|Why, Mr Darcy, OF COURSE I want to come to the ball!|
Settling in from an administration point of view is also yet to be completed: I don't know if it is because things here just don't work as well as they do in Germany, or if it is because we are expats: Everything. Seems. To. Take. Ages.
I already mentioned the famous BSN in an earlier post, which is a tax/social security/citizen identy number. In order to get it you need a valid rental contract – which might take some time to get considering the housing market in Amsterdam. Then you need to get an appointment at the Gemeente for getting a BSN. Students like me can just show up, hand in their documents, and get their BSN within one week by mail. My Significant Other however spent 45 minutes on the phone talking to various clerks in various offices, just to get an appointment for handing in his documents some time in mid-November. It remains questionable how long he will have to wait after this appointment.
Without a BSN, it is not possible to open a bank account – or so I was told. In the end I did not need it at the bank, but it did take more than 10 days until I got the letter that I could pick up my PIN, which had not been sent to the bank branch where I had opened the account, but to a completely different branch further away. Ugh!
This bank account was necessary for signing up for gas and electricity, for getting a mobile phone contract, and most importantly for signing up for internet! Our internet connection will already be enabled „within 3 to 6 weeks“, possibly on November 3rd. How the hell am I supposed to procrastinate without internet?!
University is quite demanding as well – yes, I do have 2 days off every week at the moment, but trust me, I'm still not getting bored, since my courses are laid out in a way that we theoretically have to work around 40h every week. In practice, I had assignments due every thursday evening and every 2 weeks on friday, and since all of them were team assignments a lot of evenings during the week and most part of my „days off“ was spent coordinating and working with my teammates. I am still not sure whether or not to like the amount of teamwork we have to do here. One of my courses' grade is solely based on those group assignments, so it definitely sort of sucks to have others partly responsible for your grade. And there were definitely times when I had the feeling that I could have done the work faster and better on my own (ironically, that was for my Multithreading course – talk about synchronization overhead!). Then again: We can divide the work so I don't have to do the parts that I don't like (I'm completely fine with writing long text, but please don't have me do any diagrams!). And it does give me the opportunity to learn more about group dynamics, motivating others, etc. pp., all things which I might need when I'm grown up and want to manage projects. Haha.
At the moment I'm preparing, or rather: should be preparing, for the exam in said Multithreading course. The Dutch university system is a little different from the one we know in Germany (or at least: the one youknow; I've never attended a regular German university!): there are 2 semesters per year, both of them divided into 3 periods of 8, 8 and 4 weeks length. Typically students take 2 courses in the long periods, and 1 course in the short period, exams are at the end of each period. There is no real break between the periods and none between the semesters: only July and August are „free“, and 2 weeks around christmas and New Years.
Now, don't dare calling me a lazy student again!