Every month we will introduce a new international student to you! We will try to speak with as many people from different countries as possible. This time we spoke with the (half Dutch) Jessica from Edmonton Alberta, Canada. She is 25 years old and she will stay here for the whole year to do her master in Intercultural Communication.
Best experience in Utrecht
I love cycling and especially how the people in Utrecht cycle. I see people doing stuff on bicycles that I have never seen before. Yesterday I cycled past a guy who was biking with a cigarette in one hand and texting with the other! It was so cool. I can also bike with no hands, but only on straight roads. I have Dutch blood, you know. Other things I saw were moms with kids all on one bike in the weirdest positions. I also saw a guy cycling while he was dragging a giant suitcase behind him, probably going to the airport. For me it’s hilarious to see all the different cyclists.
What I also love about living here is that I get to learn about my roots and spend time with my Dutch family. I have lived in Canada my whole life, so I only got to see them once or twice every two years. This weekend I could be present on the birthday of my Dutch uncle and see the whole family. They were all like ‘Whaaa you’re finally here!’ It was so nice. I can’t speak Dutch even though my father is from Holland, because my parents already raised us bilingual with English and French. But my Dutch family tries to talk to me in Dutch and see if I can pick up on it, haha.
Biggest differences compared to my own country
I think the Dutch people have a better sense of style. They are so effortlessly chic. Where I am from we are not so fashionable. We are used to walk around town in yoga pants and sweaters, here it would feel wrong. Now I need to wear real pants, haha! How I look here is comparable with how I look in Canada on a special occasion, with make-up on and dressed up.
Another big difference is the big touching and kissing here. In Canada you give family members a hug when you see them, but to friends you just say: ‘heeey’. Here I always need to remember, move in for a kiss and don’t freak out. The three kisses is an awkward exchange with me.
Message to Dutch people
You guys need to work on more cheese-fondue restaurants and more hip-hop music in clubs! I would also love to socialise more with people from my University. It’s hard to make contact with Dutch people in my classes.
But I need to say that I really love the culture of the Netherlands. People seem to enjoy life more here. You always see people around café’s and terraces. You guys don’t take life as seriously as Canadians. We are more about work, work, work. Here people appreciate their time and make good use of it.