Life In A New Country
Scenario 1 : Imagine waking up one day in a completely new country about which you know nothing about! You don’t know where things are, what to do or where to go. You are an utter stranger. :O This is how some nightmares begin.
Scenario 2 : Now imagine; A new country, new people, from all over the world. No one knows you and you can be whoever you want. You can change and no one will judge. It actually is the start to something new.
Coming back to the scenarios, I chose the latter. Excitement to live alone, learning, making new friends moreover just seeing if I am capable of being an actual adult ? and because there are two sides to a coin, where there are amazing highs there are also lows.
WHAT I LEARNT:
1. Being financially independent: Trust me when I say it is easier to spend money without giving it a second thought when you live close to home. Making ends meet is a real task and the currency exchange rate does not exactly help the situation.
- What you can do is make a budget for each month and keep track of how much you spend.
- TIKKIE is a very useful app to have on hand when splitting the bills with others.
- If you stay in a student housing which is eligible for rent subsidy, Housing Desk – Wageningen helps students apply for the same. Though you can do it yourself (I did :P), most documents and instructions are in Dutch which can make the process a little longer than anticipated. Click on the links below for information on student housings.
- For international students, the university offers a GWK Travelex card with the living expenses for the initial months which can be collected at Schiphol or other locations. This is very handy for the initial expenses you may have after coming here and the SSC will contact you in due time to apply for this. To know more about the cash passport, check out the link below.
2. Adapting to a new culture: Irrespective of which country you go to, there will be differences which you have to adjust to. Being flexible and open minded makes this transition much easier.
- Dutch people are very disciplined and are extremely efficient with their time management. Keeping an agenda or even updating the calendar on your phone is a great trick once you come here.
- Biking is the quickest and the most frequently used means of travel in the Netherlands. This makes buying a bike (new or second hand) right at the top of your priority list.
- Occasions like birthdays, festivals like Sinterklaas are all celebrated uniquely here. Ask your new Dutch friends about their favorite Sinterklaas or Easter treat to munch on. My personal preference are the chocolate letters and Easter eggs which come in a million wonderful flavors.
- Joining in on King’s Day boat tours or carnivals is great fun. Do not miss out on these opportunities.
King’s Day celebrations
3. Coping with the weather: This was the harshest change of all. Going from 45 °C to 10 °C is horrible. Winter in India is summer here :D. Taking a jacket everywhere I go is something that took quite some getting used to.
- Always keep a rain coat on hand. More importantly, invest in a pair of rain pants. It will save you a number of days in a spoilt mood after getting soaked.
- If you come from a warm country, only bring a light jacket from back home. It is always wise to buy winter clothes and jackets from the place you move to. Not to forget the advantage of reducing the weight of your travel baggage 😀
- Download weather apps on your phone to keep track of how the weather changes through the day. Being prepared is always half the battle! Buienalarm and Buienradar are some of the many options available.
4. Scheduling a million Skype calls: You kind of make a crazy number of friends when living in one place for 20 years. Of course not to forget my large family :D. The result – endless Skype plans.
5. Time zone issues: I made so many plans to keep in touch with family and friends all over the world, but realized its not as simple when the times are different.
Honestly, I am still working on the last two points :D. So, if you have tips on how it can be tackled, comment below!
Taking the decision to leave behind everything you know to start afresh is a tough one but it is totally worth it. I will never regret choosing this experience which truly has been one of a kind 😀