When I came to Wageningen in the summer of 2012, I was happy that I had managed to escape the scorching sunny weather in Ghana. To my astonishment, my Dutch fellow students soon invited me to go outside with them to have our meeting... in the sun.
In Ghana, some people try to avoid the sun as though it was a disease. Others who can’t help it go about with umbrellas to create some shade. This is how I learned to deal with sunny days. You should have seen the surprise on my face in September 2012 when a Dutch colleague from an assignment group suggested that we sit outside in the sun and discuss our group work. I thought to myself, you must be totally crazy to even think that. But before this thought had completely registered in my mind, all the other four members of the group hopped out of their seats and headed for the sun. What was even more surprising was that many other student groups were sitting on the grass outside the Forum building, also basking in the sun!
It didn’t take long before winter showed up, and I immediately understood why I was the crazy one in September and not everybody else in my assignment group! Sun is a rare commodity in the Netherlands, and like any rare commodity, the sunny days must be celebrated and enjoyed. This June, there are many sunny days, and as has now become the norm for me, I am usually the first to suggest that my colleagues join me for lunch in the sun.
Antwi-Boasiako Oteng, PhD candidate in Human Nutrition and Health, from Ghana
Do you have a nice anecdote about your experience going Dutch? Send it in! Describ an encounter with Dutch culture in detail and comment on it briefly. 300 words max. Send it to email@example.com and earn twenty-five euros and Dutch candy.