I'm sitting in my room right now having a sandwhich for lunch between my two classes today. For those who I havent told yet, I only have classes 3 days a week here. One class on Mondays, two on Tuesdays, and two on Thursdays. The way the Dutch system works classes ussually meet only once a week but for a 3 hour block of time at each of those meetings, so its really about the same amount of actual in class time as at Oberlin, but it is just all combined into one session, which leaves many more large blocks of open time for students to do independent study, or just party a lot. One thing I've noticed since being here is that the Dutch, especially students at UvA, love to party. It seems as though every night there is some sort of party happening that is connected to the University in some way, it's a little bit wierd for me because I really dont consider myself too much of a partier, so it's something that will take a little getting used to.
At first I was a little frightened of the long blocks of classes, and especially of having two 3 hour classes in one day, but after sitting through my first one, I dont think it will be that horrible. I think most professors keep the classes going for just under an hour at a time before giving a 10 minute coffee or cigarette break (everyone here smokes cigarettes, another thing to get used to after coming from NYC where you can no longer smoke in any establishment) and then the class resumes for another 50 minutes or so before another break is called. My professor for my morning class today, Russia and Europe is slightly different in that he keeps class going for just over an hour, then gives us a 20 minute break, then resumes for another hour and a bit, so that class is only 2.5 hours of our 3 hours block. After just one class meeting, I think it seems like a fairly good system.
So far I've had two classes, Russia and Europe, and Beginning Dutch. I really like both of the professors and I think that they are both going to be great courses. This afternoon I have my first session of Intro to Sexual Studies, and then on Thursday I have Social Trends, Social Policy, and Social Problems of the Netherlands for the first time, so I'm looking forward to both of those classes as well.
I really love the city so far, its small enough that you can bike anywhere (and I have a bike here also) and you can also walk to most places within the center of the city. I'm living on a street called Plantage Muidergracht, which is very residential and not very touristy at all, so that's really nice, as is my room and my view which you can see from my earlier post. I live about two blocks away from the zoo and about 5-10 minutes on bike from the city center. I'm starting to get used to living alone, which is something I've never ever done before, last night I cooked myself dinner for the first time instead of settling for cereal and some fruit, it was actually pretty yummy considering I had no spices or anything to flavor it with besides olive oil and salt. I made myself some chicken and peppers with some delicious avocado which I ate all together sort of like a salad, but it no lettuce.
Alright, I hope I haven't bored any of you too much.
This is a picture of me with Kellan (left) and Alanna (right) at the zoo.