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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Thursday night outs

To create a more social atmosphere between the colleagues working in our program, we have a monthly dinner at a fancy restaurant at the university called the University Club followed by brief presentations by students, just so that we know what everybody is working on. We generally have the dinner on Thursdays.

One of our colleagues having recently gotten a job wanted to celebrate so we decided to go out for a drink. It puzzles me why the Dutch students here always want to party on Thursday nights. What about Fridays? We still have work to do. I asked my Dutch colleague about it.Well, apparently students generally travel back to their homes on Fridays and are so particular about their family time that they do not want to ruin Friday evenings spending time with colleagues. I guess they still go to the bar but just with a closer set of people. :)

So we went to a bar to begin with and spent some time chatting. We talked about how the people here treat drugs with care. I am still amazed how the streets aren't filled with doped people. Nope! You wouldn't even know. To our Dutch friends staying in one bar wasn't enough. The streets being packed with bars, they wanted to move on to the next one soon. Well, I had work to do the next day. I came back home.

Mind your language - Eindhoven version :)

If you have ever seen the British comedy series - "Mind your language" you would agree that it is one of the most hilarious series ever. It is about adult students from different parts of the world, learning English as a foreign language and the slapstick comedy that they involuntarily indulge in as they mince the language in their own in way. Well, I had the proud privilege of being in one such fun class!!

I decided to take a Dutch course as soon as I started my program in TU/e. The class had people from Mexico, Spain, Germany, India (of course!), America, Greece, Italy, France and Nigeria. The group was meant mostly for PhD students so one can imagine the sort of geeks that this class had. There is something about learning a language. It takes you back to your more childish form as you begin to learn communicating from scratch.

The Nigerian guy was the hero of our class. He would answer ALL questions with - "Nee, dank je wel" (No, Thank you). The Spanish guy who was attending the class with his girl friend would just repeat all that she says, or simply " Ik ook" (Me too!). The most hillarious time was when a guy wanted to know how to propose to his girl friend in Dutch and he ended up practicing it with the guy sitting next to him who freaked out! We were in splits!!! One of our teachers would always speak in Dutch but she would also use a lot of sign language to make it easier for us to understand. We would half the time keep guessing what she was talking about. She would do the funniest of expressions. We not only learned the language but also got a lot of insight into the Dutch culture.

I just completed my Dutch written exam. I have an oral exam next week. I think I will pass :). Am contemplating whether I should take up the intermediate level course. Would I be staying here for more than two years?

Point to consider - For several of the grammar rules, we used this as the aid - "xtc koffieshop" :D Rings a bell anybody?
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