A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
Unlike a lot of students, I began my Dutch adventure six months ago, not within the confines of the University bubble but as a resort rep at a Scout camp in the heart of the Dutch countryside.
At first it was so scary, I was alone in a new country surrounded by foreign people with whom I couldn’t speak the language.
However, the camp staff at ‘Buitenzorg’ camp site were so overwhelmingly kind and welcoming towards me, making me feel at home and involving me in the community despite me being a bumbling English-speaker.
So, although a lot of internationals find it hard to integrate with the Dutch culture, I personally realise how friendly and welcoming it can be and am so happy to have had the opportunity to experience the kindness of a Dutch community.
This weekend, I was invited back to the campsite for a craft weekend: learning how to make a patchwork quilt that can be turned into a pillow – a quillow!
Initially, I was apprehensive, my Dutch hasn’t improved (despite my good intentions) but I was so glad that I decided to go, I had such a lovely time and it was the perfect relaxation after weeks of revision and stressing over papers!
I also found a new, fun place to visit, if you are a bit of a craft-enthusiast – the Utrecht fabric market. Two whole streets are filled with rows of fabric, buttons, ribbon and any other items you might need for your crafty project!
Even if you haven’t got time to actually make something, it was really fun just to walk through the market, see all the colours and soak up some culture on the cobbled Utrecht streets.
After busily sewing for three days – as well as the obligatory breaks for cake, cookies, tea and tapas – I am proud to say that I managed to almost finish my quillow and it is brightening up my room already and will hopefully help to keep me warm through these freezing days too!