Monthly Archives: December 2008

No need for ‘Agur’, let’s say ‘Gero Arte’!

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It might be noticeable in this report that I don’t know where to begin when I have to write about my short Basque life. I’ve had just so many impressions en new feelings coming over me. It would be nice to describe every little conversations, every little thing that I’ve noticed on the streets and every little feeling that I had here in details, but I’m afraid that the printer would not contain enough paper for all of this.

This is a positive thing because it means that I am enthusiastic, I also have it when I am talking about something that I’m very font of. The talking goes to fast and it can go just on and on..

So be prepared for this final report about the Basque Country.

What I’ve learned

I start with what I have learned about the Basque people and their culture because it will explain a important cultural difference between the Netherlands and the Basque Country.

First of all I came here without any expectations. Information about the Basque Country in the Netherlands is limited and mostly based on opinions so it was as good as unfamiliar to me.

The only thing I did know was that I was going to a very different culture and this was what made me go. I love to read studies about different cultures and for that I am a big fan of history as well. The curiosity was big, the same goes for the hope of meeting some new nice people.

When I arrived it was pretty soon clear that I wasn’t in Spain. Even though everybody in the Netherlands just say that the Basque Country is the north of Spain and is therefore Spain.

The people here have told me multipul times that it was not Spain were I was living but the Basque Country. At first I thought that they were just being really nationalistisch. But the longer I was here the more I understood their attitude and I can imagen myself feeling the same about the Basque Country if I was a Basque myself.

In the Netherlands we never almost lost our language and it was never forbidden to speak Dutch, we don’t know discrimination in this way. The same goes for the Basque prisinors that have been put away in the other part of Spain. We haven’t experiences torture like this.

People from outside might think strange of Basques trying to increase the Basque language and feeling insulted when they are called Spanish but after being here for four months you understand that it is not because of Basques not being open to other cultures. My experiences here are the proof of the Basque people being very warm and open actually. They are open to other cultures and at the same time they have to protect their own.

The first step

Many times I felt that they thought of me as a strange person, they held back on me. In the at the first week this could feel like a insult sometimes but soon enough it is clear that it is just all about showing the effort. Take the first step and make friends on who you can always fall back is my opinion about Basques.

 

From day one I have been meeting people here. My Basque teachers, colleges, local shops and bars employees, erasmusstudents, lagunas, classmates, housemates and friends for them and so on! The meetings didn’t stop and that is one of the reasons that is making me sad for leaving because I would like to make more little adventures with the people I’ve met here.

With these new friends I made I´ve been travelling around the country a lot. During this travels we went to local fiestas, many nice dinners, their houses, their towns and to their lovely families. For me all these things have been nice little adventure on their own.

Good memories


A lot of memories are what I have left from all these adventures and I think that they are the kind of memories that will stay with me forever. This is because I’ve felt really at home for so many times by the way people have treated me here. Of course they are some things of which I disapprove but in general I must say that my experiences here where all very positive.

It is just how people opened up to me. This made a very big impact. The social being of the Basques is different compared to the social being of the one of the Dutch people. I was really surprised when we got invited to the family of Gorka for example for dinner, that he invited us for a weekend in Noja and to many parties with his friends and what I of course have to mention is the ‘Basseria’ that his family took us to. That was amazing and I felt so welcome by the owners of the ‘Basseria’ as well. Another good example is the dinner in the gastronomical club in Ellorio that our teacher Joxe invited us to. We were very lucky to know a member of the club true him because in that way we could join some locals for a really good and social meal like the people enjoy to have them here.

Another thing shows me how social people are in the Basque Country. One day I was waiting in the busstation and a womes said to me that it was raining very hard. “Yes, it is cold as well”, was my respons in Spanish. That was it, it meant nothing. But the next day she walk on the other side of the street and started to wave at me and shout “Epa” just because she recognized me.

To different

Things that I disapprove of are not things that people are personal responsible for, it are just things that people are used to over here, it are customs.

For example the custom of people not washing their hands after leaving the toilet. Surprisingly in most bars washing their hands isn’t even a option if they wanted to because there simply just is no soap. It is just normal to eat ‘pintxos’ with that same hands after using the toilet.

Another thing is all the joints that people smoke in bars. I’m not a smoker and I don’t mind people who do smoke but to smoke that much joint as the young people do here is really something I disapprove of. Smoking joints is just really unhealthy when you do it to much. It surprised me that people smoke cannabis that much here because it is illegal. In the Netherlands cannabis is legal but you can’t smoke it in any bar, just in some ‘coffeeshops’, they are especially made for using soft drugs like cannabis. Therefore it is strange to notice that people smoke joints over here in just any bar.

The bus connection with Arrasate is the last thing that I’m negative about. In Arrasate you are very depended of the bus connection and unfortunately the busses don’t go in the evening to bigger towns like Donostia and Bilbao. For this it was always necessary to watch the time and when we wanted to stay for a dinner in another city we needed to book a hotel or arrange a place to sleep.      

On the positive side, the ‘fiestas’ over here last all night long therefore taking the first bus back after them was no problem.

A thing that I don’t dislike but that still gets my attention sometimes is the distency of the Basque boys towards me. To the girls I was the first to say ‘Epa’ but after the first time they just come up to me with conversations. For the boys it’s different. When Tieme walks towards some Basque boys that we know they slap him on the shoulder and everything and when I follow they are suddenly queit and give me a shy ‘Hello’ and ‘how are you’. It is not that they are not nice, some made me feel very welkom, but it’s just a cultural difference that has to do with the Basque shyness I guess.

The same goes for people over here living with their parents untill they are 30. Strange, noticeble.. but of course acceptable!

The same

Something which reminded me of the Netherlands was living in a flat with students because I’m used to that way of living and it was a good thing that I had two Basque and one Dutch student for housemates. I think we had a very good time together. We are all in to cooking and I can just remember a few meals in which I wasn’t companied by my little family over here. Basque I’ve learned a little, it was very nice to use it on the streets for now and if I had planned to live here longer it would be nice to learn some more Basque even though it is difficult for me to learn.

I’m happy for learning a little because the respond of people on the streets was so good when I tried to use the little Basque I know.

As for my Spanish, my knowledge of it is a lot better. When I came here I didn’t know much more then ‘Holla’ and now I am able to have conversations in Spanish. I think my housemates carry quit a responsibility when it comes down to my improvement. On the other hand I’ve noticed there English improving so for the improvement of language skills it was good for all of us to live together.

What I love the most

The love that Basque people have for food! The lunches and dinners are all well prepared and shared by good company. Often it seems that eating is the most important thing of the day here and the relaxtness that comes with it is very nice. You can see that socialising by dinner makes people very happy people over here. I am a big fan of cooking so it was no problem at all to participate in this Basque tradition! The Basque kitchen is a very fine one and I am not going home without my little book with recepies that I have written down during my stay here. The beautifull country view in the Basque Country is a thing that I will have to mention here as well. Just looking up the mountains, when there is a little sun of course, gives me such a nice and relaxed feeling. For sure I am going to miss the Basque view!!

Conclusion

My Basque experience is a experience that I will never forget. I have loved getting to know the Basque culture and to be a part of it for a while. For people who don’t know the Basque culture I feel sad because it is a very interesting one in which you can feel very at home.


That is why I am not saying ‘Agur’ but ‘Gero Arte’ because in my mind I can never really leave the Basque Country.

Basque with a French twist

  • Menéame0

Last weekend together with three Erasmus friends we went on a trip to the other part of the Basque Country, we went to Iparralde.

My French Erasmus friend was driving and told us on the way their that the French part would be very different from the Spanish one. At first I thought that he was just saying that because he is a Frenchman but once we arrived I could see and feel some differences yes.

We visited Bayonne, St. Jean de Luz, Biarritz and some little villages and castle that we came across. The beautiful views and beaches are just as amazing as the ones of the Spanish part. But the style of the cities is totally different. Most of the houses in Iparrelde are white with red balconies and doors, very charming.

Adriana and me with the waffles at the Christmas market

Adriana and me with the waffles at the Christmas market

The people on the street made a difference as well. Most of them spoke French and they were dressed in a different style then the people on the Spanish part. But the Basqueness on this part could not be unnoticed. The man wore barrets, Basque words were used and Basque food was served.

Nor could we escape the lovely Basque rain that we have felt on our heads the last month! The first day it rained like crazy and we were forced to enter bars and restaurants for food en drinks..what a bad thing to do! ;)

Saturday morning we walked true Bayonne and noticed a nice Christmas market! Me and Adriana, my Mexican friend, walked around it and tasted some delicious waffels with a lot of chocolate to make sure that our diets were ruined. A glass of ‘ Vine Chaud’ sounded good after the waffels. We went to the wine stall and orderd ‘ Deux vine chaud sil vous plaît’ when the man respond with a joyfull `a dos vino caliente!´. He turned out to be Basque and from that point we noticed that there were more on the streets! The ‘ Agur’ was all around us again!

At St. Jean de Luz

At St. Jean de Luz

In the afternoon we went to Biarritz, were it was raining as well. It was a charming little city with a lot of Christmas decoration and a lot of ‘ Olentzeros’ ! Here we watched our first match of rugby. What seems to be the most popular sport in French. I could just see that by the look on the face of my French friend. It made his day! Considering I’m not a big sports fan the rugby is not so bad to watch and it’s even funny when there is a nice tackle going on.

In the evening we went to a nice restaurant in Bayonne that turned out to be Basque! Here I order a stake that turned out to be huge! It felt like I was eating like a man and it was damned good for once. The guys order one kilo of steak for two and finished it all (including a piece of mine). We were very stuffed but we were in France so a big plate with cheese and marmalade and some more wine followed.

Very satisfied we walked on the streets a few hours later when we heard some trumpets and laughter. Attracted by the sound we ended up by a little bar were a live band was playing very cheerfully. The bar was stuffed with drunken and happy people and of course we squeezed ourselves between them. We had a good time filled with rum-orange shots and a huge can of beer that the bar women gave to her guest for free.

Some playing at the beach

The next day we were lucky enough to feel the sun shining on our heads. We started with a nice French breakfast and went to St. Jean de Luz by car. Here we played on the beach, saw some local dancing, made a big tour by foot while enjoying amazing views and ate some crepe before we continued our tour to whatever we would come across.

With a mad Frenchman behind the wheel we came across a lot! After making 10 spins at each round a bout we saw some castles, stopped to enjoy the view at a cliff and ate some cheese and wine on our way back in Hondarribia.

A castle we came across

A castle we came across

The good food, amazing views, all the Christmas decoration which made de towns very charming and of course my crazy companions made it a perfect weekend!

My Basque friends!

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I got the feeling i made so many friends since I’m here! It’s really nice to go somewhere new and just automatically meet people, just by going to places. It makes you very aware of your social skills and it gives you a nice opportunity to set up a fresh network of friends. It’s not that I have something to run away from in my other life in the Netherlands but in a way you feel like you’re starting all over again, which is kind of fresh really!

This meeting new people is good for people I think. I citated this from a website that talks about loneliness:

‘For a variety of reasons, many people spend the majority of their time at home, isolated from social interaction and coping with loneliness. This includes seniors and stay-at-home parents, as well as people with debilitating injuries, diseases or disabilities. Loneliness can also affect caregivers.’

You see, it’s not such a good thing not to meet anyone, and here, really, you make friends very easily, like me and all the other Erasmus people did! And you know, it doesn’t even matter if the friendships are life lasting or not.. They might be, you never know. From some people you can just naturally expect less than from others. The thing I really want to say is, it has been great here and I want to thank all people I met here, cause they made the difference!

No ‘Sinterklaas’ in the Basque Country

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‘ Sinterklaas..¿Que esta?,  the not Dutch readers must think right now. Actually according to the Dutch children you must know him. Yes, it is a person and he is suppose to be one of yours!

'Sinterklaas' on his horse and the ' Zwarte pieten' aside

Dutch children until the age of 7 or 8 are being told a story about a holly man named ‘Sinterklaas’ or ‘ Sint Nicolaas’ who will come from Spain each year to celebrate his birthday with them in the Netherlands. ( I know that you are from the Basque County but Dutch children don’t know the difference.) My small cousins have asked me when I just arrived here if I had seen ‘Sint Nicolaas’ yet.

His birthday is today on the 5th of December but he always arrives more early around the half of November. In every town (yes very possible) he will arrive by train or ship and he will bring with him many of his helpers who have a black skin collar (just like all the people in Spain yes), they are called ‘ Zwarte Piet’ which means ‘Black Pete’ and the most important ones have names like ‘Perdro’.

The steamship with presents

The steamship with presents

 The story goes that he arrives to the Netherlands by a steamship from Spain and this ship is always filled with lots of presents and sweets for the children that have been good that year.

Every town receives the guy with a big parade and from then till the 5th of December the children are aloud to put their show under the chime every night before they go to bed. The next morning they will receive a little present or some sweets that ‘Zwarte Piet’ has put in there shoe. They say he comes down the chimney while Sinterklaas wait on the roof with his horse. Many children leave some carrots with their shoes at night for the horse.

On the 5th of December, the night of his birthday families all come together for ‘ present night’ . While the family is sitting in the living room their will suddenly be a noise upstairs or outside. Quickly they go and look to discover where it came from and then they will discover a big bag full of presents that ‘ Zwarte piet’ left behind for them.

During the stay of December quit often schools gets visit from ‘ Sinterklaas’ and his ‘ Zwarte Pieten’ who will throw candy inside the class room. The same happens on the streets, it is a happy time for the children.

That is at least when they have been good sweet little children. The story goes that when you have been bad you will get slapped with the ‘roe’ 

The 'roe' of 'Zwarte piet'

The 'Roe' of 'Zwarte Piet'

 and if you have been really naughty ‘ Sinterklaas’ will put you in his big bag used for presents and take you back with him to Spain.

I think that over here you have something similar going on? It is a fellow who comes down from the mountains in December every year with presents for the children.

Olentzero in Bilbao

Olentzero in Bilbao

 He is called ‘Olentzero’ and is the Basque replacements for ‘Santa Claus’  around Christmas I understood. The idea of him bringing presents for the good children and mine cols for the naughty ones is quit similar to the idea around or ‘ Sinterklaas’. The only thing that I’ve heard and can’t believe is that he drinks and smokes (pot)? Muy interesante haha.

A well, over here I almost forgot that it is ‘Sinterklaas’  today. This is because I know it’s fake but..
When I look at some pictures of parades this year I do remember how exciting it was when he was coming to town and when I heard a knock on the door hoping it was ’ Zwarte Piet’ with candy back then, when I was still a  little sweet and unknowing girl.

A small addition to the previous:

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A traditional Dutch Sinterklaas poem:

Nicholas, I beg of you,
Drop something into my shoe,
Something sweet or sweeter.
Thank you, Saint and Peter!

Put your long red mantle on,
St. Nicholas, good and holy man,
Drive your sleigh from Amsterdam
And find us quickly if you can.

Vascos ecologicos?

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Know what’s funny? Before I came here, people told me: ‘Oh, you’re going to southern Europe, people are very polluting there!’ Well, I wasn’t born on Mars so I knew a little something about the cultural differences in the ecological aspect. It’s for a reasong that they call us and the Scandinavians ‘Eco freaks’ here.

On the other hand, they were a bit right. I can still be stunned if I see someone in a public place, where there’s plenty of trash bins, just dropping his rubish on the ground without thinking. In our clean little country it’s just rude to do that! People might even tell you something, and you don’t want to do it in front of a policeman!

But I think a slow shift is coming up over here, it will take a while to get it into the minds of people I think though. in Arrasate for example they have these big bio diesel gathering points, where people can drop their used cooking oil. Great stuff! I never thought of that, but since people are quite fond of oil here, it’s not such a bad idea. And they use it too, you know.  In kitchens you see these smutty, greasy glass jar filled with oil. Way to go Arrasate!

Another thing they do correctly is that they seperate their trash quite neatly. It nearly confuses me sometimes but they do a good job. Well, I wished I could think of more, but I haven’t really seen much more.

It’s a shame, cause especally here, Basques have so much to lose. But maybe they take nature for granted sometimes, since it’s there anyway..  For example the food; the ground is so furtile and rich here, you could grow anything.. from cold country stuff like potatoes and carrots, to kiwi’s and oranges. And I know that they realize that Basque farm products are brilliant, but hey, Eroski has it all, neatly packed and sliced, easy peasy.. Let’s hope that in the future people here will realize that a bit more. There is some work to be done here Basques!

La amor y el hombre Vasco

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I’ ve mentioned making observations and writing about them before and next to that It wouldn’t be logical for me not to write something about ‘El Hombre Vaso’, the Basque boys, since I have been in the Country for more then three months now as a single and curious 20 year old Dutch girl.

“ For sure you are going to meet a nice guy over there!´´ and “Introduce me to your new lover when you come back´´ was what my friends joked to me about before I went on my little adventure in the Basque Country.

Two friends and me with a big hart

Two friends and me with a big hart

Actually trying to meet a nice guy was the last thing on my mind when I came here and I’ve been so busy with other things that the focus hasn’t been on the chicos over here but of course there were some moments in which it indeed was.

Most of the students I’ve met here a single at the moment. They did had a relation once, a serious one but since then dating hasn’t been in the picture I’ve been told. I’ve asked them if they don’t miss the attention or don’t feel like meeting somebody nice but they answer by all of them was in the negative. They are to busy with their family and friends who are very important to them and it would be a waste in their eyes to spend time on a stranger just to find out if you really like him.

This is very strange to me because all my single friends in the Netherlands go to have a drink or see a movie with a nice boy or girl that they have just met quit often. They are into the person and are trying to get to know him or her in this way. Actually I think they don’t even call it dating anymore because it is just so common to do. I remember myself drinking coffee, cooking dinner together, watching a movie, going on a pick nick, going to the park, going to a carnival or just to a pub with a guy more then once and the meetings were just agreed on like it was a normal thing to do. Afterwards a relation or a friendship or just some more nice meetings can come out of these kind of meetings.

Then there is the flirting differences. When I ask a Basque girl in a bar or just on the streets like ”Hey what do you think of that guy just passing by?” Most of them don’t know how to respond or turn a little red when they do.

I never see chicas and chicos making eye contact on the streets either. There are now little flirtations going on or people here are even more sneaky then the Dutch, that could be. For sure the girls over here will go crazy in the streets when the visit the Netherlands. So often my friends tell me about the hunk or gorgeous girl they made eye contact or even a little chat with just in the supermarket or on the train. Flirting is just part of being single in my country, people feel good about it and they love to talk about it.

But people, also some young ones, do have relations here. I wonder how they meet each other then if flirting isn’t such a big thing because flirting can lead to dating quit easily.
For sure the relations that young people have over here are quit different then the ones Dutch young people have. Here I’ve been told that the lovers meet each others once a week or even less. They see their friends more often and will never put them aside for a relation.

In the Netherlands I know for sure that my female friends would kill there boyfriend is he only makes time for here once every two weeks.  Of course it can happen that school and everything has to go first some times but if it has to be on a regular base it won’t be good for the relation.

What also is quit a difference is how young people in a relation can meet over here. As for as I know almost everybody lives with his or her family till they around 30. How can you have your privacy in that way?

In my country it is normal to move out of the house and rent a small one or just a room for yourself when you are between 17 and 22. This can also explain why there is more dating going on. You can just take it easy with meeting somebody and relax in your or the place of the others without being obligated to introduce him or her to your whole family right away. Only when you think he will be worth it you tell your parents about who you’ve been dating and bring him home for a meeting if you feel like it.

It has been good for me to always have something else then chicos on my mind over here because I don’t think that me and a Basque boy would fit together. Don’t get me wrong the once I’ve met are quit funny and sometimes sweet but the culture differences are just to big. To me they guys over here come over as very distant and the dependency that we both are used to would be to different. Not to insult but I can’t stand a guy living with his mother above 25. When I was 17 I got my own place. I’m very used to taking care or myself and a boy who let’s his mother take care over him just seems very immature to me. I know the government doesn’t financially supports students like or does so that we can rend a place more easily but still..

And next to that it helps that I’m 1.83 it doesn’t make me interesting for the smaller boys here and vise versa.

Maybe it seems like I’m complaining but actually I’m not. It is very good to not so spend time on meeting somebody nice because know I had been able to infest my time in really enjoying everything that has been going on in my Basque live the last months. Actually even now I’m still running out of time..

Arrasatterdam?!

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Yesterday I was just walking on the streets in Arrasate, minding my own business, when my nostrils were invaded by a familiar smell.. Is that weed? But I thought: Hey I’m the Dutch guy here, and clearly I’m not smoking! Who is that?’ Well, just some guys, having a smoke in the streets.. That’s is not even allowed in the center of my town due to a bye-law!

But this is Arrasate, so apparently it is okay. Thereafter, I went to a bar with some Basque friends, only to be confronted with the same damn smell! ‘In a bar?!’, I asked them. And yes, nobody seemed to be bothered by the joint rolling youngster at the bar. Another thing which is not done in the Netherlands. Okay, since the smoking ban you can’t smoke anywhere, but even before that.. Smoking weed in a bar was not done. For example, the bar I used to work had you kicked out instantly!

What a surprise, small villages tend to be more conservative, but in the same time there’s a feeling of anarchy. And EVERYBODY does seems to do it! I guess the ‘legalization’ in the Netherlands proved effective, cause I think we don’t find it that interesting for that reason. While here it’s illegal, but everybody does it and no one seems to care about it happening.

So when homesick in Arrasate as a Dutchy, just close your eyes, open up your nostrils and feel at home.. Welcome to Arrasatterdam!

20 minutes of Basque fame

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If you where listening to the EITB Euskadi Radio today then you might have heard Tieme and me tripping over our Spanish in the program of Roberto Moso.

He asked us last week if we would like to be in his radio program to talk about our blogs and experiences here, of course we responded with a yes right away..and then we understood that the whole interview would be in Spanish. (We had to swallow for that one.) As curious as we are we accepted in Spanish as well. (”Claro”)

But ”Ai Ama”, can I get a second chance please??

On air I felt like a little girl afraid to speak so I went back to my knowledge of English quit easily. And now, a hour later I’m thinking about so many things that I could have talked about. For example my housemates Aitor and Rebeka who are ”muy malo”!

My housemate Aitor

My housemate Aitor

(Got you guys in my blog now anyway) Next to that they are really funny persons to live with and they don’t know it there selves but their actually also kind of sweet!

Rebeka

Rebeka

 

 

 

 

 

When we talked about our favourite food here I didn’t even mention ”tortilla de patata”, all the dishes with vegetable in a layer of eggs and the finger licking ”jamon” over here!

Next to that I could have mentioned the names of all our friends over here and why they are our friends. For example there is Gorka, who took us to his family and on a very interesting trip to a old farm. Who I used to translate for me in the beauty salon when I wanted to cut my hair (poor boy) and who took us to a very lovely weekend in Noga together with his friends Danny and Itziar.

Gorka

Gorka

Then there are of course all the people that we met true or housemates like Xabi, Gotzen, Mirian, Iker and so on. This are the people who know how to have a good time in a crazy kind of way! And I could fill the page with just naming everybody that I can see as my friend over here now but I think they know without me mentioning them.

On the Radio program Roberto talked about our blogs, he had translated some phrases in Spanish. They sound more interesting in Spanish to me so that was very nice to hear! (And I was glad about understanding my own writing in Spanish.)

Ah and another thing that I forgot to mention on air..

”Soy innocente”!
:) A very nice experience!

Special Erasmus study

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The best way to get into a different culture when you are a student that is on one hand busy with its study and on the other hand not rich enough to travel around the word by its self is to grape the opportunity of a foreign study when your university offers one.

Almost every University in every country offers foreign studies to their students. The Universities arrange mutual contracts with different Universities in different countries and they make sure that their students have a good opportunity when it comes down to a foreign study.

Between the Basque County and the Netherlands there is this kind of a mutual contract. Each year two Dutch students who follow the study communication can study in the Basque Country for four months and visa versa. The two Universities who exchange students are the Dutch one Windesheim in Zwolle and the Basque one Mondragon in Eskoriatza.

My mentor Joxe and Dutch co student Tieme

My mentor Joxe and Dutch co student Tieme

You should know about this mutual contract because it is quit a unique one. The University of Mondragon is receiving foreign students just for the second year now. The Dutch University is more familiar with the process but also received their first Basque students last year. Neither do many Basques spent their holidays in the Netherlands and the same goes for the Dutch spending there holiday in the Basque Country.

In the Netherlands people do know Spain but there are just a few who know what the Basque Country really is. Wikipedia offers some help when interested but getting a really good impression when you are in the Netherlands is almost impossible.

That’s why going to the Country as a Erasmus student is the way to get in touch with the country. It won’t be like studying in your own country with just some different classmates and another view when you look outside. Your whole life will be up side down for a few months and the Erasmus study in the Basque Country is quit incomperable with Erasmus studies in other European countries.

It is a quit extraordinary one because the treatment of a Erasmus in the Country is very different from the treatment that the foreign students get for example in the Netherlands. There the teacher won´t make a effort for picking the students up from the airport like or teacher did here. There you will not get pointed out a co student to introduce you to the country and help you find your way in it. There teachers will not take you out to a private lunch to talk about how you are doing and they will not take you with them by car to show you the country themselves and so on.
Next to that the school really makes sure that the Erasmus get noticed and introduced with all the local students. They even put pictures with a little personal introduction from the Erasmus next to the entrance of the school.

Pictures of Erasmus

Pictures of Erasmus

This of course has to do with the numbers of foreign students that the university receives. It is a big advantage that Mondragon only receives a few students from abroad a year because in this way they have the time to really show there personal side to the Erasmus students. They invest much time in them which makes the students feel very welcome and at home.