Adventure called Breda

A small blog of a Tiko student about an adventure in the Netherlands, Breda University of Applied Sciences.

Monthly Archives: May 2019

Chapter 8: Home

It’s already May when writing this.

The exchange was worth it. A unique chance to get to know a new culture, new people, try your wings in a different country, to have an adventure on your own, to learn new languages.

I’m still reading scandinavian/german words in dutch way, agenda turning into “ahenda” (pardon my Brabantse accent), fruit into “frΓ€yt”, Van Dijk is “van DΓ€ijk”. And, “Ik vil een kopje koffie met sΓ€yker, zonder melk hebben, alstublift!” No, that isn’t spelled properly. XD Anyway, the dutch language is fun, sounds weird, but gives a nice challenge with pronunciations. πŸ˜€ Dat is heel leuk en lekker!

The exchange leveled the independence up a level or two for a person who’s always been in close contact to their family. Encouraging the experience to those who want to try their wings with a jump to unfamiliar. πŸ˜€

I got friends and contacts world wide. I met people I want to meet again in future. People I’m still in contact with.

I learned to appreciate some things in the Finnish bureaucracy and “ease of studying” in new light. I have huge respect with the dutch students with their insane workload and expectations to work on the side to pay the studies.

I loved the whole experience, but advice people not to take the 31 credits to study for in the Netherlands if you want to travel. The only places I managed to travel were Amsterdam for one day and Antwerp for another (family wanted to have me home for the autumn and Christmas breaks), though had a chance to squeeze a martial arts camp in Zeeland for one weekend. πŸ˜€ Other students took the opportunity to attend group travels across the Europe, some of them organized by the ESN-network.

It turned out that the accommodation I had was relatively cheap compared to public market. And in super good condition! So be fast with it!!!!!

During the exchange I met people who chose to move to Netherlands to study the branch/profession of their dreams. It made me wonder what is my dream and what have I done to achieve it. The exchange gave me the courage to check the Game-dev-hand to the end and to take the missing game-dev -courses once back home.

But. Once back home, I basically flopped into general “I don’t want to do a thing” -mentality for a month, kind of exhausted after the intense study-pace. This “return-shock” is a personal experience, mine was a counter-reaction for giving the best I had to offer for the studies, which did pay off. πŸ˜€Β  Would suggest to consider yourself and how you manage workflows and changes of scenery. I guess that the return to the familiar/home settings kind of releases the tension of being in a place you know isn’t permanent for you. It’s a peculiar feeling.

BTW. If you’re planning to study in Breda or Tilburg, concider taking your flights to Finland to and from Brussles. It’s closer than Amsterdam Schiphol. πŸ˜€ And the train is a bit cheaper. πŸ˜€ The pros of EU! Though I really liked Schiphol as an airport, it was a very clear one! πŸ˜€

Also, if you ARE using Schiphol, take the earlier train, and if using the Intercity through Rotterdam, be prepared to delays. I had cancellations and delays with both to and from journeys between Schiphol and Breda. When it happened the first time I was luckily early at the station to pick another connection through Den Haag. On the second time I had to use the Belgian/Dutch train. On the third time I don’t really remember what route I took, because I just wanted to get to the apartment and sleep. XD But that was just me, and another finn (they missed their flight because their train was late). Be warned, with plenty of salt. At least it was a very educative experience to sort out just what to do, and to manage stress. XD

That’s it. I’ll keep writing chapters when finding the inspiration to do so. I love helping the future generations, to give them the information I would have liked to have available when preparing form my own travel. πŸ˜€ Hopefully these posts are useful. πŸ˜€

See ya around!

Love,

-A-K

Chapter 7: Food

Note: Will be adding posts in random order about random subjects along the way. Enjoy!

Dutch food culture, local dutch food. There really isn’t any. Or, there’s a strong snack-culture, and incorporated foods from the biggest immigrating cultures, but the actual dutch food is quite scarce, and the locals admit it and joke about it as well. Didn’t try the “Stompot” aka vegetable pyre, though. Instead tried kroket, frikandel, kaas souffles, bitter bollen, emansipadas, friets and olliebollen.

  • Krokets are deep fried meat/fish(?) pyre that looks like a big mozzarella stick. It was a nice warm snack to enjoy with either mustard or mayonaise.
  • Frikandel are sausages made of meat-dough that resembles of meatballs, and baked/fried. They are usually served with mayo. I really liked this snack, because this snack actually kept hunger away for a while.
  • Kaas souffles are once again something deepfried. This time cheesy filling in a leafy crispy dough-pocket. Tasty warm snack. πŸ™‚
  • Bitter bollen is a similar to kroket, but a bit more sour, in a form of a ball. They are served with mustard.
  • Emansipadas where a snack in the school cafeteria, a vegetarian option for the days I didn’t feel like eating anything meaty.
  • Friets. Aka Belgian Fries. Fries are originally from Belgium. And the friets served in the Netherlands are usually thick ones, served with mayo, curry-sauce, garlic-mayo, truffle-mayo, sate-sauce or good old ketchup. And with onion. There was a good place in Breda that sold thick fries, cut and fried at place from fresh, big taters.
  • Olliebollen is a local version of “munkki”, a ball of greasy dough, deep-fried and served with powdered sugar. These are usually eaten at fairs and in New Year’s celebrations.

In addition to snacks I tried local semi-processed meal options. The local grocery stores sold pre-cut vegetable packs for bolognese and other italian dishes, but what caught my eye was a nasi/bami-mix of veggies. Turned out it was an asian dish, brought to dutch kitchens by the immigrants. It was easy to prepare a nasi out of a box of these pre-cut veggies, a pouch of a spice-mix, a meat/vege-alternative of choice and either rice or noodles (Nasi is fried rice, bami is fried noodles, I think). It was fast to cook the whole 4-person portion and store it to fridge to have easy meals for the half of a week.

Bread-wise, I’m a bit of a purist Finn, I longed for rye bread. And the dutchies have their own version of it, rogge brood! It’s similar as the Real-bread in Finland, and the taste was good. πŸ™‚ Bread-wise there where white breads and darker breads. There where also sort of sweet, dark breads to serve with chocolate paste or something. Never quite figured out the function of that stuff, but as a sweet snack it was good. πŸ™‚

Once back home I realized that the dutch rusk is a very are specific delicacy as well! It’s a round crispy light biscuit style rusk, and you cover it with sweet or salty things, apparently strawberries and whipped cream are the classic. I tried them with tangerines and Nutella on Sunday mornings. πŸ˜€Β 

One of the most legendary foods in the Netherlands is Stroopwaffel: two round, thin and crispy waffles with caramel syrup gluing the layers together. Incredibly sweet, but oh so tasty! There were at least ten taste variations of it in super markets, my favorite being caramel and sea-salt. Once I also had a chance to try a freshly made one, and it was so goood!Β 

The downside of the food culture was that it seems like in the Netherlands there isn’t a real culture of a proper lunch meal. Only sandwiches, a salad-table, small soup or snacks. There was a microwave in the lobby to heat ones own meal, but for finns and germans used to a proper lunch meal this was a surprise. Not criticizing, though, it’s a culture thing, and the foreigner adapts. πŸ˜€Β 

The prices are approximately a bit cheaper than in Finland, at least for meats. Cannot guarantee anything regarding vegetarian or vegan options, though couldn’t find dried soy flakes, and the processed vege-options where twice the price of the meat-products. But there were quite a variation of veggies available. πŸ˜€Β 

That’s it for the food stuff. Don’t worry, you won’t starve there. πŸ˜€

More to come later!Β 

Love, A-K