I had quite a relation with this windmill country, it was like my second home — so I had some sort of obligation to speak about this country (and I will have separate postings on this, bear with me :)). Not just because my motherland was colonialized by them for more than 350 years nor because my grandfather spoke the language and even read dutch bible during his lifetime.
I spent at least 4 years pursuing my bachelor degree in this country. It sounded very fancy and extravagant, but let me assure you, it was not.
I lived in a small city called Deventer, who was famous for its beautiful Ijssel river. First time to know the existence of Deventer? No worry, you were with everybody in my families and friends. I must admitted that if I had the chance to go back to past, I would be 99% tempted to change my choices of city (although my gut said I would still stick to the other 1%). While Deventer was not exactly famous among most part of the world, the city was quite a darling for Dutch people. The city hold some historical story during world war 2 and many buildings were historically preserved until today.
Just like every city in the Netherlands, Deventer had a train station which from there you can just walk straight to the city center they called it centrum. Centrum of Deventer was small but you would find everything that you need there (esp when you were just a student). There were theatre, small eateries, cafes, asian restaurants, even a club. I wouldn’t consider them as the best, but they would perfectly cater what you need.
Every year, Deventer also hosted two major events: Europe’s largest book fair somewhere in August and Dickenfestijn in December. Both lovable events attracted thousands to million of visitors every year. I would never missed these two.
As a student with tight budget, my daily routine was quite predictable and I worked as a hourly cleaner during the weekend.
The funny thing about studying abroad was that I would always imagined myself working multiple parttime in McDonald, flower shop and an ice cream cafe but that, my dear, never happened. International students had limitation in part time employment, some were: languages, working permit and physical appearance (once I got fired after two days working part time at a pottery because of my height was not sufficient!!!). I considered myself very lucky as I could get a stable part time job during my first year in this small city.
I just visited the city back in October 2013 and I would missed Deventer every now and then. I think Deventer missed me too as it would always be part of my introduction with many Dutch colleagues and somehow I was more please to explain about Deventer if not annoyed when they throw the all-the-time question: “Why Deventer?”.