Danny Chang, Bella Zio! My Experience in Utrecht, C5
“Bella Zio!”, which I learned from my foreign friend, means “Hi friend!” in Italian. This summer, I went to Utrecht, one of the cities in Holland, for a summer school. You may wonder…You learned Italian in Holland?! Yes! Sounds weird, right? I will explain it later. At the summer school, I joined a course named “Why We Need Bees?” The topic sounds interesting to me. And bees are important of the course! But today, unlike my many speeches before, I am not going to focus on bees. Because I spent lots of time exploring this city and making friends, I am going to share my experience during this journey.
Before I went to Holland, I was so excited, because I had never been to Europe. Now let me ask: What is your imagination about Holland? Do these pop up in your mind as well? Tulips? Windmills? Bicycles or…Red light streets? I chatted with my friends and they told me, “Hey! Danny! You better try marijuana (show picture). It’s legal in Holland! In Holland, coffee shop sold these. Like marijuana cake, marijuana cookies…” “Hold on! Hold on! Well…If I try them, I will tell you! Ok?” It seems that my friends are more interested in trying it than me. All in all, I didn’t search much information about the trip. I thought everything would be fine and I didn’t have to worry.
However, I started to panic after stepping out of the plane. I was tired and lonely. Fortunately, this negative feeling was whipped away after seeing the beautiful views and meeting the nice friends. Here! Did you notice that? I was the only person from Asia in this class! It was good to meet people who have the same interest as me- Entomology! Especially bees! Time flies when you’re having fun. Two weeks were really fast. And there were so many unforgettable memories, which I would like to share with you now.
There were many social activities after the classes. At the beginning, I missed one of the activities – canoeing. Still, my friends from Italy and Romania shared funny things about canoeing with me. For example, our Italian friend drank her coke and lay on the boat when canoeing. Her partner worked so hard but she just laid back and relaxed! At the same time, another team passed by and there were another Italian doing exactly the same thing! Besides outdoor activities, we also went to restaurants, pubs, and so on.
What’s more, I learned a few foreign languages. Like “Bella Zio!” during these activities. It’s fun to learn new languages! We also learned to describe food in different languages. It’s a lot of fun/ made us laugh out loud when we spoke Chinese together. I told my new friends that Taiwan is not Thailand, the food in Taiwan called Taiwanese food, not Thai-food, and also, it’s not part of China. I found that many Asians there tended to be shy and form a group within themselves. But for me, I tried to break this stereotype. Sometimes it was frustrating when they talked in languages that I couldn’t understand. It was equally dispiriting when I had lots of things to share, but failed to express them fluently. All these became a strong motivation to urge myself to sharpen my language skills. Sometimes, we have to put ourselves in the environment that made us feel bad. This feeling often stronger than reading the articles or be told by someone like “You have to improve your English.” Convert this feeling into a positive energy. And then, we are making progress!
Finally, there are two things that I had observed from the course I attended. I had learned not only about the professional knowledge, but also their philosophy.
The first thing was that, before the weekend, the professor said to me, “Danny! You took a long trip to visit here. Enjoy it! Don’t work on weekends!” Therefore, I not only traveled in Utrecht, but also went to Amsterdam with my classmate. I started to think that sometimes we should stop for a while. Work smart! Not just work hard!
The other thing was in Holland. I could sense my classmates passion in this research when we worked together. They were not afraid to ask questions. I thought this was different with Taiwan. In Taiwan, some students who study in the subject which they have no passion with but they think they are. We care a lot about scores, and students are often not sure of what they really have passion with. We have to know what we don’t know. This is really important! To me, Entomology is really a right choice for me.
This was my first time to travel alone in Europe. And I’m sure that if I have chances, I will certainly visit different countries in the future. There are always something more to understand, to learn, to be taught, and to live. TME.