It’s funny what people miss when they live abroad isn’t it? These are my comments on a student’s blog about his culture shock experience while studying in the Netherlands. He’s obviously given it a lot of thought and it’s interesting to read what he picks up on.
There are a couple of things that aren’t quite right in his post, though. Breakfast is definitely not all sweet in the Netherlands. You probably won’t get bacon and eggs, but most people eat sandwiches with cheese and/or ham for breakfast and if you’re lucky enough to eat in a hotel, they often have boiled eggs, too, as well as currant buns and the fabled chocolate sprinkles. I definitely understand the free bathroom dilemma; I guess you’re supposed to go and have a coffee somewhere if you need the bathroom. Free water: living in Nijmegen, you have the advantage that free water is available from a bottle-filling tap at the top of the steps by the Lindenburg and elsewhere (but I don’t know where). Many restaurants aren’t keen to give you free water, though, and refills are definitely not a thing like they are in America. I don’t think they are anywhere in Europe, but it is really rather a strange idea for a business to give away the thing they’re selling for free, just because you want more of it! On the other hand, I do object to not being given free ketchup. Consistency is overrated!
The dryer thing is just being a student, I think. I have a dryer at home. American women usually complain about how long European washing machines take to do a load of washing. Cash: Nowadays you can pay perfectly well in most places with a direct debit PIN card. When we first came to the Netherlands 30 years ago, we had to pay cash for our first car (10,000 Guilders, about 5,000 euros)! Before PIN cards, you had to pay cash or cheque at the supermarket, but I don’t think cheques even exist here any more. On the plus side, you can hardly ever pay by credit card, but there’s also hardly any credit card debt! Same thing with 24/7 convenience stores; I’m glad we don’t have the 24/7 mentality, because then my teenage son would be able to buy rubbish at all hours of the day and night. 😉 As for the shops shutting at 5, I agree that’s really annoying, but luckily the cafés and restaurants are open. Unless it’s Monday, when you might be out of luck!
Anyway, click through to read the original post below. Sergio’s blog is well worth reading.
It’s been a little bit over a month since I left my home to have the best time of my life here in Europe. I have traveled all around, made some amazing memories, made plenty of new friends, and wasted a LOT of money. In the beginning, four months seemed to be a short amount of time away from home and the things that I’m used to having, that I didn’t think I’d miss it. Sadly, I was wrong. There are things that I’m still not used to not having here, but I’m still trying to adapt. Here are the 16 things that I miss the most from back home:
Customer service: I’ve had to completely lower my expectations when it comes to service in this country, and in Europe in general. Especially when it comes to restaurants, service is very bad. Is it really too much for you to…
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