Travel diary of Dutch students

A trip to Zaragoza, Spain. It’s in Europe, but what’s different from my home country, the Netherlands? And what were the highlights of the trip? I’m going to give you my point of view on these matters.

The trip to Zaragoza was really fascinating. Not only to meet so many people, but also to learn about other countries and cultures. At first sight it looked like a massive village in the middle of a dessert, maybe because I’m used to a cold environment, but still it really looked like it. It was so different from what I had imagined. Some parts were better than I had imagined, some were worse. I’d never expected that the people there would all live in flats or apartments. There was no house at all! Not only the places where the people lived were different, but also the streets and the schools. The streets were always full of people, even in the middle of the night. That’s also because everything was like 3 hours later than what I’m used to at home. Mostly the eating patterns where so much different. There was breakfast at a regular time, but the lunch was at two o’clock! The first three days I walked with a hungry feeling in my stomach, to be honest. Also dinner was way later than what I had expected. I think I had dinner around eleven o’ clock in the evening once! I really had to get used to this eating patterns, but aside the times we ate, the food was very different as well. They are used to eating meat a lot. It was funny because they kept a big piece of meat in their kitchen, like it was just chopped of three seconds ago. I didn’t like all the food, but some of them were surprisingly good.
The school times were also different. The school started at 8:30, just like at home, but it ended at 2:00 already! It was siesta time or something, and everything went further around 4 or 5 o’clock. The students there all do a lot of activities next to school, for example the girl I was with did Skating, English academy and Music class. I also noticed some differences in the way the parents treat their children. The children are very free and just go outside without saying anything. Once we returned at 11 o’clock and the mother didn’t even ask what we did or why we were home late. She just told us we could have dinner.

Aside these differences, a lot of things were the same too. The way the school worked, was actually not that different from what I’m used to. Also, the public transport wasn’t that different. The busses stopped at regular spots and you had chip-cards to pay with. I would say this was way better than I’d expected when I first arrived. I also loved how beautiful the view was from the apartment I was in. The environment was certainly different, but it was so beautiful in so many ways. I got to learn how it is to live somewhere where there were totally different lifestyles and time structures. It’s indescribable how that feels like.

It was also amazing to meet people from different countries. Of course I did not meet only Spanish people. It was fascinating to see how each country had their own differences and similarities with the Spanish and I also got to learn a bit about their countries too. I think the way this was set up worked out very well, because all of us had a great time together and became good friends who I’ll never forget.

The activities we did were also great, although that I’d imagined it to be different. We mostly toured through the city and went sight-seeing. I had expected to be working on a big project and do a lot of courses.. My tip for the next trip would also be: less sight-seeing, more courses! It’s what we come for anyway. I did like the touring, don’t get me wrong there. The courses we did, were really interesting and fun to do too.

My conclusion is that the lifestyle, time structures, drink, foods  and extra scholar activities were different, but that the public-transport and  home situations were the same as in the Netherlands. I also find that meeting new people was the highlight of the trip, but surely too to learn about different lifestyles and cultures. The activities were great, but I would have liked more courses to learn more about the project itself. Thank you for having me and giving me this opportunity.

One more:

My experiences in Spain.

The first thing I noticed in the bus to Zaragoza was that it hadn’t rained for a long time. While in the Netherlands it rains almost every week, especially around this time of year. We also didn’t see that many houses on our way to Zaragoza. When you go somewhere in The Netherlands you drive almost constantly in between houses or otherwise between farms or fields full of tulips, cows, or something like that. In Spain there was not really any thing except the landscape. When we arrived In Zaragoza there were flats everywhere. When I arrived at the home of my host family they explained to me that nobody really lived in houses here. Where I come from, most people live in houses and there are only a few flats in the neighbourhood. Also a huge different was that people in Zaragoza always travelled by foot, bus or car. While in the Netherlands we take often the bike to find our way. We only travel by car for the longer distances. Something that was a bit of a chance was the eating rhythm. In the Netherlands we eat lunch at 12 O’clock and we eat dinner around 18 O’clock, but in Spain we had dinner at 3 O’clock in the afternoon and then had dinner at 10 O’clock in the evening. They also have a warm lunch most of the time while we don’t. I also noticed that the school is quite smaller than ours. At our school we also have a lot more possibilities with regard to languages. We can choose to learn German, Frans, Spanish, Greek, Latin and of course we have to learn Dutch. In Zaragoza they had only Spanish and Frans as far as I have been told. Than there are the different school hours. In Spain they started at 8:15 and they were home for lunch at 15 O’clock. We in The Netherlands start at 8:30 but what time we finish depends on the day and the student. We can finish at 15 O’clock but we can also finish at 16 O’clock or even 16:50. Over all Spain had a quit different culture but also has things that are quite the same. One thing for sure I really enjoyed my time in Spain and I met a lot of nice people.

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