Introduced to Breda - where I'll go through first impressions and arrival.
Studies - where I'll talk about... well, studying in NHTV.
On and Off the Land - where I'll talk about how my everyday life came to be in the country, and about leaving.
As my one and a half day vacation in Finland was drawn to a close, it was time to leave for the Netherlands. Vacation in a vague sense since it was simply meeting up with family and friends and then preparing for the next stop. Printing papers, sending emails and setting up my new laptop and so forth. Managed to haggle a brand new 80 euro suitcase down to 50 euros, so that was neat.
Barely rested, I climbed in a plane brandishing the Finnair insignia. I had to pay a little extra due to my heavy luggage, but that is fine. Teemu and I took the same flight to make things easier for the both of us. We took off, landed in a few hours and everything worked out fine. The next phase was to get ourselves from Amsterdam to Breda. We took a train right from the airport and it didn't take too long to get ourselves to our destination. The landscape and architecture looks... well, European. All in all the place feels a lot like a flat version of Finland.
We made way towards Alleewonen, our landlord for the duration, to sign our contracts and get our keys. It was just a short walk away, but the heavy luggage made that journey feel longer than it was. It didn't help that some companies resided in buildings that resemble residence and we weren't sure what was a store, what was an office and what was a house. We met with a few other students going to study games while at the office, and to my surprise there were a few from Finland. Jyväskylä, to be precise. After a while of discussion, contract signing and queries we got ourselves a taxi and took off to our lodging.
The humble abodeTired and hungry, I started to inspect my room and the house in general while greeting our two rommates for the duration of our stay. The toilet is bizarre, and appears to be almost a joke made by an engineer. It's comfortable and all, but the design is just confusing. Seems this model is quite common here.
I went to rest after putting my things in their place. The next days I would spend in starvation while trying to find a store. In the end Teemu managed to get us the most vital of lifelines: ethernet cables. Finally I could check for nearby stores without interacting with people by asking directions (which I ended up doing anyway). People in the Netherlands are no strangers to speaking English, and the dialect seems commonly fluid. The next challenge appeared after picking a large selection of goods from the very nice selection as I approached the cashier of the grocery store. I packed my things and I was told the price I would need to pay. I handed cash, and to my surprise this was not in effect that day (I found later to be able to pay with cash at this same place). I offered my debit card, and that too would prove useless. I was instructed to move to a counter near the cashier for payment after a manager was called. I humbly accepted defeat and apologized. I managed to pay in the end, succesfully avoiding starvation.
The next step would be to furnish the house and rooms further. Thus it would be time to go to a place very alien to all Nordic citizens: Ikea. From our lodging it is a five minutes' cycle away, and a good place to get all the basic goods you would need.
As the few first weeks rolled by, there were a few particular events before school started. I'll write about those below. Notes about getting a bike and going to ikea or lidl most likely aren't that intresting in the end. How ever it is worth noting that getting a bike would be highly recommended.
Now, one thing that needed to be settled was what I will actually be doing in school. There were a lot of communication errors and things needed to be made sure of. At first I was about to be placed on second year studies for half a year, which is a double whammy of wrong since I'll be here for one full year and I have no experience when it comes to 3D work. That got corrected with a meeting before the introduction days, and I got placed in the first year visual arts class for a full academic year.
Next off was the intro days where new info was given to all students, a few talks were listened to and a bit of fun was had. Onto a pub crawl to "get to know Breda." Later on there would be Camp Lost, a three day event for new students. I'll leave the details out but there was cheap beer, dancing, games and other pants-on-head grade fun stuff for three days straight. During this time my image of a flat, cheaper Finland grew stronger as sweets and foods in general seemed very similar. Although the Netherlands is a land of sandwiches. All in all I believe I will like it here.