5 Perks of being an Indonesian Student in the Netherlands

The Netherlands has been having a unique relationship with Indonesia since long time ago. Now you might wonder what is it that makes being an Indonesian student in the Netherlands awesome? In this post, I will unfold each of the reasons why. So, stay-tuned!

Posted by Angel Tania at May 31, 2017 01:05 PM
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For those of you who are about to graduate (or even have just graduated) from SMA (Sekolah Menengah Atas - Indonesian higher education level), or even just finished your bachelor or post-graduate degree, you gotta make a big decision in your life right now; to which university are you going to apply to? Are you going to stay in Indonesia? Do you wish to work first or do you want to continue a further study? Will you take a gap year first? Or are you ready to spread your wings and embark on a journey to another country? If you are eyeing on the studying abroad path, you might want to include the Netherlands as one of your options. Here's why...

1. Safety and Language Barrier

The 2016 Global Peace Index includes the Netherlands as one of the top 25 safest countries in the world. Even some of the prisons are closed in these past years due to the very low number of criminal activity. I'm not saying that this country is as peaceful as some fairy tale land above the clouds with pots of gold hidden by leprechauns, but the worst thing that might happen to you is to have your bicycle being stolen (which of course, can be prevented by using extra safe locks). I, being a reckless teenager, accidentally left my wallet in a restaurant once. 3 hours and several panic attack later, a kind woman called me to return my wallet. She literally searched for my student card inside the wallet and called my school to get my phone number to return my lost wallet. What an effort, right? Well, it is not always the case, but that generally says something about the safe environment in this country.

Regarding the language, fear not if you speak zero Dutch. The Dutch people can all speak fluent English, even at a food kiosk in a small city. That honestly helped me a lot to adapt the first time I arrived in this country. To find out more about the Dutch people and what are they like, you can check out my previous post.

2. PPI BELANDA (Association of Indonesian Student in the Netherlands)

While aiming to be as culturally diverse as possible, sometimes you might need a tad of help when you're homesick, or simply when adjusting to the new foreign land. PPI Belanda is a well-established Indonesian student association in Holland that provides many activities and ready to help you in the Netherlands. This organization has branches in almost all cities in the Netherlands, which is called PPI KOTA (PPI Amsterdam, PPI Den Haag, PPI Arnhem and so forth). I joined PPI Belanda for 2 years before, and it was one of the ways that helped me feel comfortable being in the Netherlands and dare to say that this country is my home away from home.

PPI Belanda 2015-2016

Sausan Atika Maesara, the public relation officer of PPI BELANDA '17 said, "don't worry that you might get lost or unfamiliar upon your arrival in the Netherlands because PPI BELANDA and PPI KOTA always arrange the pick-up and welcoming event for the new students in Holland. This is one of the perks that you can benefit from being a student here since the Netherlands is one of the countries with most Indonesian students."

Curious about this organization? Check out PPI BELANDA's activities and achievements so far!

3. Dutch Hospitality

What I mean by hospitality is not simply because of Dutch people, in general, are cordial. What I mean is how easy you can find pieces of Indonesia in this country. You can find kroepoek in the supermarket aisle, sambal in many Asian restaurants, saté ayam in campus' cafeteria on a certain day, and once you said you come from Indonesia they will respond pretty much like, "oh! Really? I've visited Borobudur and surfed in Bali before. You are so lucky!" And there you go, a good way to start a conversation.

4. Indo's Spices and Special Cooking Ingredients

Being a college student means carefully managing your own money. One of the ways of doing that is to cook by yourself and avoid eating outside every day. I'm not saying that you should eat less, or stay at home all the time. Wrong. I am a big fan of finding delicious meal outside myself. What I'm trying to say is, cooking your own meal at home often can save a lot of money. Not to mention, when you're homesick, isn't eating comfort food is one of the solutions to cheer you up?

Indonesian food is well-known for its rich flavor and various spices. After all, that was the reason why the Dutch came to our country hundreds of years ago, wasn't it? Well, you will be surprised at how easy it is to find Indonesian spices such as Kemiri, Ketoembar, Sereh, etc in Asian supermarkets. Below is the picture of my very own homemade Ayam Balado, all from scratch.

5. Indonesian Food Everywhere

Now for those of you who aren't a big fan of cooking by yourself, worry not. There is literally so many Indo foods everywhere (restaurants and takeaway places). In my city, Arnhem, there are at least 5 Indonesian restaurants to please your taste-bud. Also, the famous Indonesian treat for the Dutchies is the Indonesische rijstafel (mini buffets of various Indonesian meals, arranged like a mini buffet and served with white rice). Check out some of them below:

After 4 years living, studying, blending-in, working and enjoying Holland, I hope this insight can enrich you with an insider's view. This is my personal experience, being an Indonesian here, and I would love to hear more from those of you who have been living here as well! Leave a comment down below to share your story, and let me know if you are still curious about it!

Posted by Angel Tania at May 31, 2017 01:05 PM
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Susi says:
May 31, 2017 11:01 PM
What is Angel told about NL its true...been there last year for the first time and found everything easily. By using reisplanner,I can go anywhere by myself. Arnhem its a beutiful and quite place, simillar with zuthpen and nijmegen. For me, will do visit NL soon as possible to explore another part of NL.
Farzaneh Hamidi says:
Jul 01, 2017 02:01 PM
Hey Angel thank u 4 the post... listen if u read my comment would u email me??? I'm from Iran and I would love to study in the Netherlands... so may be u could give me more specific info about the living costs.. I'll appreciate it.
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