To arrange before arrival (4) – Preparing yourself
Challenging your own language skills
Don’t be afraid if you don’t know the Dutch language. Most Dutch people, especially in Wageningen, can speak English. However, it’s good to learn some Dutch. Languages are related to cultures and people are always impressed when you can speak their languages. It can be useful for your daily life as well, for example in the local supermarkets, the labels and signs are usually in Dutch. Try saying “hoi” (hello) and “dank je wel” (thank you very much).
International Driving license
If you plan to own a car, or dream of some road trips on holidays while studying abroad, go get the international driving license. You can also apply for the license in the Netherlands, but isn’t it better to be ready when the opportunity comes?
I would say biking is way more important that driving a car when it comes to the Netherlands. Dutch people usually travel by bike. It’s convenient, like an exercise, and costs you nothing. If you never learn cycling before, now it is a perfect time to give it a try.
Learning about your new home
Life is full of surprises, but you don’t need to start your new life from zero. The funny truth about myself is that I didn’t even know where the Netherlands is located on the world map when I first planned to study abroad. After deciding to come here, I visited a book store to buy a Netherlands guide book and learned about this small country bit by bit. This tiny country hides many more interesting things, apart from those windmills and tulips on the postcards. Getting to know the Netherlands about its outstanding geography, changing weather, Dutch cultures, and its long history will give you an idea of your soon-to-be home. More importantly, doing some research on education system, teaching and learning styles will prepare yourself for the upcoming study. When you arrive in the Netherlands, you will then get familiar with the Dutch society in a short time.
Keeping in touch with home
We are lucky to have high technology and the internet to bring people from different parts of the world closer. If you have old-fashioned parents like me, you may want to convince and teach them to use the Facetime or Skype. And if you have a sister who doesn’t go on Facebook like me, you may want to save her post address to send her unexpected postcards from time to time. Backing up your friends’ contacts and phone number is recommended if you plan to change the Sim card to the local one in the Netherlands.
“Be open-minded to whatever that will happen”
Getting ready for the adventure
While it’s so exciting having a chance to study abroad, a part of your heart is worried about going away from home and leaving people you love behind, plus you don’t really know what will happen in the future. This is another big step of your life. Apart from preparing your properties, you should prepare yourself mentally as well.
There are things you used to do and you will definitely miss them when you are away. So go eat your local food. Enjoy your home’s weather. Visit your favorite places. Finish the book you are reading. Learning to cook your traditional dishes. Spend time with your pets. Go to your favorite singer’s concert. Tell your crush you like him. Say goodbye to all your family and friends. Do what you want to do so that you will regret nothing in the future.
Get ready for the new life. Tell yourself to be open-minded to whatever that will happen. Be prepared for the different society and culture shock, and believe in yourself that you can handle it. Be ready to learn, both in and outside the classrooms. There is a reason that you have decided to come to the Netherlands. Now be ready to land on this destination and to find some more reasons to enjoy the life here.