I think what summarises for me
the cultural shock is… how spontaneous Dutch people aren’t. I actually myself became
a bit like Dutch. I am also very direct. But I know in Poland
for example… especially towards people who you do not know… you shouldn’t sometimes say some things. In The Netherlands, there is no limitation! For me it was like coming home. When I got to this country and I found out how direct people were, I was like: wow, these are my people! They tell you what they think. English are notorious for not saying what they mean. I am not the kind of person who can catch the meaning underneath the words. So it’s really good for me personally. When talking to my parents over the phone sometimes I explain things in a very direct and short way most efficiently as possible. They ask me: “Are you mad or something?” “Are you tired?” Because it’s just not normal for them. And I understand that. I noticed an ad at a train stop for clothes that the slogan was: “Fit in to stand out!” And that just caught me as something that I would never see in the US. That would just never happen. The US has so much more of a focus on you doing everything yourself than the Dutch culture. It seems like they feel more responsible as members of society. Here, people are just more easy going in a way. It’s just easier to approach. Did you experience culture shock when you came here? I don’t think people experience that. Of course we had some culture shock! They don’t like to share a lot. No, it’s 1 bitterbal 1 glass of juice. They are fun people to have drinks with, I think. They will end up all drunk and then singing André Hazes songs… … till 4 in the morning. Also, in Brazil we don’t have a time to finish. So you don’t plan anything after… because you’re not going to say to your guests, you know… “het is op!” They plan everything. And they are very well organised. They put everything in their agendas. So… let’s go out for a drink… and they get the agenda and they say… which day? It all boils down to the level of respect that people have for each other’s time. You need to be very observant… and not expect to just push your values on them. If you listen, and you observe, and you watch… you will be able to integrate and be able to work that much quicker with Dutch people. But I think that’s any society. If you don’t learn the language, you miss out on so much. You never really are going to fully understand the people that are living next to you. So, they are always trying to speak English with me… but it’s like, they start speaking in English with me and then 5 minutes later they speak in Dutch again. When there are those rare occasions where it’s just Dutch that people are speaking then it can be quite awkward. And it reminds me that I’m not really well integrated… and that I would like to be more integrated.