In my opinion | DutchOnly? A lost opportunity!


#Traveladdict #Wanderlust #Exploringtheworld #DutchOnly. Which hashtag is the odd man out here? From gap year to study trip: we millennials are true globetrotters. We climb mountains, meet locals and sample exotic dishes. We discover remote areas, go on endless hikes, ride elephants and visit orphanages. However, when it comes down to exploring the world in our own home, we suddenly seem to be other-worldly.

Not 'Dutch only' again! During their desperate quest for digs lots of international students come up against ads intended for Dutch students only. No warm welcome, but also a lost opportunity for student houses. That is why, especially for all the adventurous, Dutch students, I decided to undertake a personal exploratory journey along mixed houses in Eindhoven. In this travel blog I describe four advantages of traveling in your own home.

1. A different perspective
Foreign students have a different perspective of Eindhoven and get to go to totally different places. What you regard as perfectly normal in the city, is special for them. “I myself would never just go to an exhibition or a food truck festival”, says a Dutch student. “And the other day I visited the Expat Hub for the first time: my housemates had taken me on board for the Oktoberfest. That was very enjoyable, and I’ll definitely join them again next time.”

2. Crashing down in Mexico
It is not only Eindhoven that broadens the mind, you build up a network spanning the globe. Thus, a student explains that he went to study in Mexico for a stint and looked for a place to stay. “A former housemate allowed me to crash down with him for a while. In weekends he took me in tow to places never visited by ordinary tourists.” Your international connections can also help you towards traineeships, research or jobs.

3. Improve your English
A threshold that is mentioned frequently is the language barrier. It does take some getting used to, as a Dutch student admits, but after a few weeks you know no better. First he never spoke English in his private life. Now his command of English has improved considerably - which is an additional bonus in his training and career. “Dutch people speak English very well, so my uncertainty is uncalled for”, his Italian housemate assures him. Besides, at home the housemates practice their Dutch together and teach each other words in their native languages.

4. Spicy and exotic
Finally, the students find it a big plus that you can try out various kinds of food and drinks. Ham brought from Spain, home-made Italian tiramisu or traditional Dutch kale. “Watch out: definitions of ‘a bit spicy’ may differ quite strongly”, says a smiling Dutch student who used to live together with Indian people.

In short: friends all over the world, explore new places, brush up your English and lovely food. I only have one piece of advice to give to Dutch student houses. From now on make sure you delete 'Dutch only' from your ads for rooms and a whole new world will open up for you. I look forward to your travel blogs.

Eva de Bruijn graduated from TU/e in June and is a council member for GroenLinks in Eindhoven.

Photo: Mark Frerker

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