story. It is fulfilling teaching a person to help themselves. They seek your advice but I learned from them to.'
What are your plans for the future?
'Find a new job!'
'I’ll see what comes my way. At home you learn nothing.'
Thank you Sam for all your help, your drive and expertise. Feel free to visit us anytime you want.