July 15, 2011

Exchange Melbourne

My name is Rick Kraakman and I study International Business and Languages at the HES. For my exchange I have been placed in Melbourne, at the RMIT Uni. With this blog I will try to keep you up-to-date about all the things I do out here.

I arrived 2 weeks ago. When I left Amsterdam, it was 30 degrees..when I came to Melbourne, it was 5 degrees. That's when I realised that Australia actually has a winter..unfortunately. Melbourne has 8 hours of time difference so the first 2 days I had a bit of a jetlag. Most of the hostels out here are build for the summer because it is so cold in here! I have to sleep with 3 blankets, socks and a jumper! The first hostel that I was in was really bad! Dirty/smelly rooms, strange people, bad location etc. So after 4 days I decided to go to another hostel at which Im still in. When I arrived, Lidia (another girl from the HvA) was allready here so the first days she was kind of my tour guide.

The last 2 weeks I've been looking for rooms in the city. I could have applied for the RMIT campus but that should have cost me around 1200 euros..so I decided just to go and find something my own. Finaly, after 2 weeks I found a really nice appartment just outside the city center. I'll be living together with a 25 year old Kiwi (New Zealander). He looks nice, a bit boring maybe..but it was by far the best appartment I had seen in weeks! so I'll probably move in this Sunday.

The last 3 days I had the orientation days, the "get to know each other" session and it was really nice! In total there are 240 exchange and study abroad students out of 25 different countries and i think there are about 10 Dutch students. We received a RMIT bag with all kinds of brochures and stuff. A lot of people held a presentation (police, Lifeguards, RMIT clubs, Library etc) and we did some games to get to know each other. Yesterday was the last day and we had an AFL session (Australian football league). They first explained the rules of the game and afterwards we went out side to play "Footy". At the end they gave away 5 balls to the one who impressed them, and guess what..Lidia and I both got one! So that's already one souvenir that will return to NL. After the session we had the great Melbourne race and in the evening they hired a club and there was a party which was really nice!! During these days, and especially that night I met a lot of people and I am sure that this will going to be a great experience.

This is it so far. If you have any questions or something about my exchange, or your future exchange, don't hesitate to drop a message!


July 10, 2011

Tech Failure

This will be another vent about how much more frustrations we now have with the use of more and more electronic devices. Even though they are innovative and are supposed to work well and make our life easier, they still break down, ask us to format the disk or fail to connect to the internet and then I end up wasting my whole evening on trying to fix the problem, reading  a million forums hoping to find THE solution to my technical difficulties…

I always think that by trial and error I will somehow fix the problem. I am someone who does not give up easily and I am able to go on for hours but after countless desperate attempts of connecting my laptop to the internet or trying to open the external hard drive to watch another episode of Breaking Bad, that me and my husband are currently hooked on, I give up.

I give up and think about how annoyed technology makes me feel and how upset I can be. Our parents and grandparents did not have this annoyance at all: books or newspapers would not ask to be formatted or not allow you to access the novel out of the blue.

July 5, 2011

Tiniest ice cream in the world

It's not the first time that I feel the need to compare the Netherlands customer service to that of ... let's say... anywhere else...
This is the size of a normal (not tiny) scoop!
Actually today it wasn't so much about the service - as the product itself. Here in Amstelveen there are now 2 places to get 'real Italian' ice cream. The place we stopped by today was on Amsterdamseweg - I think it's called "Gelato"... (guess that means ice cream? :)). Anyway, a hot day, me and my two darling kids - and an ice cream shop - what could go wrong?
Well, the first problem is the line - a not too long line, but only one man behind the counter. And of course, no air conditioning in the store - although there was a little fan...On the upside you could say it gave us time to choose our flavors...
And my son asks for his ice cream, "Strawberry, and um... snickers." The man starts with the snickers and then put the strawberry on top. My son is too polite to say anything but afterwards tells me that he wanted the snickers on top. That's why he pointed to the strawberry first.

July 4, 2011

Poor resit results? Why?

When one of my colleagues said that students usually perform very poorly during the resit period, I thought it was an exaggeration, but when I finished grading the resit exam of one of my subjects today, where the passing rate was 20% I had to agree. It made me wonder, what happened? Even the bright students, did not do well. Ok, they passed, but that is not what I have expected.

Have students started their summer holiday even before the resit exam? Or are they taking the chance and hoping to pass without putting a sufficient amount of study hours into the exam preparation?

I also came across students who state that during the exam they had a total black out, although they studied really hard for the test. Is it also nerves? I can understand the stress and emotions like that, but if one has studied hard, weeks in advance, self-confidence will help you get through.

When grading I can see straight away who studied hard from what they write on the exam. Those are able to reproduce the textbook and apply the theory to practice. Those who did not study much try to write some common sense sentences and hope that it will be good enough to answer a question on motivational theory or leadership grid. This also brings me to the conclusion that sometimes students underestimate certain subjects, especially conceptual ones like management or marketing. What they forget is that those disciplines can also be very precise and very specific and that you need to know the theory to answer open ended questions and case questions too.

The magic button — Make Everything OK

The magic button — Make Everything OK

Just in case it's one of those days - like it was for me - then you should definitely press this link...

Have a good one!