Gonçalo Baptista Moreira da Silva on student life in the Netherlands
Gonçalo Baptista Moreira da Silva finds the Dutch education system 'a major headache' for foreign students but he has made friends with people from all over the world.
Name: Gonçalo Baptista Moreira da Silva
City of residence: Schiedam (Netherlands)
Date of birth: 22 July 1986
Civil status: Single
Occupation: Full time student, part-time waiter
Lived in the Netherlands: Since August 2004
What was your first impression of the Netherlands?
It is hard to remember, but the bikes definitely made an impression. First, because I kept walking on the bike path and second 'cause I kept getting junkies ‘offering’ bikes to me!
What do you think of the education system in the Netherlands?
I think the system is good if you are Dutch or here on Erasmus. For foreign, full-time students it is a major headache.
What do you think of the night life?
It starts too soon, it ends too soon and it is too damn expensive. However, if you are into partying at friends’ places, the potential is great.
What is the best thing about studying in the Netherlands?
It’s a great opportunity and you get advantages such as Student finance and the OV card.
What do you find most frustrating about living/studying in the Netherlands?
All the paper work and the constant check-ups from city hall (on your income, living situation, etc)
What puzzles you about the Netherlands and what do you miss since you’ve moved here?
Nothing really puzzles me about the Netherlands and even if it is a cliché, what I miss the most is the sun and the nice, stable weather.
If you could change anything about the Netherlands, what would it be?
Dutch hypocrisy; the fact that they tolerate a lot but accept almost nothing.
What advice would you give to a student new to the Netherlands?
Before you arrive, make sure you have an affordable place to stay. When you are here, keep your paperwork well-organised. Dutch institutions can ask for papers dating back to up to two years.
What is the weirdest thing that has happened to you since you came to the Netherlands?
Going to swim in the Hofplein fountain (sober) when Spain won the Euro football cup.
As a student or graduate how do you think you have benefitted from living in the Netherlands?
Aside from a huge personal development and growth that comes from living abroad, it looks great on my CV.
On a more personal and close-to the-heart note, living in the Netherlands has brought me in touch with people from all over the globe. Such encounters and friendships have largely enriched my life.
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