Archive for July, 2012


Posted: July 28, 2012 in Uncategorized
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Photo by Shady Grove Oliver

Hello everyone~

This is just a quick post to say the course has officially begun!  The first student arrived tonight at Schipol Airport.  Despite the briefly-lost luggage issue, everything went smoothly.  I, for one, am very excited that things are getting underway.  In just a few hours, I head back to Schipol to pick up the rest of the students.  Then we’ll take the train to Utrecht, get all of our transportation cards (OV Kaartjes), deal with the jet lag (nap time, anyone?), and have an intro dinner tomorrow evening.

To all of the students– welcome to the Netherlands!  To all of the blog followers– welcome to the start of the program and thanks for reading!


Photo by Shady Grove Oliver

YES!  It’s almost time to fly to the Netherlands!  We’ve had a few questions from some of you that others might have as well…

1. If I want to travel during my free weekend, do I need to book that trip before I leave the US?

*No, you do not.  It’s likely the prices of flights/buses/trains will be the same now and in a week (or longer) so you shouldn’t miss any special deals.  When you get here, your intro packet will have useful websites and other info about inter-Europe travel, along with a revised syllabus.

2. Do I need to declare medications I’m bringing when I go through customs in Amsterdam?

*No, you do not.  Both over-the-counter medications and prescription medications are OK to bring and do not need to be declared.  You should be able to pass through the NIETS AAN TE GEVEN / NOTHING TO DECLARE line at Schipol Airport.

3.  What do I need to declare?

*You need to declare items such as firearms and controlled substances (not prescriptions) so none of you should have that issue.  You are no longer allowed to bring meat or vegetables from any non-European Union country into the Netherlands (even if it was purchased on an airplane or in an airport that is non-EU).  If you have any meat or veggies from the USA, leave them behind or eat them because if they are declared, they’ll be confiscated.

4.  Do I need to change money before I arrive?

*No, you do not.  When I meet you at Schipol, I’ll take you past the airport bank and you can do it at that time.


If you’ve got any other questions, feel free to ask.  See you all soon!

Groeten uit Nederland!  (KHROO-ten OUT NAY-dur-lahnd)

Greetings from the Netherlands!

Arrived in the lowlands this afternoon, waved hello to Amsterdam from Schipol Airport, hopped on a train and came to Utrecht.  Apparently brought the warm California weather along…but luckily it will be back to the high 60s / low 70s, overcast, and rainy Dutch weather by the time all of you fly in this coming weekend.  Treated myself to Dutch bread (tijger brood–tiger bread) and cheese (komijnekaas–Gouda cheese with cumin seeds) for dinner.  That would normally be a breakfast food–but hey, I’m jetlagging.

Just a few reminders and tidbits of info before you come:

1.  If you are accustomed to using a small, square, American-style washcloth, consider bringing one along as Dutch people use long, rectangular towels instead.  If not, doesn’t matter.

2.  As I’ll be handling most of the breakfast and lunch prep, please let me know [] if you have any dietary preferences or allergies.  For example, if you’re vegetarian but really hate celery, let me know so I don’t go on a crazy celery kick and make you sad.

3.  Don’t forget to bring a small umbrella or rain jacket (or be prepared to buy one here) as there is a 99.9999% chance of rain next week.


*I will be meeting you all at Schipol Airport and then bringing you back to Utrecht on the train.  If you are one of the 7:45am arrivals, you may have to wait for an hour or two for the others so bring a book!

*When you arrive at Schipol, you’ll go through the baggage claim and pick up your luggage, then exit into the main corridor of the airport/train station (you’ll most likely have “NOTHING TO DECLARE / NIETS AAN TE GEVEN” <–follow that sign out of baggage claim).  Immediately once you exit the baggage claim, follow the signs hanging from the ceiling to the “MEETING POINT”.  It is a HUGE red and white checkered cube in the central entrance to the main train terminal/shopping area.  If you get lost, just ask for the meeting point and someone will tell you where to go.

*I will be sitting on the meeting point and will be wearing bright pink tights, so hopefully will be hard to miss.

*There will be a place to change money from dollars to euros before you exit the baggage claim.  I’d suggest not changing money there.  Once you meet me at the meeting point, I can take you all over to the bank in the train terminal and we can do all the money stuff together.

*I’ll be providing you with a transportation card (called an OV Kaart) and will show you how to use the train ticket machines before we head out.

*Near the meeting point there is a place to buy postcards, lots of places to eat/snack/drink coffee, a phone store, pharmacy, etc…

*Tomorrow, you’ll all get an email with my Dutch cell phone # and Prof. Nyitray’s Dutch cell phone #.  Keep this with you–written down–in case you need it while you’re in transit.


Please comment on this post if you’ve read it.  We really want you to start interacting with the blog and I need to make sure all of you can access it/comment.  Let me know if you have any issues.  Thanks and goede reis (good travels)!