Things People Said to me When They Know I am a Student in the Netherlands

"Must be cool living in Amsterdam, right?", "do you drink milk every day?", "Isn't it hard, studying something in Dutch?". Those are the questions I often got from many people when they found out that I am a student in the Netherlands. But are those stereotypes true or not? Let's find out!

Posted by at Apr 18, 2017 11:45 PM

No, studying in the Netherlands does not equal to studying in Amsterdam (only). There are many top global institutions spread all over the country such as TU Delft that is famous for its engineering programs, Erasmus University Rotterdam for its business majors, and why not choose to study law in The Hague, the legal capital of the world and home to the international court of justice?

Here are the top 5 stereotyping questions people often ask me when they figure out I'm a student in the Netherlands:

1. "Oh! The weather must be horrible, isn't it?"

Does the picture above seem like the weather was bad? No! It was a beautiful charming day in Amsterdam. Well, it is true that most people who stay in the lowland for a long time complain about the weather most of the time. But hey! To be fair, compared to our fellas living in the upper countries, we have better weather at times! Right now, spring has sprung in the Netherlands and the beautiful Keukenhof garden with more than 5 million tulip bulbs has opened!

2. "Your Deutsch must be so good!"

No, people in the Netherlands do not speak Deutsch. They speak Dutch, and the German fellas are the ones who speak Deutsch. And no, speaking Dutch is not compulsory in daily life! You can survive buying some pancake or fries on the street with zero Dutch ability. Moreover, from the academic point of view, there are tons of programs ranging from science to art that are being taught in full-English. Want to find a job during your study? Let it be internship, part-time or graduation intern position, it is possible to get one (or more!) even when you don't speak Dutch at all! There is also no discrimination even though you cannot speak their language. Everyone is considered equal and have the same chance to land a job position in Holland.

3. "Oh, you are a student in the Netherlands? How is it like living in Amsterdam?"

Even though the Netherlands is a small country, it does not mean that the whole country is called ‘Amsterdam’. There are also several big and well-known cities like Rotterdam, The Hague and Leiden. If you are not a big fan of big cities, this country also has many small cities with excellent universities that offer great programs such as Radboud University in Nijmegen, Tu/e in Eindhoven, and much more!

4. "Netherlands is quite small as a country, aren’t you bored living there?"

The answer is no! In fact, the geographical size brings so many benefits for those of you who like to travel! It is so convenient to go to all cities in the Netherlands in a day. Which means that wherever you study in Holland, when you have to fly back home from Schiphol Airport, you don't need to stay for a night in another city. This also means that from certain cities, Germany or Belgium is only 20 minutes drive away. Want to fly cheaply to other European countries? We have 3 airports at least that facilitate the budget airlines.

5. "Do you (or your friends) smoke weed every day?"

This question can be both you or your parents' concern. Especially for those of you who has Eastern culture background. Don't get me wrong, but if yes, I totally understand you (or your parents), since I was born and raised in Indonesia. Some people label the Netherlands or Amsterdam in particular as the Gomorrah of the modern world. For this statement, I dare to say that it's wrong. Even John Green, a famous writer once said, "some tourists think Amsterdam is a city of sin. But in truth, it is a city of freedom. And in freedom, most people find sin."
I might go on and on about this issue, and just like a coin that has two sides, this topic also has the pro and con sides. Both are good. The most important thing is, the Netherlands appreciates you and welcomes you with the freedom. Freedom to choose what you want to do. Freedom to speak up your mind. Freedom to be whoever you are. And the most important thing is the freedom to be loved for whoever you are. 
Posted by at Apr 18, 2017 11:45 PM