Resident Foreigner: An Egyptian in the Netherlands
In 2014, I decided to pursue my bacherlor’s degree at a university in the Netherlands. So, in the span of a few months, I packed my things, said my goodbyes, arrived at Schiphol airport, and took a train to Eindhoven to start my adventure in this country. For four years, I have been experiencing a new country, a new language, and new people everyday. The only thing that I am sure would not change is that the Netherlands and the Dutch never cease to amaze me.
It is a striking difference between Egypt and the Netherlands, in all aspects. The Netherlands is not a particularly big country in size and yet there are (vast) differences between cities, even within the same province. In the southern part of the Netherlands, in Limburg for instance, there are differences between the dialects of small villages and their neighbours. On the other hand, in Egypt, these only vary from a governorate to the next.
Learning Dutch is an interesting experience. It's grammar on the other hand, is a story of its own. A feat that some Dutch people have not even mastered!
Everyone in the Netherlands speaks Dutch and most people also speak English. So, expats and students coming to the Netherlands can easily communicate in their daily lives. Whether that is at the grocery store or at the train station, you’ll find someone who speaks English. Learning Dutch is an interesting experience. Dutch and English have a lot of similarities in the written form; the pronunciation just differs. Grammar on the other hand, is a story of its own. A feat that some Dutch people have not even mastered.
Another striking difference between the Dutch and the Egyptian is the food. The Dutch are quite known for their savoury snacks as well as their sweet ones. Typical Dutch snacks include “bitterballen” (literally bitter balls), fried meatballs eaten with mayonnaise or mustard; “kroketten”; “haring”, herring eaten with gherkins and onions; and “friet speciaal”, fries served with mayonnaise, curry sauce and onion pieces. On the sweet side of things, there are “stroopwafels”, which are thin waffles stuffed with sweet syrup; “poffertjes”, small puffy pancakes served with butter and powdered sugar; and “oliebollen”, deep-fried dumplings filled with almost anything. My mouth just waters thinking about them. I have a sweet-tooth; therefore, the sweet snacks are my favourite.
I can call my Netherlands my home away from home!
During my time in the Netherlands, I have met with many different people. Many are students from all over the world who left their countries to come to the Netherlands to study and work. I have met some of my best friends and people who I call family. I can call my Netherlands my home away from home.
Following my studies, I started working at Aviliz and through them I have been working on a secondment assignment at another company in Amsterdam.