By Pepijn Vink
This year’s halfie group (only 23!) consists mostly of international students. With introweek being far behind, most of them have settled in. However, in a weird country like the Netherlands, crazy stuff is bound to happen. Every international student probably has a story from when they first arrived here, and every Dutch student has laughed at some of these stories. I interviewed a few new international students, and asked them about the weirdest thing they’ve experienced since coming to this country.
One girl was a bit shocked about how much Dutch people swear. “We were in Research in Context, and let’s say that someone said a word that I’m not gonna repeat, and it really shocked me”. She was also surprised by the general openness of people here, for example during the introweek ‘sex talk’, where people shared ‘explicit information’ on sexuality, usually during drinking games.
“We were playing never have I ever with our family and people had all these extreme experiences with sex and drugs, while mine was an innocent ‘never have I ever pulled an all-nighter’. I did win though. The openness made me feel kind of awkward, because I’m not used to it, coming from a more conservative environment where sex is a taboo and where cursing in school was frowned upon. It doesn’t bother me that much though, it’s mostly something that I just have to get used to.”
Most relatable are probably stories of students trying to ride a bike in the city living through countless near death experiences. I’ve seen most of my introweek siblings struggle with not getting hit by cars. One story is that of Joanna, a degree student from Kenya. On the second day of introweek, she and her friend were biking to town, when she “almost killed someone”:
“I turned, and I suddenly heard bells ringing. Apparently, I was on the wrong side of the road. They gave me the ‘what the fuck?’ look, but then they saw I was black, and probably a foreigner, so they stopped staring at me.”
Dutch students probably laugh at some of the stories foreigners have about their experience in the Netherlands, but let’s be honest, Dutchies would have similar stories if they moved to an ‘exotic’ country. I think that nobody can go through college without having weird stories to tell, especially if you’re an international student. What fun would it be if nothing happened when you’re abroad?