It’s been about 3 weeks now since I’ve arrived in the Netherlands and I’m ashamed to say that I have yet to make a conscious effort to try and speak the language. I’ve learned the most common words in any language; “Ja”, “nei”, “dank u wel” and sometimes I think I would be able to understand if I were being insulted? It’s really hard to be motivated sometimes when most Dutch people speak English really well, but I hope that I can learn a couple of phrases so I don’t come off as being completely ignorant and stubborn.
Other than the language, I am beginning to adapt to the lifestyle quite well and hope to make some things permanent even when going back to the states. The bike culture here is AMAZING and it’s a shame how few countries there are that embrace bikes and more friendly transportation more so than cars. Regardless if its business people, teens, students, senior citizens.. EVERYone bikes and doesn’t really see it as exercise but just as a quick, cheap way to get around. Its become customary for me now to bike into town with everyone for the night and easily find my way back at 4 am. Biking late at night/ really early in the morning is definitely the best time because the streets are completely empty and you can really see a different side of the city. Last weekend I was able to ride my bike to Haarlem which is about 50 km there and back. It was a surprisingly easy adventure, mostly because t the route signs and bike paths here are SO well maintained. Haarlem is a really beautiful city right on the coast. Here’s some pictures from the ride.
Buying food here in Amsterdam is a lot less expensive than I expected it to be, however the drink prices are sometimes a bit ridiculous. I guess its to be expected because it is a big city, luckily us thrifty students have found a way around that ;). The traditional Dutch food tends to be heavy or fried because the weather here can be quite cold/wet/miserable. Haven’t seen that side of the climate here yet, but everyone is definitely enjoying every sunny day there is.
Classes started this week and it’s a big difference compared to school back in the states. Here, each semester is broken up into 3 periods going from Sept. to the end of Jan. The 1st & 2nd period I’m taking 2 classes each then only 1 for the last period. We have exams at the end of every period and a couple of scattered assignments throughout the period. The lectures aren’t mandatory which is nice for when I need an extended weekend to travel 🙂
Speaking of travel… I have some exciting trips planned for sept/oct.! Sept.21-24th I’ll be in Germany for some sightseeing and beer drinking at OKTOBERFEST! The last weekend in Sept. I’m flying to Scotland to go sea kayaking which I am beyond stoked about. In October I hope to go to Spain for a week or so to maybe see some friends studying there and tour around the beautiful northern part of the country. I’m looking forward to seeing familiar faces while traveling around and seeing friends from other countries I haven’t seen in a long time.
Although I’ve been in Amsterdam for a little while I haven’t yet gone to the museums and typical tourist spots. I’m really looking forward to going to the museums and culture centers once all of the tourists are gone in October and November. I’ve been able to really get to the know the other quirky and unique parts of the city whether it was intentional or just getting completely lost. Chris and I have been to two different climbing places! Both really cool, but unfortunately a little far away. This climbing places is right by central station right on the river, really cool atmosphere…
I’ve been pretty lazy about taking pictures since everyone around me has been good about bringing a camera, hopefully I’ll have more in the next post.
Thanks for reading