Differences? Similarities!

Hi all!

Hope everyone had a great start of this semester. 🙂 This week, my second week of studying has started: Time has come for a new update!

After some weeks of travelling (the Whitsunday islands are really a must see!), partying (Byron Bay introduction: Great!), making friends from all over the world and getting to know Brisbane, I am in the position to say that I feel really home now. I’m still surprised about the fact that the other side of the world feels so comfortable and common to me already. Maybe it’s because of the fact that my other long and far journeys went to places that are not so Western as Aussie – Ghana and Sri Lanka – but life feels so ‘normal’ here.

Of course there are some differences; Australians don’t speak Dutch (but at least we use the same alphabet – which is not at all the case in the Sri Lankans Singhalese language), the weather is much better and people are a bit more relaxed here. But I roughly share the same values and norms with the Australians and most of the other internationals I met so far. Just like in Holland, my friends and I are lunching and dining together a lot, we’ve planned some nice trips and joined a volleyball club in Brisbane, just like I did in the Netherlands – people from different places all over the world don’t have to differ so much. Also the university system at Griffith is comparable to the University of Utrecht; Griffith even uses the same ‘Blackboard’ and their free wifi is also called ‘eduroam’!

Up ‘till now, my courses seem to be very interesting. The ‘International Relations’ and ‘Global Security’ courses are very comparable to my major at home. However, the business courses I choose, ‘Introduction to International Business’ and ‘Intercultural Communication for the Global Workplace’, are opening a totally different world for me! It makes me think about issues I always took for granted – for example, I never wondered why the idea of Starbucks coffee works all over the world, while breakfast at Mac Donalds’ doesn’t work in many Asian countries (since people don’t eat breakfast all over the world!).

I do have to get used to the fact that I’m doing four courses at the same time, since in Utrecht the semester is broken up into two blocks with each only two courses. Fortunately, all of the subjects are in relation to each other, so I don’t have to switch over my mind all the time.

I am very curious how you guys experience the differences between Europe and Australia; was it easy to get used to the Australian (or European, if you’re from Australia!) culture, do you feel comfortable in this new country and how are the courses at uni?

Hope to hear from you!



About Floor Zweerink

My name is Floor(tje) Zweerink, I just turned 22 (it's been my first birthday abroad and in summer!) and I am a student in International Relations at Utrecht University. At the moment I am studying at Griffith University in Brisbane, and I am enjoying it to the max!
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