‘ I know the Dutch system is one of the best in Europe’

Antonia RaileanuStudent and Romanian national Antonia Raileanu loves fish, would like to visit the Apenheul and was a candidate in the 2014 local elections.

How did you end up in the Netherlands?
In 2010 I decided to continue my studies and pursue a Master’s degree in the Netherlands because I know the Dutch system is one of the best education systems in Europe. I applied to several Dutch universities and on my first trip to the Netherlands I ended up getting a place at the University of Twente to take a double degree Master’s programme in European Studies.

How do you describe yourself – an expat, lovepat, immigrant, international etc – and why?
I would describe myself as a European citizen. I don’t consider myself a typical Romania. I like to learn from other cultures and in the Netherlands I have plenty of opportunities to do this.

How long do you plan to stay?
I now call my place in Enschede home. I am a candidate on the list for the European elections for Dutch party ikkiesvooreerlijk and I am certainly not considering moving.

Do you speak Dutch and how did you learn?
Unfortunately, I don’t speak Dutch yet. I took several courses at the university and the city hall in Enschede. I want to learn but I haven’t had many opportunities to practice. At the university I studied in English, at work we speak English and my dutch friends are really happy speaking English. And if I want to ask for directions in Dutch I usually get an English reply. At the university we have a badge with the message ‘Spreek Nederlands met mij’. Maybe I should wear this more often.

What’s your favourite Dutch food?
I like fish a lot and of course I like Dutch fried fish. I’ve developed a tradition of going every Saturday to the open market to eat fish.

What do you miss about back home?
Spontaneity! In the Netherlands I have learned to be more organised and punctual. I like to plan activities and tasks but I also like to be spontaneous from time to time. I think that in Romania people tend to be less strategic and usually come up with last minute plans.

How Dutch have you become?
I would say that I adopted more from the Dutch culture than I realise myself – usually my friends from other countries see it better. I got used to cycling very quickly and now I find even short distances are impossible to walk. I almost like the cold Dutch lunch. It doesn’t take long and you don’t feel lazy after eating. As I said, I like to be more punctual, and now I expect everybody to be the same. I have also became more direct. I like to speak my mind and be honest!

What’s your top tourist tip?
I would recommend the island of Terschelling. Not many tourists know about the Netherlands’ five northern isles. Away from the crowed city, the island is a great place to relax and embrace nature. I even enjoy the ferry ride to the island.

Tell us something surprising you’ve found out about NL
I never knew that carrots are orange because they were cultivated as a tribute to Willem van Oranje.

If you had just 24 hours left in NL, what would you do?
Buy a year’s supply of stropwaffels! Then, I would fly a plane (I know that in NL you can get lessons to fly a plane), and the rest of the day I’d spend at Wallibi and the Apenheul. I have never been to the Apenheul, but I really like the idea of spending time in a wildlife park where you can interact with the animals.

Antonia Raileanu, 25, was a candidate in the EU parliamentary elections for ikkiesvooreerlijk.eu. She is a Master’s student in European Studies at the University of Twente, and intern at StudyPortals BV and marketing assistant part-time University of Twente.


DutchNews.nl has been free for 12 years, but now we are asking our readers to help. Your donation will enable us to keep providing you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch. You can donate via Ideal, credit card or Paypal using this special account [link].