Kirsty Johnstone on student life in the Netherlands
Watch out for the bikes, advises Scottish teenager Kirsty Johnstone who would like to see more shopping malls in the Netherlands.
Name: Kirsty Johnstone
City of residence: Arnhem
Date of birth: 19 October 1993
Civil status: Single
Lived in the Netherlands for 4 years
What was your first impression of the Netherlands?
Bikes, pancakes and Hagelslag. The amount of bikes saw in Amsterdam was unbelievable. You didn’t only have to look out for trams, cars and people but bikes too, which zoomed past in any direction.
What do you think of the education system in the Netherlands?
Currently, I do the International Baccalaureate program which is in an international course which is recognised all over the world. It is a bit higher than the Dutch level ‘VWO’ which also seems to be just as demanding as the International Baccalaureate.
What do you think of the night life?
The nightlife in Holland can be great if you know where to go. Since weed is legal in Holland, some of areas aren’t as safe as others but usually you can tell if you are in a ‘dodgy’ area. In Arnhem, the best place to go is to the Korenmarkt, which is full of clubs and bars/cafes. There is even an Irish Pub which attracts mostly the English speaking crowd, so it’s great for international people.
What is the best thing about studying in the Netherlands?
Studying in the Netherlands is great as we get many free periods included in our timetable where we can finish homework, study or just relax before our next class. Back in Scotland, we weren’t allowed to have any free!
What do you find most frustrating about living/studying in the Netherlands?
The most frustrating thing about studying is here is when the teachers don’t understand what I’m saying because of my strong Scottish accent. After a while they get used to it, but it can be irritating.
What puzzles you about the Netherlands and what do you miss since you’ve moved here?
Since I’ve moved to the Netherlands, I miss being able to understand what people are saying to me straight away if they are speaking Dutch. I also miss the variety of food you can get in Scotland and the shops.
If you could change anything about the Netherlands, what would it be?
I think I would create more shopping malls. In the winter, when it is really cold and wet, it isn’t as pleasant to go into town to shop on the shopping streets.
What advice would you give to a student new to the Netherlands?
For a new student in the Netherlands, I would definitely warn them to watch out for bikes when crossing the road as they don’t slow down for you, and also to make sure they try fries with mayonnaise (a typical Dutch snack).
What is the weirdest thing that has happened to you since you came to the Netherlands?
I think the weirdest thing since living in the Netherlands is going on spontaneous day or weekend trips to other cities in Europe like Antwerp and Paris.
As a Student or graduate how do you think you have benefited from living in the Netherlands?
Living in the Netherlands has made me more aware about different cultures and environments. Being part of an international community has helped me to understand different religions and ways of doing things.
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