From a baguette to a broodje kroket

Vandaag lees je het verhaal van Adrien. Adrien is een Franse student die stage loopt in Nederland! Hij verblijft zes maanden in Breda om een marketingstage te doen bij de Franse tak van het bedrijf Stagehuis: Stagevoyage. Hieronder lees je de tips van Adrien om het beste uit jouw tijd in het buitenland te halen!


When you leave your home country to go abroad you will have heard a lot of prejudice on the country. For example on how the people are or how the food is. Some of these biases can be true of course. During my first days in the Netherlands some prejudices were true, for example that the Dutch people speak loudly (maybe too much sometimes) compared to French people. Or the bias that they take a short break for lunch: a sandwich with 2 slides of cheese and a sandwich with jam and it’s done!


The first reaction people can have is 'it’s so totally different, I don’t know how they do it', or 'they don't do it right!'. But when you are in a foreign country you should not stick with your own point of view because your point of view is odd compared to the point of view of the local people. Also, you are visiting their home country so you should try to keep up with their traditions as well. 

Tips from Adrien

That’s why when you’re in a foreign country you should first try to understand the way of life of the people, instead of giving criticism or making remarks. It’s easy to make remarks or say 'it’s better in my country'. Let’s take an example: Dutch people eat their dinner at 6pm which is of course a little early compared to other countries in the world but there’s a reason for that. After dinner it’s the time be “gezellig”, which means to have fun with friends and family, drink a beer and chatting: enjoying life as much as you can. So when you see the reason, of course you can better understand the way of life of the country where you're staying. The process of understanding varies according to the different traditions, but this step determines the second one: 'live like them'.


After a few months you get used to the habits and traditions people have around you. The time people eat, the way people commute means more to you after a while, because you know why it works like that. This is the point where you can adapt to that way of life as well: having a bike and commute everyday by bike, eating dinner early. You just have to find the happy medium between the habits of your home country and the habits of people where you are staying, because you can’t ignore their life style.

An example I found helpful was that the shops here in the Netherlands close at 6 pm, even though they are open till later in France. I can't do anything about that and just have to adapt to the Dutch schedule. So now I go shopping before 6 pm and then eat my early dinner ;). When you go abroad of course you arrive with your habits and tradition but try to understand the local people (what they eat, how they do things) to be able to copy them and of course take some habits: a mix between your own habits and the local habits. Because there’s so much to learn, so much to understand about a new country, that staying stubborn will definitely not help you in your daily life abroad!


One more advice for you when you start the adventure of going to a foreign country: just chat with people because they always have something to say to you, they can easily help you to understand how they work and feel you more comfortable in your new life, in a new country.