This is the second post in a series that will highlight things I’m learning as I go. From the mundane everything to the panic-stricken moments, here’s what I (now) know:

1. Bedbugs are not a big deal here. Someone in my apartment building has bedbugs. She is pretty unconcerned about it, as are my landlords and fellow international students. Only the Americans are completely panicking. I had no idea bedbugs weren’t a dramatic thing around the world!

2. American cheese is called “cheddar” cheese. Cheddar cheese as we know it does not exist here, but American cheese does. Those prepackaged slices that are perfect for grilled cheese are called cheddar cheese here, and are pretty well scoffed at. I love gouda and edam, but they just do not melt well.

3. Statiegeld is the best ever. When you buy bottles of soda here, you are charged fifty cents or so as statiegeld. After you finish your drink, you take it back to the store to be recycled, and you get a coupon for fifty cents off your purchase. I know it’s not really getting money back because it’s money I paid in the first place, but it still feels cool to be rewarded for recycling.

4. Travel can be cheap here–but not how you might expect. Before I came here, a lot of people talked about how affordable plane tickets are and how wonderful the trains are. I guess both are cheap compared to what we pay in the US, but taking buses in Europe is even cheaper. I can take a bus from Utrecht to Germany for 14 euro round trip, and I bought last-minute bus tickets to Brussels round trip for 33 euro. If you eat food from supermarkets instead of eating out while you’re away, you’ll save even more money!

5. Professors decide when to end class. At OU, everyone has the same spring break, and everyone’s finals are the same week. Here, my professors decide when they want class to end and when they want to give finals. My professors this term decided to end class two weeks early, so I have no class from March 30 to April 25. How wild is that?


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