Little did I know about the Netherlands before arriving in Wageningen. I soon found out it's surrounded by plenty of water, it’s even below sea level and almost every Dutch person can swim. I have been afraid of water my entire life and never learned to swim. I even hated the outings with my friends that involved a kayak, boat or anything else related to water.
Through a Dutch friend I found out about this Thymos swimming course for internationals. Initially I was reluctant, but after meeting the teacher and seeing there were other internationals adults at the course I signed up. In just two months I learned to swim and my teacher Natasha invited me to enter the exam. The idea of becoming a certified swimmer sounded fun and who doesn't like that extra bit of accolade ? So I said yes, without knowing what I was signing up for - until the day of the exam.
On exam day I was surprised with the ambience of the pool – all decorated, as if it was a big festival. My fellow participants were only 5 year old kids, their parents sitting around the pool area to witness their success. Since I was the only adult, I had to begin every drill of the exam – followed by all the kids. ‘Nobody knows me here, so just do your thing and get it done’, I said to myself.
However, my sneaky friends knew about my exam and to my surprise they were in the audience to cheer. I found out that the swim diploma is the very first exam Dutch kids will ever take and as a reward they get a medal and a diploma. It's a nice occasion to celebrate with family and you get some presents and an ‘ijsje’. I got the same from my friends. This typical Dutch experience will stay with me forever.
Suraj Jamge, Knowledge Valorization Officer, Corporate Value Creation (CVC)
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Toen Suraj Jamge naar Wageningen kwam, had hij een bloedhekel aan water en kon hij niet zwemmen. Via Thymos’ zwemlessen voor internationalen leerde hij dat hier alsnog. Of hij ook wilde afzwemmen? Welja, een zwemdiploma leek Suraj wel grappig - niet wetende dat afzwemmen hier gepaard gaat met allerlei rituelen: het feestelijk versierde zwembad, de trotse ouders, de diploma’s, de kadootjes. Eventjes voelde het ongemakkelijk om de enige volwassen afzwemmer te zijn tussen louter kids. Totdat Surajs vrienden in het zwembad bleken te zitten om hem een volwaardige afzwem-ceremonie te geven.