Full name: Jean Oneli Blaise
St. Maarten nickname: Nelly
City and country of residence today: Netherlands
What St. Maarten district are you from? South Reward
Where did you go to school on St. Maarten? Milton Peters College
How would you describe yourself in five words? Introvert, Calm, Curious, Ambitious, Humble
What are your favourite St. Maarten memories?
One of the best Memories was walking down the road to meet up with my Friends at Shamir Brown house, it was the Chill Spot. We were just teenagers hanging out, cracking jokes, doing activities outdoor unlike the social media age like today. Those were the happiest days of my Life and the most Embarrassing. However, I learn so much lessons that is helping me in the Netherlands today.
How long have you been gone?
I left St.Maarten in 2013 summer so it’s going to be 4 years in 2017 summer.
Tell us about studying abroad.
Studying abroad is one of the most meaningful experiences that I am still going through today. To be surrounded by a different lifestyle and so many diverse cultures is truly a blessing. This journey is teaching me more than I ever asked for and its equipping me with a multitude of skills set to impact my generation in a very positive way. Most Importantly it has taught me the importance of social cohesion amongst different people and cultures from around the globe.
Tell us about your aspirations short term and long term.
Short term aspirations, I have so many to be Honest one of them is to inspire my generation or the young people on my Island, by creating entertaining as well educational content that intrigues them.
Long term, I want to learn as much as possible about different cultures. My life goal is to leave an extraordinary positive impact on the individuals I meet. I want to connect as much people from different parts of the world so we can become one Bi-Racial Nation. -Nelly Blaise
Tell us about three experiences abroad that made a lasting impression and for what reason.
The first experience I had that made me pledge to always have human compassion. One of the first times going out by myself in the city of Breda, two Bouncers mocked and made fun of the way I speak Dutch and said inappropriate words to me and also indicating that night was not for ‘my type of people’. At, first I was angry, then after a few weeks I was depressed. I decided to talk to my parents by phone and without telling them the situation, they told me always respect your fellow Dutch neighbours and have compassion, no matter what happens or how awful the situation, because nothing is more powerful than a person that encounters negative situations and in return they show love. Up to this day I never told them about that night but their words, always have compassion stick with me for that moment and forever.
The love for my African Culture grew.
When I went to my first barber in the Netherlands I met so many Africans. I saw the way they dress and the way they talk, was so amusing. They would often talk about Africa and the different cultures and how amazing it was to live there. So that stirred up something deep inside of me to learn more about my African heritage. Back home we learned nothing about that so now I want to dress like an African, and learn about My cultural roots.
How helpful and nice the Dutch people are in my experiences.
I met one Dutch guy by the name of Stefan, we had so much diverse conversations about life, Dutch culture and music. He met me at a party for a couple of minutes and I explained that I didn’t have that many friends in Breda, after that he promised he would return the next day and hang out. I thought he would never come, however the next day he came and chill, ever since whenever he sees me he invites me in his house to have a beer and catch up. There are so many Dutch people with this open mind state and that left a lasting expression.
What are three of the most important lessons you have learned?
Number one, if you want success and truly want to live comfortably you need to get up and work for that, there is no other way unless you have rich parents but that is still not an excuse to be lazy.
If you are from one of those communities where it is tough and difficult to progress, never let that be an excuse to be a product of your environment, learn to persevere and use this roughness to give you an edge in life.
Lastly, Each and every one of us has the ability to do something amazing in this world. But, sometimes we give up on our dreams and that makes us unhappy, never give up on your dreams no matter what, you can do anything you put your mind to.
How do you see your life in 10 years? (Are you thinking about returning to St. Maarten?)
I see me in 10 years uplifting and truly being an impactful person that will unite many different people in my Generation.
I see myself living in a country that is bigger, I love the adventure and sometimes the fast pace lifestyle. I also, feel there a calling deep inside of me, for my work here in a bigger country. However at times I will return to St.Maarten to help inspire and teach about emotional intelligence as well as spiritually connecting to their fellow Neighbour. I definitely will retire on my Paradise.
What would you say to people that are nervous about the idea of leaving St. Maarten?
In order for you to grow and evolve, I recommend to travel the world, not the travel where you stay in the hotel and go and party, But the travel where you indulge in the culture, you speak to the people and learn from them, you try their food and other traditional stuff. That is the best teacher of life.
What do you do when you are not studying or working?
I am always writing, I write so much because I am preparing to release a multitude of content ranging from books, to documentaries and stories that can be turned into a TV show or Movies.
In a movie about the story of your life who should portray you?
D. Kullus the artist, I heard he looks like me often. In all seriousness if I could choose an actor it would be Jaden Smith, his performance in the Get Down has my mind blown.
Any advice for young people hoping to follow in your footsteps?
Be yourself no matter what and create content that will inspire a movement that will unite the masses.
Together with Joshua Giovanni, I am creating a Hip Hop documentary in the Netherlands.
Nelly Blaise a student of the ILM study, wants to make a startup media company online, which displays Edu-tainment and Culturally-rich experience that impacts today young generation. He has already started by creating ‘The Student Late Show,’ now the new challenge is to create an Independent Film portraying Hip Hop Culture within the Netherlands and by using storytelling to engage the audience.
Below is a small description of the purpose of the film.
Creating awareness about the Hip Hop community in the Netherlands. This documentary will serve the purpose of shedding light of the most influential artist of the Netherlands.
Additionally, interviewing the most popular Hip Hop artist that is making an impact within the Dutch culture.