Nieuws - 7 november 2019

‘You can always bake a cake’


It was in the end phase of a course’s group work when I asked my fellow group members permission to miss one meeting due to another urgent appointment. They told me it was OK, but one Dutch group member added: ‘Well…. you can always bake a cake’.

Some of the other Dutch students nodded in agreement, but I was confused as I didn’t understand what they meant. I was wondering whether it was sarcasm or whether they were trying to say that my appointment was not necessary.

Dutch students expect you to compensate for missing group work by bringing a sweet treat

Later on I asked another Dutch friend and she said that this is a habit amongst Dutch students. When they are doing group work and someone is late or absent, that member should bring them a treat as a form of ‘compensation’, whether it is sweets, cookies, or a homemade cake. I felt relieved to hear this explanation. I could face my group again without feeling awkward.

And I surely ‘compensated’ for my temporary absence: we had a group dinner where I cooked a nice gado-gado.
Ranthi Whesi Umbarani, MSc student of Plant Sciences, from Indonesia

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NL: Compensatietaart

‘Je kunt altijd een taart bakken.’ Dat was de reactie die Ranthi Whesi Umbarani kreeg toen ze haar werkgroep meedeelde dat ze een bijeenkomst moest missen. De woorden brachten haar in de war. Waren ze sarcastisch bedoeld? Dachten haar groepsgenoten dat ze de kantjes er vanaf liep? Later hoorde de Indonesische dat het een gewoonte is onder Nederlandse studenten om iets lekkers mee te nemen als je een keer niet komt, ter compensatie. ‘Ik was opgelucht. En ik heb een lekkere gado-gado voor de groep gemaakt.’