It’s been just over a month since I started my exchange in Utrecht, Netherlands… and what a great time it’s been! It’s such a surreal experience that can sometimes be very scary but it’s a comfort to know that most people around me are in the same situation.
I’m living in a popular university student building which can be very fun until the apartment below us starts playing music until 1am Thursday, on the night before an exam.
Apart from that I’m really enjoying my location, I’m on the 16th floor (which we choose to call the penthouse suite) so I am getting amazing views out of my window. I live with 7 other people from all different locations including Germany, Austria, Canada, America, Italy and Sweden.
The first few weeks were a lot of fun with a lot of introduction activities where I was able to meet a lot of other international students. After the introduction settled down the workload started. The education process is very different here. An assignment is due one week and then another one is due the next; we get given a group assignment of 15-minute oral presentation, a few days before its due.
In relation to the different cultures it’s been an interesting progression.
However, the biggest culture difference I’ve discovered is the UNO rules; there have been just a few arguments over that. It’s been so interesting working out the small different things.
The first time I suggested to my housemates that we should go to ‘Maccas’ or when I said the lift was ‘dodgy’ I got many confused looks.
The Dutch culture is very different, they are very abrupt which can sometimes come off rude, but they usually mean the best. I still don’t know the language very well (Except thanks a lot – ‘dank je wel’), I am however taking a Dutch language course and learning the pronunciation of words – all though not well.
I have so far managed to travel twice, once to Munich, Germany for Oktoberfest and the other this past weekend to Edinburgh, Scotland.
The Oktoberfest trip was so much fun that included a 12-hour bus ride and sleeping at a camp site. I was able to really experience the German culture at Oktoberfest and even got to wear a dirndl for the event.
Edinburgh, Scotland was one of the most amazing places I have visited. Everyone is so nice, even the bus driver beeped nicely (double beep) when our tour guide cut him off.
We got to learn some Scottish dancing and visit all the clubs. The town itself is so historical, with beautiful old buildings that was the inspiration for Harry Potter (we even visited the grave where she got Voldemort and Harry Potters grave from).
The fact that I’ve been able to write this much in just a month and knowing I haven’t told anything is proof that the next 5 months is going to be an amazing adventure.
Dan je wel for reading.
Dayna Clifton, Bachelor of International Tourism student, Semester 2 2017 exchange at Utrecht University, the Netherlands
- Read Dayna’s 1st blog post here