So what’s all happened to me since I arrived here in the Netherlands..?
I’ve had a near nervous breakdown at Amsterdam Schiphol for not figuring out how to buy train tickets and how to use the machines there…However, buying the OV-chipkaart (the national public transport card) has made life a lot easier since, so not to worry!
I’ve met my new school mates who are all wonderful and come from places like Canada, Russia, Spain, Germany, Latvia, Hungary, Mexico, France, Brazil, Korea, Japan and the UK (to name a few!).
With them I’ve attended a BBQ and games organised by my school – Fontys International Business School – in a lovely place by a big field on a beautiful summer’s day in August.
I’ve also had some fun out by the river Maas in Venlo with my new friends from school (again, on a beautiful hot summer’s day), I’ve ridden a tandem bike (and not crashed), I’ve taken a bus (that was going in the wrong direction) and ridden on it for nearly an hour when the journey SHOULD have taken 10 mins, I’ve gotten lost (oh so many times!) on the little streets around Venlo where I live…The nature over here is breathtaking though, so you really don’t mind getting a little lost!
Some things that I love over here in the Netherlands: the kindness and helpfulness of people, random conversations with strangers, the Sunday ”buzz” (Sunday seems to be one the liveliest days of the week with lots of things, like concerts, fairs and such happening), cheap prices (drinking, eating out, grocery shopping and some clothes shops) AND the way every Dutch person modestly answers: ”Yes, a little bit”, when asked if they speak English. They always end up speaking it fluently!
School-wise, the learning and teaching methods used here at Fontys International Business School are close to those at TAMK: there are a lot of group tasks, projects and cases to be done, but with the exemption that all the projects are theoretical as there is no contact with actual companies. I have liked it a lot though – the teachers are great and the subjects in my International Marketing and Management minor really build upon what I have previously learnt at TAMK. The grading system here goes from 1 to 10, with 10 being the best grade you can get so it’s a little different from the system in Finland, but you get used to it quickly!
Some great Dutch experiences thus far:
- Trip to Amsterdam on Halloween to meet with some friends – what a beautiful and interesting city it is with lots to see and to do, and some things you would never expect to see.
- City of Fears trip (Weeze, Germany) A terrifyingly exciting trip organised by Fontys; an abandoned industrial park turned into a full-on horror experience with clowns, zombies and the works!
- Maastricht Christmas Market, lovely little city with heavenly Christmas lights and a lot of nice things to look at.
- ’Kermis’ in Venlo in October; the whole town turned into a bustling fairground for a week!
- Gigs, games of pool and general fun times with our new Dutch friends at Kafee de Splinter – our favourite local pub with great music and familiar atmosphere!
All in all, Venlo is an amazing little city, and the Dutch are some of the nicest and most entertaining people you’ll ever meet! I can honestly say that I recommend considering Fontys International Business School as an exchange destination. This place has exceeded my expectations.