You know that studying in Holland means getting an international experience. But you may not know that your experience can be 10 times more international if you’re studying in ISS Den Haag! In my batch, there were only around 5 ‘local’ students (by ‘local’ I mean those with Dutch nationalities). The rest of us came from almost every corners of the world! When my major went to a study trip together, the custom officer at Schiphol airport was amazed to see all the different colors of our passports. He commented that we’re like a mini UN 🙂
For most of us, studying in ISS was our first exposure to a truly rich international setting. We never had so many friends from so many different countries, countries that some of us might never even heard of.
This time of year some years ago, I arrived in Den Haag and stayed in one of the ISS’ dorms at Gondelstraat. I was one of the very first tenants, greeted by the RA who was from The Philippines. The next day, some other students started arriving… they’re from China, Japan, Bangladesh, Finland, Tanzania, Kenya, India, Ethiopia, Georgia, Uganda, Vietnam and more! I was so excited to meet them all and to hear English spoken in so many different accents!
Around the end of our second week there, we had a welcome party for our dorm. Since we still didn’t remember each others name, someone had the idea of putting on a name tag with our names written on top and our country of origin at the bottom of it. One of my new friends, however, got it confused. He put Zambia, his country of origin on top, and his name say Twalumba on the bottom.
I was chatting with my Chinese friend when we both overheard our Bangladeshi friend trying to make a conversation with our Zambian friend. We couldn’t help but burst out into laugh although we tried hard to stay polite. Here’s what he said: “Hi Zambia, nice name! So you’re from Twalumba?”
Lesson’s here is, it might help to study World Geography a little bit before deciding to study Development Studies at the ISS! 😀 Cheers!
Endless Welcome Parties