My Days in Netherlands – Evita Dewi (3rd year IBA)
My one year in the Netherlands so far has been the highlight of my life in 21 years, and I cannot believe it is time to go home. I remember coming here full of excitement, not knowing what’s to expect and what was yet to come. Being born and raised in Bali, this is surely a very exciting journey for me to be able to live in a new environment away from home.
Of course, I got homesick once in a while. When you grow up with the convenience and ease of having a personal transportation and having your parents to cook for you every day and suddenly your world changes, surely was hard for me at the beginning. But Netherlands has so much to offer.
I have to cook my own meal, but cooking brings me and my friends together. During our spare time, we all get together and cook our special regional dishes for one another. It is very easy to find Indonesian ingredients in here so the choice of dishes is really unlimited, as long as you know how to make it.
I cannot remember how many “ayam sambal matah” (Spicy chicken) have I made for my friends but it is the togetherness that matters. The group ticket system in the Netherlands helps you get cheaper train tickets, if you travel in groups of more than seven people, so we often travel in groups to different cities and it is always fun to have your friends around while travelling.
Travelling solo is good fun too its then you need to get a day card/pass from some supermarkets and its super convenient and safe. There is always so many events that happens across the Netherlands, from a cultural event to a music festival. My most memorable event was during the Kingsday. The roads are packed with the orange army, everyone was out partying and having fun. I went to a festival with my friends and had the time of my life!
For Indonesians like me, the embassy always opened their doors during Indonesian holiday such as Galungan, Kuningan, Idul Adha and invited us to celebrate it together. I met plenty of new people during our Kuningan celebrations and finally was able to enjoy Balinese food that I missed so dearly. Meeting new people also opened the opportunity for me to visit them in different parts of Netherlands and see what the locals do.
Leeuwarden alone is a very vibrant city, especially knowing that it is the capital culture of Europe, it has plenty of events in store. It also has a Friday market and a Saturday market every week. I often go there to get a bucket of fried fish and fries and trust me you will not be able to stop eating them!
During our first module in the Netherlands, my IBA classmates and I learned how to speak basic Dutch after school. I was a bit surprised that some of the words are also used in Bahasa Indonesia. It was quite fun to learn a new language with new people and sometimes we get to practice it when we shop.
You do not really have to worry about language because most of them speak English, but since I am in a new country with a foreign language, I want to learn a little bit about it.
Speaking about the weather, you probably already know that the temperature in the Netherlands is quite chilly most of the time. Do not worry about it, you just have to layer it up. But wait until you experience the summer in the Netherlands. When the temperature go up to around 20 degrees, me and my friends would go out to the park and do a barbecue by the river.
The parks and the roads will be packed, students will hang out there after school to soak in the heat and Leeuwarden is full of music and laughter. It was at times like this when I really appreciate the all year sun in Bali and vowed to always embrace it when possible.
There are plenty of great memories and lessons from my days in the Netherlands I wish I could tell you that really shaped me for who I am today. My advice for those who are going to the Netherlands is, embrace it and never stop exploring.