A mixed week!

Really gone and surprised myself by writing another blog, only after a week since the last one!  But I think procrastination has been the major driving force behind this one :p

So what has happened this week? Well it’s been slightly mixed for many reasons. The weekend started off well with the visits of two Sheffield girls to Nijmegen, it was nice to see some familiar faces and have a good catch up with them. We took them to the ‘so-called’ ERASMUS white party- but I was slightly disappointed by the lack of white clothing, pretty sure I was the most white-dressed there! However, it was a nice change to take the bus to town rather than cycling  and by the end of the night I think I appreciated that decision with the fact that we made the most of the 2 for 1 drinks :p ( yes I don’t think it would have been a safe option to cycle back). And we won’t talk about how I felt the next day either!

SO moving on, the beginning of the working week began yet again with some revision. I had one exam this week which was for my Dutch Culture module. The exam was also very mixed, I was unsure about the set up of the whole thing as it was my first exam here. I was kind of annoyed at the questions because they missed out one of the topics and put in a question about something which was covered in the intro lecture. Nobody thought that would be the case. So pretty sure that question went terribly bad- but hey its only one question and I guess and there isn’t a lot I can do about it really! I still have two more exams next week- one of which I may as well not turn up to. This is my Dutch literature module which I have to write all in Dutch and about their literature (stating the obvious I know!!). But I am stressing out way too much as I know its way above my  level and I can’t face going into an exam which I have no clue about- this has never happened. But there is a first time for everything and I will have to face the music I guess. The other exam should be fine as it is a translation exam from Dutch to English where we get access to online dictionaries and all that! And considering I am a native English speaker I am hoping I can pass this one 🙂

But moving on to something more important, which has made me put all my so-called ‘problems’ in perspective was finding out some very sad news. On Tuesday we received an email from our head of department informing us that one of our course mates had suddenly passed away. Naturally I was in shock because he was in nearly all of my classes last year and someone that I saw on a daily basis- it really brings home how precious life is!  I would like to send my best wishes to his family- I can’t imagine how they must be feeling right now. It really puts everything into perspective and makes you realise that shouldn’t complain about the small and pathetic things because they aren’t, in the scheme of things, actually a problem at all.

Next time: I will let you know how the exams went, the end of exam partying (Halloween next week) and also how the progress of my 2-pac is coming along! Hoping I can keep my motivation for the gym going, I went so much last week but haven’t so much this week, and  I bailed out today: p But me and my friend are trying to motivate each other- sooo much easier to go with someone!

Until then nighhhttttttt xxxx Image

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It’s not all plain sailing.

ultrechtHoi!

I guess it’s that time again to do another post, I think it’s been a good month since my last! Time flies and I really can’t believe how quick it’s gone, it’s crazy. I was yet to start university before my last blog, so I shall tell you all about how that went, and also a few other things which I have been up too.

Well if I told you settling into University life was easy, than I would be lying. I knew it would be hard but I honestly found it a struggle to begin with, and it’s only now I am starting to get used to how things work out here. For example, my Dutch literature module was very interesting to say the least. I knew that it would be hard considering the lectures and seminars would be in Dutch, and although I understand and speak Dutch, analysing literature in Dutch would require a lot more work!  This was made a lot more comical by the fact that one of the Dutch lectures for the module could not have had a stronger Dutch accent even if he tried. I remember talking to him after one of the lectures because I found it hard to follow him, however the conversation seemed to turn into talking about Sheffield and colleagues he knew there. Therefore the thought of doing this module seemed way out of my reach. So I have completed half of the course, but still feel like it is way out of my depth.  However, I will see what happens after the mid-term exams and if I can change it or do another course I may consider that. At the end of the day if I don’t pass the literature course, it will still be beneficial to my Dutch and my knowledge of their literature- I guess I need to try and stay positive. A lot easier said than done though!

But I do warn UK students coming to study in the Netherlands that the set up is completely different to what we are used to. I think I took it for granted how well informed I was at Sheffield. For example, we are not told anything about our mid-term exams unless we make the effort to find out. This was made worse by the fact that the mid-term exams cover everything we have studied, whereas in Sheffield it is normal that we pick a certain amount of topics to revise. If I had not found this out then it would have caused problems for next week’s exams. Therefore, I do encourage students to make sure that they make the effort to find out information for themselves, as I wish I had been aware of this more.  Another thing which is hard to deal with is the way in which Dutch lecturers deal with feedback. In the UK, well in my experience, it is not really acceptable to discuss work in front of the whole class unless it is positive. However I have witnessed students, who have had to deal with the awkward situation of being made an example in front of the class.  I am pretty sure that this is typically ‘Dutch’ however it would not be easy for a British person to deal with for the first time!!

I am enjoying most of my other courses and learning more about my own language in my modules ‘English as A world language’ and also in my translation and writing classes. It’s weird how many things I do not know about English grammar and having a non-native speaker teach you this makes for some interesting disagreements! Though it is nice that I am valued as a living English dictionary- I have a use I guess!

I am trying to explore as much as I can, although it’s extremely hard when you are busy all the time! But I have been to Arnhem three times as it is so close to Nijmegen- only 10 mins by the trein 🙂  I found the shops were much better there, I mean they have a Zara and that’s when you know it’s going to be good. I went to Utrecht with a friend this weekend and also have Rotterdam on the agenda as they have a Primark there! I didn’t think I would miss it but my bank account seems to! Some of us also want to have a weekend in Amsterdam and this is a must-do before I leave in January.

It’s been nice to get to know a few Dutch students in my classes, although I am still struggling with the fact that everyone wants to speak English when all I want to do is practice my Dutch. But I know I must keep trying! However, one of my Dutch classmates has helped me out a lot and she makes sure that she speaks to me in Dutch. Also she gave me mean girls (The Dutch edition of course! ) and a copy of Vogue Nederland. This is a great way of just surrounding myself with the Dutch language in a more ‘fun’ way.

Oh and my mum came to visit me two weekends ago which was nice, I showed her how well I know the city now and took her to good old Arnhem! It was so lovely to stay in a hotel which was nice and quiet. I also can’t believe how happy I was to have a bath- I certainly made the most of it. Enough to keep me going until Christmas I guess! Also made the most of the BBC coverage, so I of course tuned into Match of the Day  🙂 A kettle for my room was also the highlight of the weekend, being able to make some tea without leaving my room is perfect!

My week this week started off fabulously with receiving my Erasmus grant. I know I have to pay my accommodation and book some flights, but I thought it would be rude not to treat myself. So I went a bit mad (a lot ) on the make up front! But you only live once is always my justification for buying things and it seems to work….I mean I don’t feel guilty. I bought the Chanel powder and  a lipstick! So if you want to know if they are any good.. I can help with that :p

That was it. Sorry for the boring post! I promise the next one will be better written-just thought I’d let you know how I am getting on 🙂