My Life in the Netherlands

Netherlands (Photo by Klara Katzensteiner)
Netherlands (Photo by Klara Katzensteiner)

After being extremely nervous of the adventure I am going to start, I was thankful that the Katholieke Pabo Zwolle organized someone who picks me up. My driver, which was one of my teachers I found out then, brought me to the campsite where I would spend the next five months of my life. The KPZ had an appointment with the campsite for their students. Although it was very expensive and small, I was glad to stay there because of thanks to this, I got very close to my fellow students.
It was still extremely cold in the chalets but the warm welcoming of the four students which were already there compensated it.

On this evening my Erasmus started with wine and talking nearly the whole night, what we repeated more or less every night in those months. Already after a few days, I knew that these people are going to be close friends.

We strolled together through the small cute streets in Zwolle, discovered beautiful cafes and the best ice- cream shop in town. Trips to Amsterdam, The Hague, Delft, Kampen, Groningen, Rotterdam, Leiden, etc. showed us the beauty of the Netherlands. By getting lost several times respectively did not know where to go because of language issues, we detected the kindness of the Dutch people. It does not matter who you ask, nearly everyone speaks English and is willing to offer you their help. Therefore we always found our way somehow.

Our 20 minutes ride to university every day became usual and stopped bothering us, although I would recommend raining- trousers because the Dutch weather has its own head. Sometimes we needed to escape the weather a little bit and decided to travel to Prague, Dublin and Krakow resp. Wroclaw.

The KPZ (Katholieke Pabo Zwolle) tried to find the best way to educate a bunch of international students with a different educational background and different specifics, which succeeded sometimes and sometimes not.

I really appreciated that they always took a benefit out of our diversity and relied on their contents of the lessons to it.
In the subject ‘Pedagogics’ we heard a lot about different school types and visited those school types in the second period, which was very interesting because we could see the theory in practice. In the lessons about ‘music and drama’ we got to know children’s songs of different countries and created a video in groups. In ‘English’ the focus was on our speaking skills and we were discussing different topics. The subject ‘CCT’ was more or less about us, talking about how we feel, presenting our countries, organizational topics and also some tips for being a good teacher. The lesson ‘Dutch language’ helped us a lot in the teaching practice because we got to know a few basics which we could use to introduce ourselves or trying to defeat the language barrier.

To learn a lot about the Netherlands, Dutch people and also ourselves helped us the subject ‘culture and society’. The two most time- consuming subjects were ‘IPC’ (international primary curriculum), where we basically learned to work project- orientated in a certain way and ‘teaching practices’.

By having four weeks of teaching practice in which I really had to teach and guide this IPCproject, I learned a lot about different methods and how a completely different educational system works out. Therefore I come home with a backpack full of new ideas for my future teaching.

Zwolle and The Netherlands were a great choice for me. Because of perfectly good train connections, I was able to visit nearly the whole country and took advantage of its offers. Additionally I was lucky with the best fellow students and now friends I could ever have. We became family in those five months and I am going to visit them for sure as soon as possible.

Klara Katzensteiner

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