It really surprises me when people in the Netherlands tend to apologise for being even a minute late. In Ghana, where I come from, not being time conscious is a national issue. People simply do not respect time and this is reflected in delays in the commencement of well-designed programmes with strict schedules. Usually these are mere paperwork and people rarely pay attention to punctuality. In Ghana you owe nobody an apology even if you are 30 minutes late.
My first shock with regard to 'Dutch time' has helped me to reorient myself in my time consciousness. Now, in my second year of studying in the Netherlands, I try to always be on time. And if I am late, I simply say, 'Sorry I'm late, guys'.
Paulina Ayawah , Ghanaian MSc student of International Development Studies, Wageningen University.