Valentines Day

Celebrating holidays 8 hours earlier than everyone else is pretty darn goofy to me. Especially when you had gone to two classes, biked 3 miles, ate a sandwich and a bowl of soup by the time everyone you know is waking up. I know in all actuality it is not an additional 8 hours from what everyone else gets but I feel like a time traveler nonetheless.

Courses are going good! The education system is different from the United States in it that classes are rarely ever in format I’m used to which is: Show up- Take notes from presentation- Potty break- Leave. Amidst the potty breaks, they hardly ever use a powerpoint or other presentation to teach their lesson. It is all discussion!

Anyone who knows me knows that I love to talk and one of my favorite things (and reasons I came here) is to learn all about another country and see how it compares to the United States. And today was good as we finally touched upon my favorite subject: healthcare. Everyone in the classes with us are so willing to share what is positive about their system, what is negative, and where they wish it would be. It is even more interesting as our class is composed of students who will be traveling to other countries to complete their internships, just like I am completing mine. They are going to Africa, the Philippines, Australia and even Indonesia! So not only do I get to learn about the Netherlands, I get these bonus added countries to learn about too!

How neat ūüôā

Class inside a church!

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Well folks, the end of week one has hit and we have officially arrived at week two! After I just figured out where my courses were, they decided to throw a wrench into the equation and we had to find an entirely new building. Thankfully our class was super nice and told us where to find it and guess what, it ended up being inside of a refurbished church!

There are very few statues around Nijmegen so it was beautiful to see so many in one location! It was at a place called the¬†Albertinum Chapel and let me be the first to say, the¬†architecture was astonishing. The classrooms, well, that’s for a different conversations.

Courses are going good! I have made a few friends from the UK and am slowly adapting an English accent and I am not even upset about it. I have taken it easy on myself and my jet lag and have been staying in my room in the weekends. This being said, the more I spend time in my room and adjust to the time, the most irroestiable urge I have to go and get lost in this country. We are planning on exploring Amsterdam this upcoming week and Germany shortly thereafter. Wanderlust is a real thing my friends and I keep reminding myself that the opportunity I’ve been given is a blessing.

Surrounded with a different language

As I approach the end of week one, I like to think I am getting the hang of this whole “being dutch” experience! I recently purchased a bike as that is the primary mode of transportation around here and ordered a smoothie with the help of my dutch friends! So I thought I’d take the time to write about some of the cultural differences I’ve experienced so far!

The language. Oh the language. Fun fact, most everyone in the Netherlands speaks English (90%) as their second language while the other 10% speaks German. This is a huge advantage to us as while they speak English, everything else is naturally in Dutch. Everyone speaks dutch instinctively as it’s their primary language so this was an advantage as someone tried to sell me something at the train station. They started speaking dutch and i said english and they backed away. Score one!

The music. The Dutch feel personally invested in America and as a result, they enjoy most of our music! They play it in grocery stores and cafes and it is so calming to hear a familiar language after hearing everyone say things you cannot understand all day long! In America, I sing songs from other countries that I don’t know the meaning too and it’s weird to be on the opposite end of that! They sing along without knowing what it even means most of the time. Crazy world!

The culture. Even though most things I write about are influenced by the culture, there are some differences between America and the Netherlands I have to write about directly! In America, we value privacy and personal space and that is a whole different story over here. I like my “bubble” circumference and that, well that is just not existent over here. In addition, they are very direct and honest in all that they say. This takes some getting used to as blunt statements in America typically indicate anger and that is not the case here. They are highly efficient in the way they talk and want to get to the point.

Two entirely different countries yet all in the same world. Environment plays such a huge role in the culture in which you live and it is so enlightening to be learning all of this!