On my way back from a meeting, I walked passed our new supermarket on the campus. I stopped. I turned around. It was high noon. I was hungry. Would this new shop feed me? I was curious, but also anxious. Well, the first impression was one of a shock. In front of the shop a pink crocodile (or was it an alligator?) was staring at me, with its mouth open … hmm… maybe it was hungry, too. Not very welcoming to customers… Fortunately, it was chained down to a huge nearby plant. Jungle? Yes, the concrete jungle in Flux.
We all know the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC s), which aim at unlimited participation and open access via the web. Well, in August TU/e experienced various types of MOOCs I’m going to describe. One of them, unlike the real MOOC, was characterized by a limited participation and controlled access to our campus: a peaceful invasion by our new international students which resulted in the presence of Many Outlanders On Campus.
Friday afternoon in a big Dutch city: a quiet corner near a busy road. People had gathered for a very special reason: to collectively commemorate their missing dear ones.
It was one of those rainy days in downtown Amsterdam and a car, one of those big Mitsubishi station wagons, stopped for a red traffic light. The car behind, one of those big Volvos a.k.a. “the tank”, could not stop on time (the story doesn’t say if it was because of the slippery pavement) and crashed into the station wagon.
Earlier this week EP-NUFFIC launched what is meant to be “your first step towards mastering the Dutch language. It shows you how much fun it can be to learn Dutch” and also helps you discover some typical aspects of culture.
“Help yourself with anything in the fridge, I’ll be back in a minute”, said my host as he was strolling away passed his kitchen door. This was in America where in traditional rural areas the kitchen is part of the public space of the house, visitors come and go through that rear door, and so is the fridge as equipment there. And they mean it: do take that beer yourself out of the fridge! as good peaches with a large public space usually do.
Answers to this simple question may prove diverse, basically affirmative or negative. For the one, it is stating the obvious, replying “Yes, of course (for the sake of privacy)”, but for the other, it goes more like: “Well no, why should I (I have nothing to hide)? Indeed, it is not so simple. Closing your curtains while turning the lights on in your living-room when it is getting dark outside to get some privacy has a cultural connotation, especially in The Netherlands.
A native of Strasbourg, I’ve lived 33 years in the Netherlands and worked 30 years at TU/e. I teach intercultural communication in various forms and also help develop further our Community. As such culture and communication are part of my entire life and they activate my 5 senses all day long! And I like to share these impressions and experiences. So stay tuned for more!