Change the world


BCom (Logistics & Transport Economics) alumna Almarize Kleu from Gqeberha graduated in 2020 and moved to the Netherlands a year ago at the age of 23. It’s been the adventure of a lifetime. 


Vondelpark, Amsterdam, Ghent, Belgium, and the trees of Stadswandelpark, in Eindhoven – a park Almarize Kleu visits almost daily.

Mandela Uni graduate feels at home in foreign country thanks to South African expats 

By Heather Dugmore

“Before moving to Eindhoven in the Netherlands on 15 July 2022, the only time I’d been outside of South Africa was a trip to Mozambique, so it was a huge move for me,” says Almarize, who applied for and was offered a position as a supply chain engineer at Royal Philips International, which has its headquarters in Eindhoven. 

The first three months were the hardest, as she was part of a team that worked only in Dutch. “My Afrikaans helped a bit and over the course of a year I learnt Dutch, and I now fluently work in it. What is so surprising is how quickly we learn a new language by speaking it every day.” 

She settled in quickly, thanks to the local South African community. “I was surprised by how many South Africans live in the Eindhoven. In my first week here I was invited to a pub to watch the Springboks playing.” 

Friends like family 

Almarize has since made friends from all over.There are so many people here I now consider family, including the Dutch landlords of my city centre apartment, who epitomise ‘Brabantse gezelligheid’; Brabant being our province and ‘gezelligheid’ is a proudly Dutch word – a mix between Ubuntu and conviviality. And when there is a Springbok rugby game or any South African celebration, we meet up and celebrate like only Saffas can.” 

On weekends, Almarize and a group of friends sometimes do city trips, either locally or across the border since everything is so close. She says Ghent in Belgium is one of the most beautiful cities she has ever electronic and they are huge in the world,” she explains.  

Romance-wise, she says when friends there asked her how she expected to meet someone, she would reply, “maybe I’ll be in a bakery and an attractive man will ask me if I want to share a croissant!”.  

They told her she needed to try dating apps, which is the normal way of meeting people there. “This was most unlike me, but I went through an online dating phase. It was weird but entertaining, and the good thing is I tried it. I’m trying all sorts of new things including drinking beer and eating cheese! In South Africa I never enjoyed either, but the variety here is so incredible, that I’m a convert.” 

This article was published in the latest edition of Thetha our alumni and friends’ magazine

Contact information
Mrs Debbie Derry
Deputy Director: Communication
Tel: 041 504 3057