In the parking lot outside my building, smashing car windows has become quite a trend. Last week, a car was parked in the spot right next to the bike racks. In the morning, the driver’s side window of this car had been smashed. Last night, my friend (Florie)’s car was parked in that same spot. What happened? We woke up, ready to head to class at 8 AM, and we find a brick (probably from the road construction down the street) on her driver’s seat. Surrounding the area were piles of broken glass. What a nice way to wake up in the morning. It is assumed that a junkie broke into the car. These are the same junkies who steal bikes all around Amsterdam and sell them to people. I’d say Amsterdam is a relatively safe city, but you still need to watch out and keep a close eye on any valuable possessions you may have.
Classes finally started this week. I had one yesterday (International Marketing) and two today (Intercultural Awareness & Marketing Communications). Then, I have two more tomorrow (Economics and Politics of the Netherlands & Dutch 1). I like my marketing classes just fine, but Intercultural Awareness seems a little cheesy to me. I have a feeling I will learn more just from interacting with all the international students I have already met here. I wanted to switch out to take another language course, but Champlain didn’t approve. Bummer. I hope my Dutch culture classes tomorrow are a little more exciting. It’s really nice to get back into the swing of things. I really missed going to class. I forgot how much I like marketing, and it’s so great that I’m going to a business school because many of the people I have met here are also studying marketing. I am genuinely excited to get a new perspective on not only marketing, but on college and education as a whole. My only worry is in regards to the grading system at HES. Most classes will have a much heavier weight on the final exam than my classes at Champlain did. Champlain was much more paper/project based with many assignments, while classes at HES will give you a final exam that’s worth 50% of your grade. Though the style is different, I feel that I will adapt well to my new school. We’ll see how tomorrow goes!
Mondays AND Tuesdays off? Looks like I’ll be doing some traveling on weekends. When I ask others in my building about their classes, I find out that each country and school has different requirements. Some have to take 8 classes, while others may only need to take 4. Usually people fall in the middle with 5 or 6 classes on their plate, but everyone has at least one day off in their schedule. When I first found out I had a 4 day weekend EVERY week, I thought I was doing something wrong. I’m used to Champlain classes where you need to show up to one class twice a week (which totally eats away any opportunity for a “free day” you might have had). I guess things are a little different here.
Orientation came quite early this morning. About 30 of us gathered outside the residence building today to make our way to the Metro station that would take us to our new school. Packed in like sardines, we debated over which stop we needed to get off at. Luckily, after about a 30 minute ride, we all chose the correct stop and made our way, like ducklings, over to the university building. While walking to this building, the rain came pouring down in buckets. Once the walk was over, we all looked like we had gone for a morning swim in the canals. Even the ones with umbrellas and rain jackets were not so dry. I will have to invest in some serious rain gear for this semester.
Our classes will all be held in one building, which I found to be a rather aesthetically pleasing setting. The classrooms were not as big as I had originally anticipated; they’re actually rather comparable to Champlain classrooms.
Our tour groups were broken up by nationality. I kept being mistaken for Canadian. Then I’d say, “What are you talking aboot? I’m American, ey?” Just kidding on the last part, but in all seriousness, I do tend to group myself with the Canadians.
I think the transition from Champlain to HES will be quite easy. The library offers similar online databases as Champlain and everyone at the school seems very helpful. HES is also very business focused, as is Champlain. Classes start on the 30th of August, and though all this free time has been very nice and relaxing, I am quite excited to start classes again.
I really don’t think my room could feel ANY colder. No, the temperature of the room is fine. This room just needs some serious sprucing up. It is far from feeling like a home away from home. The walls are blank. The sheets are rough. The cupboards are bare. I don’t like it one bit, but there’s no where I can even run away to. I haven’t met anyone yet! Well, there’s one exception…
Maarten. He went to Champlain as an exchange student last semester and I met him once. It was arranged that he would pick me up from the airport today and bring me back to my room. Well he did that, but also brought me grocery shopping and helped me figure out a lot of things I needed to know about Amsterdam. I really don’t know what I would have done without him.
For now, I sit in my prison cell, all alone. I need to turn this room into a “home” quick before I lose my sanity. Also on my shopping list: toilet paper! Forgot all about that! I guess I’m off on an adventure to find a store of some sort…
Arrival days: 18 & 19 August 2010
Introduction at the School of Economics and Management / HES (compulsory): 23 August 2010
* This is the academic stuff. You know, typical student orientation where you meet and greet and learn about classes and the campus.
ISN Amsterdam introduction period: 24-27 August 2010
* This is more about life in Amsterdam. It is more of a culture orientation and includes more than just my school. http://www.isn-amsterdam.nl/
Start of the classes: Monday 30 August 2010
I get about 10 days of fun before I need to start worrying about going to classes and studying. The question is: what should I do with those 10 days of freedom? I am a young American set free to explore Europe. Oh the possibilities…