I’ve recently moved to Amsterdam, Netherlands and moving to a new city, especially in a different country can be overwhelming. I can vouch for it! However, I have realized that to really be Amsterdam, let Amsterdam be you. Take a deep breath and allow the culture of this amazing city wrap itself around you. Amsterdam has so many things to offer whether you have an interest in art, music, food, or maybe a nice, quiet place to sip a beautifully aromatic (and equally tasty) beer. Either way, your experiences will be shared among some of the friendliest people in the world! The Dutch are polite, casual, accepting, and pretty much just looking to have a good time: Like yourself! Besides, who wouldn’t love Amsterdam and the people who live here?
I know, I know: The language right? Well, yes! It is a difficult language to learn and sometimes, I honestly think they are just making sounds to humor us. But it just so happens that the Dutch are some of the most linguistically talented people in the world and they speak amazing English, however don’t be an inconsiderate langua-phobe (yes, I just made that up). Make an effort to learn some useful Dutch phrases and practice them in places such as cafes, markets, etc. You’d be surprised how helpful the Dutch can be when they realize your accent isn’t exactly “local”. In return they’ll be patient and appreciate your willingness to attempt learning their language, which they know can be difficult for non-native speakers. It can be very beneficial because you learn a lot very quickly being immersed in it on a daily basis. So reciprocate their kindness and you will be sure to make friends almost immediately.
I moved to this cobble stoned wonderland in January of 2014 from New York City (Greenpoint, Brooklyn) and I have been nothing but astonished at the way, not only the people, but the city itself interacts, or allows others to interact with it.
So I am here to tell you that it’s not hard to become a part of an unfamiliar culture. Yes, it can have it’s “WTF” moments when you find that there are no Wawa’s, Tim Horton’s, Shake Shack’s, In N Out Burger’s, or the 24 hour corner bodega (at least for me – I miss you), depending on which town or city you lived in the world and what conveniences you were used to before living or visiting here. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t become used to something entirely new, like Febo, random outdoor urinals (life savers), dogs in bars and restaurants, and the frequent smell of marijuana. Hey, it could be a good thing if we just give it a shot, right?
So hop on, take the ride, and make it a fun experience! Who knows! You might actually like it. 😉