I am Ilse Fernández, a licensed psychologist fluent in Spanish, English and Italian. My Bachelor’s degree was earned in Psychology at the Universidad Autónoma in Madrid, Spain. Hereafter I specialized in Clinical psychology at the Instituto de Estudios Psicológicos (ISEP). After working as a psychologist and neuropsychologist for numerous years in Madrid, I moved to the Netherlands. My experience ranges across a variety of organizations I-Psy and Kwintes where I worked as a psychologist.
In 2015, I completed a research masters in Cognitive Neuropsychology at the VU University in Amsterdam. Projects included research into methods to improve academic outcomes in children and adolescents.
Following my masters I decided to start Awareness Psychology, with the aim of helping people reach their goals, nurture their well being and find happiness.
Seven years ago, when I moved to Amsterdam from Spain, the beauty of this city struck me as it does so many other curious travelers looking for adventure. The gorgeous old canals adorned by quaint houses are a stark contrast to the modern, liberal and multicultural ethos that seeps from every brick in the city.
Talking with friends and family back in Spain, I found myself increasingly espousing the virtues of Dutch society such as daily bike-riding, gender equality, healthy-living and balance between work and leisure time. In short, I quickly fell deeply in love with Amsterdam. And then came the cultural shock.
In Mediterranean culture everyday social interactions are interlaced with a certain warmth meant to make each interaction a memorable moment. In contrast, Dutch social interactions seemed to place more importance on functionality, and efficiency; besides the cold and grey winter months were difficult to cope with. Furthermore, making new friends, especially with local Dutch people, proved to be a massive hurdle, and learning the Dutch language was in many ways more challenging than even the most complicated subjects of neuropsychology.
In time, I was forced to adapt, learn and grow to overcome these challenges and find my place as an international in Dutch society. Awareness psychology emerged from these experiences in combination with my professional background as a clinical psychologist. My goal is to help fellow expats to cope with their own unique difficulties and challenges that they are facing while living abroad.