Thursday, June 18, 2009

My AIESEC internship in Netherlands!

Hello, hello everyone! Greetings from Holland, the city of Groningen - the capital of the same named province. In this city there are 185 thousand inhabitants and about 50 thousand of them are students. I've been living here for five months now and I find it a quite nice place to be.

I live in a student house among 24 other Dutch people on my floor, each having their own room. Leisure room, two kitchens, 3 showers and 6 toilets are shared. Thankfully, there is a cleaning team coming by every morning that takes care of common properties. A Washing machine and a dryer are also usable. Specially noteworthy is my Internet connection speed in my room: astonishing 11 MB/s. Followed by another astonishing number 350 EUR per month I pay for rent. Although Netherlands has one of the highest populations density in Europe (396/km2) this number has not affected my "quality of living" in any way.


I am working in Library of the University of Groningen under the department of electronic services. It is a medium sized library in the center of the city which is always filled with a decent number of students. I was told that the time it was built they never considered this to be become such a popular place among students. The university itself was founded in 1614 and has therefore a strong reputation. In fact, on my first day my boss took me to a tour inside the building and also showed me some very old books. Interestingly enough, some of them were serious kick-ass magic books with spells and stuff, the kind of you only see or hear in TV shows, "Supernatural" comes to mind.
Anyway, I am working as a web developer and I am trying to come up with new tools and systems that might become useful for the armies of professors, researchers and students in here. I have a flexible work schedule as usual with IT workers, though, most of my dutch friends were very surprised as they heard it. I believe, they have usually much more rigid work discipline. Dutch people are in general very kind, very direct, very hard working and yet always ready to party. I didn't have problems getting used any of these sides. Also, absolutely everyone seems to be able to speak English. That includes older people that are, well, old. The second foreign language Dutch people speak is of course German. I am about to finish my Dutch language course (payed by my employer, impressive 495 EUR for 25 two our lessons) and I must say that if you know English and Germany like I did, then it is rather easy to learn Dutch as well. It is pretty useful skill because the item names and instructions how to prepare the food is usually Dutch only (I am a bad cook). I am already capable of some meaningful conversation in that language ... if and only if the other person speaks slowly and clearly. Otherwise, that includes conversations between locals, I understand nothing. However, after I've finished here I, will most certainly resume working with my (almost nonexistent) Russian. The idea came from the fact that the majority of the current set of AIESEC interns, that is from Kazachstani, Moldavian, Ukrainian, Bulgarian and two from Russian itself speak Russian very well. That leaves just me, Czech, Macedonian and Indian, last two of them have already finished their internship and now working/studying in here. They started to like the town.


Every month there is one Saturday whose events is organized by one LC in Netherlands. That means that every month people all over Netherlands come together to have some games, a dinner and in the end a party. The latest event I visited took place in Enschede, "the greatest student party in Benelux" as it was advertised - party as any other just in five halls at once. Every week there is also an AIESEC meeting where presentations and various announcements are made. Afterwards, as always, is the socializing part - you know, drinking, talking, chit-chat and simply relaxing. Sometimes we go to the city for a drink or just have a cozy dinner.
The city itself is criss-crossed by numerous canals matched with swarm of bridges, each and every one possible to open. Interestingly, one can see an open bridge very seldom, usually only if you are in real hurry to cross it. Yet the snail speed boat passing by doesn't really care. The shores of canals are full of boats and small ships so the captains have to be really alert when moving. There are no skyscrapers in this town, my 8th floor building is one of the highest. The common practice is that even in central city, people have living quarters above the shops or just rent a room in a bigger house.


Transportation is organized very well. There are separate roads or lanes for bicyclists everywhere so that sometimes there is even less space for pedestrians. The number of bikes is accordingly huge which effectively helps to promote the national sport: bike-theft. Getting your bike stolen is just so common in here, therefore I try to avoid letting my ride outside for a night. So far so good. The railroad connection between cities is just superb: you can get almost anywhere by train. By now I have used the services of local railroad quite many times and I have no complaints.

Despite the number of outside differences, I consider Netherlands and Estonia quite quite similar countries. That is, taking account the nature, location and history, there are no major barriers. What I realized is that the main difference is in people themselves. It is a huge difference whether you live your everyday life at home day after day or whether you experience true multi-cultural environment on your very own skin.

Cheers,
Ain

41 comments:

  1. Your site is very interesting indeed.
    I invite You to see my Italian-Estonian site http://www.pillandia.blogspot.com
    You'll find a rich collection of photos of "riigipiirid" from all the world.
    Best wishes from Italy!

    ReplyDelete
  2. HI! I'm estonian in Rome, living here already for four years (and no, I haven't forgot estonian, but just to be polite I write in english so everyone can read).
    If you ever care to step by my blog, writing about life in the crazy casino in Rome, add me or read me on
    www.cafenaivete.blogspot.com

    Edu ja terviseid pàikselisest Roomast,
    Teie Merilin.

    ReplyDelete
  3. pleasure to find such a good artical! please keep update!! ........................................

    ReplyDelete
  4. 凡走過必留下痕跡!不留言對不起你!.........................

    ReplyDelete
  5. 一沙一世界,一花一天堂,掌中握無限,剎那即永恆........................................

    ReplyDelete
  6. 能付出愛心就是福;能消除煩惱就是慧。......................................................

    ReplyDelete
  7. 一棵樹除非在春天開了花,否則難望在秋天結果。.........................

    ReplyDelete
  8. 知識可以傳授,智慧卻不行。每個人必須成為他自己。......................................................................

    ReplyDelete
  9. 一個人的價值,應該看他貢獻了什麼,而不是他取得了什麼............................................................

    ReplyDelete
  10. 開心不開心都是一天,祝您能夠笑著面對一切!............................................................

    ReplyDelete
  11. 愛,拆開來是心和受兩個字。用心去接受對方的一切,用心去愛對方的所有。......................................................................

    ReplyDelete
  12. 第一忠誠,第二勤奮,第三專心工作。..................................................

    ReplyDelete
  13. 世間事沒有一樣沒有困難,只要有信心去做,至少可以做出一些成績。..................................................

    ReplyDelete
  14. 與人相處不妨多用眼睛說話,多用嘴巴思考,............................................................

    ReplyDelete
  15. Joy often comes after sorrow, like morning after night.. . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    ReplyDelete