Halo from the Netherlands!
So we finally went to school on Wednesday and Thursday for our orientation, and lets just say the Dutch really don’t like to be organized or clear on instructions. So we show up to our first day and find the classroom with 7 minutes to spare (yes!), so we sit outside waiting for potential friends to come join us.
Finally! We see friends coming our way! 2 girls and 1 guy! I feel like I’m 10 again. Many of you might know my family moved as if we were a military family, even though we are far from it. So every couple years, I would walk into a brand new elementary school, ecstatic to make new friends. So here I am, in another country, in college, acting how I did when I was 10.
Our first 3 friends were from Latvia (to be honest, I didn’t know where that was on a map). So we pursue conversation, because the Latvians (Martin especially) loved to speak English. No teacher shows up, but 5 more IBMS French students show up wondering where orientation is as well.
Long story short, we finally found where we were supposed to be. Apparently they changed the room number, but didn’t bother telling any of us. We caught up to the group and continued on the tour of the school. No gyms here, only intense staircases.
We finally meet up with the entire group of IBMS exchange students, there has got to be maybe 50 of us? There are 4 Americans, us two and Sam from Kentucky, and this other girl from Idaho. Everyone else is from literally ALL over the world. A few places that stuck out were Columbia, Ecuador, Peru and Latvia and of course all over Europe.
After a 5 and a half hour tour (ok it was really only 45 minutes), we headed to the Noodle bar. We were so relieved to be sitting down in a warm restaurant, and our two free drinks coming our way. Everyone at the table got beer, and it was much needed after a long day of walking in the cold. The restaurant was delicious even though they served 5 types of meat, one plate of noodles, and one plate of veggies. MEAT GALORE!
We sat next to our American friend Sam, two lovely French ladies, and a German guy. We had fabulous conversation about how home is different for us all, what adventures we are seeking while we are in the Hague, and what brought us to study in the Netherlands! I punched myself for not getting a picture of our table.
We got home after that insane day and passed out in our twin beds, listening to random beeping sounds and a kid beginning his rap profession right outside our window (how lucky are we?)
Thursday was a whole new day, with twice the chaos. We woke up at 8 am to leave a bit early before school in search of a mousetrap. We went to our local Kruidvat (spelling?) and asked if they sold such a thing. She directed me towards a box, with poison in it. Nothing like the wood with a spring and cheese on it, like the ones us Americans have. As long as it kills the mouse then it will work, especially for 3 euro. We bought it, set it, and headed to our second day of orientation.
On our 20-minute trek to school we experienced some rain, then some hail, and potentially some snow. But like Colorado, it all stopped by the time we got there. So this time the ginormous group of exchange students herded to the closest tram station, where we flooded the tram full of people headed to work (poor locals). The tram conveniently dropped us off right next to the peace palace. The building is beautiful.
It is the International Court of Justice, so me being a weird person who wants to become a lawyer and loves court rooms, I was stoked to go inside! Well we quickly learned there are only 2 days out of 365 that they let tourists inside the actual building! So instead we were stuck in the museum next door, listening with headphones to a robot tell us about history.
Lunch was delicious with some soup, who knows what it was, and then we got this really yummy pasta. This time we sat next to a guy from Latvia, a guy from Canada, and a girl from Ecuador, and of course our American friend Sam. The conversation between cultures was once again an awesome experience.
After our tummies were full, we headed back to the school to finally get to the important stuff, our schedules. During the introduction presentation, I was in a food coma and struggled to keep my eyes open. All I wanted was 5 minutes of sleep, but of course that didn’t happen. They shuffled us to a computer room and we started the journey of scheduling our classes.
We were both completely lost and kept looking at each other like “Oh my god, what have we gotten ourselves into?” Luckily a nice Dutch student, Peter, sat down with me and walked me through it. Man was it confusing! The Dutch do things very disorganized and not constructed one bit. Very different than CSU! After 3 long, treacherous hours we left still a little confused about our schedules but ready to leave and rest up for the party at Havana that the school put together for the exchange students.
Havana was a blast, and we got to see all the people we met throughout orientation in a more relaxed atmosphere. In the Netherlands (or Europe in general), they see drinking as such a social thing, so the school sets up locations and times for us to get together and have some beer! It’s awesome!
Ta da! So overall, time is flying by and before I know it I will be on an airplane home with only pictures and memories. So we are enjoying every minute of every day of this once in a lifetime adventure!
Maddie is a sophomore studying business administration at CSU, and Sarah is a sophomore studying communication at CSU. Both are attending The Hague University of Applied Sciences in The Hague, Netherlands for the spring 2013 term.