The Dutch and planning - a Russian perspective

It's about this time of the year to spend hours in book shops to buy a perfect annual agenda for the upcoming year. At least in the Netherlands, there will be a bunch of people congregating in front of freshly printed 'Agenda' sections available in all colors, shapes, and sizes. The struggle is real!

Posted by Maria Noyarovich at Jan 13, 2020 12:05 PM

If you are a tech-savvy kid, then please download all those digital apps for planning and use them as your handbook for any life occasions starting with the daily routine and  family birthday reminders.

Believe me, all these seem-to-be-unnecessary apps and websites would benefit your future life as an expat in the Netherlands. I’m talking from my own experience of studying and working in the Netherlands. The success and your wellbeing for the whole upcoming year are at stake. No mistakes are allowed here.


Dutch reality

How on Earth do you get a hang of planning and arranging things as a true Dutchie? Is it a gene that could be associated with organizing your life like a pro? Are Dutch people born with it or do they develop this skill throughout the years. Let me shed some light on this mysterious topic.

As soon as I survived through the intro-week as a freshman, my real student life began. I felt it with my guts that the business got serious when we were introduced to The Cluster Manual (aka 'The Student Holy Bible') and the first deadline was scheduled just after a week once we started the program! You might say, it's tough and inhumane? It's Dutch reality, you should better get used to it.

Meet the requirements, don't forget about the pre-conditions and, god forbid to submit a paper just a minute after the due date of your assignment. Blame it on yourself and set all the possible reminders next time. Everyone is equal facing those rules that are set up by your university and they are made not to be broken as it happens quite often in Russia.

Plan ahead

Well, you can still continue living a 'YOLO' way of studying, but believe me my friend, you go down a slippery slope of '100,500 assignment re-takes'. It starts with useless attempts to finish an assignment in agony just the night before the deadline. There is a high chance to miss that important pre-condition typed in the smallest letters, cause you didn't have enough time apart from completing an assignment.

Voilà, welcome to the club of 'long-tailed' students, who still need to submit assignments in case they wish to graduate on time and get their diploma. Luckily, I cracked the nut pretty fast and set up my own deadlines for assignments just to have some extra time to double check the work before hitting a submit button.

If you happen to have some free time during the weekdays or the weekend, don't tempt fate and proposing your Dutch friend to join you for an extra activity you have in mind. They already have the whole upcoming month planned if not longer, so please don't be disappointed to hear a brutally honest answer from a Dutchie: "Sorry, no time for you any time soon. Perhaps, there will be a gap if someone drops out. I'll let you know." God forbid reminding them about this occasion. Better plan ahead next time, you shallow ex-pat. No pressure at all, hé?

Time management course

Daily planning is an essential part of any Dutchie and they tend to bring it anywhere they go and whatever they do. Life in the Netherlands is a time management course that is not identified in your curriculum, yet it is a step you can't avoid if you wish to complete successfully the Inburgeringscursus.

Good news for spontaneous kind of people. It's allowed to keep that crazy and wild part of you. You won't go nuts if at least once a month you let go of all your Dutch-like adopted planning habits and pay an unexpected visit to that fellow expat friend of yours. Dive into it and leave the agenda at home. Be yourself, even in the Netherlands.


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Maria Noyarovich is 27 years old and she studied at Saxion University of Applied Sciences. She graduated in 2017 with a Bachelor's degree in Art & Technology.

She did use her orientation year to get some work experience in the Netherlands. This experience was quite useful and helped Maria to find a relevant job in the field of Content and Social Media management in Saint-Petersburg where she currently resides.

Posted by Maria Noyarovich at Jan 13, 2020 12:05 PM