Meet Road Tripper: Gianluigi

In this blog a Road Tripper will tell you his/her experience of living in The Netherlands. This will give you some valuable insights/life hacks. Look out for a fresh blog every two weeks! For now: enjoy reading this blog!

1. Please tell us something about yourself

Hi! I’m Gianluigi. I’m from Italy and I’m currently doing my PhD in Artificial Intelligence at Radboud University in Nijmegen. I came to the Netherlands about a year ago, and I plan to stay here for the next 3 years while I complete my PhD. I was an avid rugby player back in Italy, but that came with a lot of pain. So, I decided to do something in science, since I could do that for years without getting hurt! In my free time, I like to make music, cooking Italian food, and spending time with friends.

2. How do you experience living in The Netherlands?

Overall, I think The Netherlands is interesting, but with Covid I didn’t get the chance to do much. Unfortunately, since I’ve been here, there were only 3 weeks where it was possible to party again. As luck would have it, during those 3 weeks, I wasn’t in The Netherlands. The Netherlands is good in general, but a bit boring architecturally speaking, and the people are not as open as the Italians (though, to be fair, it’s hard to be more open than Italians). Also, Dutch people really have their own life and it’s hard to become part of their inner circles as expats. I’ve learned to entertain myself by learning how to create and produce music and play the piano. Luckily, I live in a house with many housemates that helped me through this difficult first year in The Netherlands, but I can’t wait to experience the full Dutch experience.

3. What Dutch customs/habits are weird to you?

  • The Birthday calendar in the WC is weird. But I love the idea that if you are dating someone, you should go to their parents’ house and go to their toilet to find out if you are on the calendar, and if you are, you’re lucky. Although, you need to check as well whether you are written down with a pen or pencil. Then you know whether your future parents in law think you are a keeper...

  • The Birthday circle, where people all sit in a circle, where everyone congratulate everyone in the circle (even a friend of the mom of the birthday guy), like why? Also, that you can only pick 2 pieces of kaas and worst. In Italy it is custom to invite people over for dinner or lunch, that’s normal to give a lot and not ask a Tikkie for that. If you don’t invite people for dinner, it could almost be rude in Italy, whereas in The Netherlands they are pretty “gierig” when it comes to that.

  • Dutch snacks are amazing, but the kapsalon is really awkward (still delicious though)

  • The “HUH?” when Dutchies don’t understand something or are in shock.

  • The intensive scheduling. They should ban that. You always have to ask in advance whether Dutchies can meet, you can never spontaneously ask them to do something the next day.

4. Life hacks in The Netherlands (for example: Where to buy cheap groceries? How to find apartments? How to get into The Netherlands in the first place):

Not really life hacks, but you can easily get groceries via the Gorillas app (and they deliver within 10 mins). Nijmegen itself is way cheaper than other big cities, so that’s a good one.

5. What are the must sees/ must do’s in The Netherlands?

A’dam for at least a week, TRTC, Utrecht, actually all big cities and must do’s are all the Dutch events like Carnival and Koningsdag! I already got an orange T-shirt, so I really hope this year it will take place.

6. What was your experience with The Road Trip Club? It’s amazing! It’s a great way to discover places that you wouldn’t normally visit yourself. The Road Trip Club also brings people together. Sabine and Andrea really give a personal touch to the activities, which is such a beautiful part of the whole experience!

7. And last, but not least: What’s your favorite Dutch word?

“Swaffelen” (You can look it up yourself what it means...) and “gezellig”

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