This is the third 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. Assume you call your professor by her first name until otherwise instructed. This is beyond weird for me. I would never, ever assume that my OU prof went by his or her first name. It’s really bizarre to call my professors Paula and Emmeline rather than Dr. Jordao and Dr. Besamusca. The Dutch believe in equality, and this is one of the ways they achieve it.

2. Gaylord College would not exist at Universiteit Utrecht. Gaylord is a really practical, career-oriented college as opposed to a theoretical, grad-school oriented college. Therefore, it has no counterpart at Dutch universities–those are all focused on theory. Instead, Gaylord would be a part of a hogeschool, which is more focused on career preparation. Hogeschools grant degrees, but they aren’t necessarily as prestigious as universiteits. It’s very confusing and weird.

3. Professors set their own finals schedule. I have three weeks of spring break because my professors decided to have their finals during the last week of March rather than in the middle of April, when this term ends. Some of my friends don’t get a spring break at all because of when their professors set their finals. Luckily, we have plenty of school-wide holidays coming up: Good Friday, Easter Monday, Queen’s Day, and two days to commemorate the end of World War II.

4. The Dutch political system is insanely complicated. We’ve been studying it in my Dutch Present-day Society class, and we even took a trip to see an issue being debated in Parliament, but I still don’t completely understand the system! There are so many political parties and so many elections that I can hardly keep them all straight. I think this is a consequence of being in the EU, though–there are local politics, national politics, and EU politics. So much is happening, especially in comparison to our boring primary season!

5. Dutch people are very direct. Very, very direct. They are very nice, sweet, and helpful, but they always say exactly what they’re thinking. One day, I went to my 9 a.m. without makeup on, and my professor asked me in front of the entire class if I was sick. I guess I wasn’t looking so great! I actually really like this about the Dutch, though. You always know exactly where you stand!


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