June 22, 2024

“I haven’t had peanut butter and jelly yet,” Josefien van den Berg said, a 17-year-old exchange student.
The Netherlands native, or a “Dutchie,” as referred to by Wittenberg students, is here on her gap year, which is a year between high school and university.
“I came here mostly to have fun. I like all the free time,” van den Berg said.
It seems there are many differences between her home and the United States, but they were hard to put a finger on. For one, the Netherlands uses a different time system than America does.
“What we use, I think, is called military time here?” she said, posing it as a question.
In addition, van den Berg believes American sports to be far more intense than sports in the Netherlands.
“I should be at a game two hours early [here at Witt]. In the Netherlands, I show up when the game starts and that’s on time… It’s funny too that you have marching bands and cheerleaders. We don’t have any of that in Europe,” van den Berg said.
Van den Berg also shared some other odd occurrences she has experienced in her time in America.
“I never see anyone using knives here, ever. Of course with all of the excitement,” van den Berg said.
One might expect a young student to become homesick for family and familiar scenery, but van den Berg does not fit into that stereotype.
“I’m not homesick [but] I miss my dog,” she said.
Van den Berg had nothing but nice things to say when talking about Americans and the Wittenberg community as a whole.
“Everyone wants to be your friend and hear your story. It’s really nice and makes you feel welcomed,” van den Berg said.

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