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Hallo from the Netherlands!

Hallo! My name is Kristin and I am currently studying at Radboud University in Nijmegen, Netherlands. Nijmegen is a small city of 160,000 located on the eastern side of the country, close to Germany.

I’ve found that it’s actually quite common for people to drive over the border to go grocery shopping and buy gas, since prices are lower there. One of the things I’ve come to realize during my first month abroad is how close everything is in Europe. Not only am I able to take a 1.5 hour train ride north to reach Amsterdam for the day, but if I go 2 hours in the opposite  direction I will reach the most southern part of the Netherlands. Many of the students from Europe who are living with me even drove to campus- they make my 24 hour plane and train trip seem ridiculous!

Going to college in another country isn’t as different as I thought it would be. The cafeteria reminds me of Goudy, the homework is comparable to what I’d get at Willamette- but there are a few key differences. I am taking five classes that equate to 3.25 WU credits, but since they only meet once a week I am able to have Mondays and Fridays off. However, classes are typically 3 hours long and that is a definite change from Willamette.  I also have to pay for printing now, which is new. They have a different system that is way more efficient than WU Print and very easy to maneuver…once you know how it works. It took a few violent button pushes, some swift kicks to the printer and finally asking for help before I got it figured out.

Living in the Netherlands has brought its own share of challenges. The Dutch language is very difficult (pronunciation wise), but I have gotten really good at saying “tot zines” (goodbye), “dankjewel” (thank you) and properly pronouncing the city that I live in. I’m lucky that many people in the Netherlands speak English very well- however this also works against me. Whenever someone realizes that I’m not Dutch, they begin speaking to me in English. I’m not sure how great my Dutch is going to get because of this, but I’m going to keep trying. The Dutch system of transportation is also very different from the U.S. Though cars are still pretty common, almost everyone owns a bicycle. Everyone, no matter their age, is on a bicycle to go to school, work, shopping or just to get from one place to another. I learned to ride a bike when I was younger so it wasn’t foreign to me, but riding here is different than in the U.S. Because it is so common there are bike lanes everywhere, as well as special traffic lights for bikes. I’ve gotten more comfortable riding in the past four weeks, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to text and bike like the other Dutch students anytime soon. I can bike one-handed though!

If you have any questions about studying in the Netherlands or through ISEP in general, my email is always open. I am also writing a blog about my time here, which you can find at kristingoesabroad.wordpress.com.

Tot zines!

Kristin

<kgarriso@willamette.edu>

Stroopwafles are one of my favorite Dutch treats. They kind of like two pieces of a waffle cone with caramel syrup in the middle. At the market you can buy warm ones from a stall, or you can find them in every supermarket.

Amsterdam

I went to Amsterdam for the day in February. The weather was pretty crappy, but it was still beautiful.

Nijmegen

This square is actually one of the first places I saw of Nijmegen online. It was crazy to actually go there in person, and it is a place I pass often when I go shopping in the city center.

 

 

 

 

 

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