Winning at being a student, failing at being a tourist

Well I’ll start by saying I got my results for block 1 back (Dutch law and Dutch present- day society) and I did pretty well, as such I am doing well at being a student and you will read later about why I fail big time at being a tourist! Charlie Sheen would be disappointed with my inability to be bi-winning!

This week I started my Dutch level 2 classes, which is exciting although it seems the class is far more difficult than the level 1 course. My hope is that after the course I will be able to understand the cashiers at the supermarkets when they ask in Dutch if I want stickers (a coupon system they have here in the Netherlands) so that they will stop getting angry with me when I ask them to repeat and revert to English. I mean seriously the word sticker is pretty random … I can’t be expected to know that! I have to admit cycling to the Uithof campus at 5.30pm for my 6pm Dutch class is pretty scary now as it is pitch black at 5.30 here and there are no lights on the path to the campus and people on the path ride at a speed as if there was light!( they ride at the speed of light! – sorry couldn’t resist a lame joke) so as you’re biking there all you see are these random other lights approaching you (lights from the other bikes) and it is really rather daunting. Worse still is biking home if you’re alone because there are no other bikes and it is just pure darkness for half an hour… I thought I wasn’t scared of the dark anymore; evidently I am (learning more and more about myself!).

I finished classes for my Legal Ethics course this week but still have a paper to write and an exam to do for that topic. All in all, I have really enjoyed that course especially the lecture on Judicial Ethics because we had a Dutch judge come to lecture us which was really interesting. He made me see the importance of keeping traditions in the courts. I used to think these traditions were purely custom but in fact I now think these traditions such as wearing gowns help to maintain the objectivity of the judges. He presented the argument that by wearing a gown the judges are there performing the role as judge not as their private self (identity). He also argued that judges sit down because lawyers stand and re-enact the conflict in an ordered fashion so by sitting the judge is showing his or her impartiality and absence of aggression. In summary the lecture made me see the importance of judges leaving their personal lives at the entrance to the court.

Trine has now been gone for two weeks and I miss her lots but Sunny and I have booked flights to Copenhagen for the beginning of January to visit her so I’m excited about that. I am also really excited about going back to Bolzano in Italy (where I spent 2 months on exchange when I was 15) to spend Christmas. The Netherlands has been pretty rainy lately and I am missing the Australian summer and sun a bit. I was also shocked the other day when I returned from a jog I saw a bit of white around my belly area in the mirror and I thought that’s strange I don’t remember putting a white singlet on under my jumper, then I realised that bright white was the colour of my skin! The bright side of it being December, cold and dark very early is that the Christmas lights are out! So when I cycle back from kickboxing training it is always dark but everything is decorated with lights it is really pretty. Last night I actually stopped riding my bike when I was passing through De Bilt (Which is unheard of because normally I am starving after training and cycle quickly to get home to dinner) to look at all the pretty lights! Kickboxing has also been going well, I have made some really good friends there and I appreciate the different methods of teaching at the gym.

Today Dale and I attempted to go to The Hague to go to the Escher Museum. Unfortunately, we fail at being tourists and got on the wrong train. In our defence the train did say “Den Hague” on the front. So what was meant to be a Saturday in The Hague instead turned into 1.5hrs on the train when I decided to show some initiative and ask one of ticket people if this was actually going to The Hague. We found out that we had actually got on the train for Rotterdam and it was on its way back to Utrecht by the time we asked so we got out at Utrecht and had Chinese for Lunch and went to a museum in Utrecht. We found the situation highly amusing until we found out the OV chip card system had charged us 20 euro for the journey. So we wasted precious, precious euros which hurt but on the bright side we both agreed it would make for a thrilling blog post! I had a bit more bad luck ordering lunch. I had cravings for tofu so ordered the “tofu assortment”, I am not the biggest seafood eater in the world and the meal arrived with tofu and a whole bunch of prawns, calamari, fish, chicken and pork. I took most the seafood out and it was still pretty nice but really we had a bit of bad luck today!

So this week is a week of research and study for my Legal Ethics paper and exam. Thanks for reading!

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1 Response to Winning at being a student, failing at being a tourist

  1. Courtney Hassall says:

    Hey Hannah – awesome blog!

    I have to say, I am rather jealous of your legal ethics course! That would be interesting to learn about the legal ethics which exist in another country, especially with having an understanding of those which exist within Australia. Interesting to hear how impartiality and objectively is established and implemented within the Dutch Judicial system. I wonder if judges inherent biases and own subjectivity arises within their system and if so, to what extent. I think it would be really interesting to hear a case and see these customs come to life.

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