Cheers to cultural shocks

How to enjoy social life in the Netherlands as an international student
Posted by Isabella
From Brazil

Moving to a whole new country, leaving your comfort zone, learning a new language, and attempting to adjust to a new culture: these are the challenges we face as international students, along with many classes, parties, and unforgettable memories.

Coming to the Netherlands was one of the most fantastic (and challenging) experiences I've ever had. Even after two years of living here, I must admit that cultural shocks continue to occur on a regular basis. If you can relate to any of these and are looking for advice on how to navigate this journey, you've come to the perfect place.

Tip #1: Half an hour late is actually too late. While it is common in many cultures to arrive late for dinner and parties, in the Netherlands, 7 p.m. means 7 p.m. It may sound unusual if you, like me, have a social custom of arriving at least 30 minutes later than the scheduled time, but my initial tip is: don't be late to meet your Dutch friends. Try to keep your word regarding the agreed time and understand that the Dutch are not used to delays.

Tip #2: Party like the Dutch! Get into the mood with traditional and well-known music from Dutch culture, and your party will undoubtedly be more exciting. It is rather typical for Dutch music and dances to take place in the middle of the night. Who hasn't danced to "Links Rechts" at a party with someone they just met? It is a must!

Tip #3: Try out new locations. From cafés to parties, the Netherlands has it all. Adapting to a new place may be difficult, especially if you have recently moved there. But don't worry; stepping outside of your comfort zone is something you'll probably never regret. As a result, I encourage you to visit a variety of locations with your friends. Some possibilities include cafés, restaurants, karaoke, clubs, festivals, beaches, and national events. Extra tip: Try to savour all of the Dutch snacks and pastries; they may seem unusual at first, but you will grow to love them with time.

Tip #4: Go around and make friends. You'll be surprised at how many other people are in the same situation! Every year, the country is filled with newly arrived international students beginning their lives in the Netherlands, so don't be scared to interact and share this experience with them. Furthermore, the Dutch are extremely welcoming and will gladly offer you recommendations, advise, or even invite you to a random great party. Regardless of nationality, you will not be alone!

These are just a few suggestions to help you appreciate this orange nation full of tulips and bicycles! Take a look at the usual festivals held throughout the year; the Dutch know how to enjoy holidays, so don't miss any of them! Remember that the choice to move abroad already qualifies you as a brave person. Don't forget to take advantage of all of this and make unforgettable memories with so many friends at your side. I wish you a very gezellige time here!

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