The Cultural Shock – Cris Soto
“Well technically I didn’t really live in Spain, before moving here. I’m born Spain, lived in Singapore, then moved to the USA and been living in Germany since I was 8. So actually I’m from Germany, but I am Spanish..” Do you still get it?
Talking about cultural differences within the world, I guess that Cris knows a lot. Although she might not remember every place she has lived as clearly as others, she can surely tell a lot about the cultural differences between Spain, Germany and the Netherlands.
Cristina Soto, you might know her from Cedo’s Internationals committee. She is 20 years old and in her second year of psychology. Cris loves to go to concerts and festivals and enjoys music. But sports really stole her heart. Since she is barely unable to sit still for more than a couple hours, sports is something she often practices ´At school I played volleyball and basketball, but since I live in Holland, I go to the gym because I really need to move.’ She decided to go to Erasmus because of the program it offers and of course the campus vibe and let’s not forget Germany is not that far from here. So she can go home without having to travel for too long.
‘We went on trips to Holland a lot because it is just a few hours of traveling. We went to the outlet stores for example. I decided not only to go to the outlet stores here, but to go for the University.’ So for now, not much of a difference right? Before living in Holland she already had a picture of The Netherlands in mind and kind of already knew what to expect. She expected life in the Netherlands to be open and save. This was something she really wanted, since the thing she disliked about dusseldorf was the opposite. There she felt that people were a bit pretentious.
From book to real life
In Germany she learned from a schoolbook instead of using her knowledge in the real world. The students didn’t get to do things in such a practical way as we do here. This is something she sees as a difference since she studies here. Since Cris is an international at our campus, she feels accepted and helped even though she doesn’t speaks the language. In Germany people didn’t really try to speak English, which differs from Holland. She felt that Dutch and Spanish people interact in a similar way. ‘They are more open and willing to help, and are always interacting on the streets with each other. But that is how I feel it ofcourse.’
Cris is Spanish, and learned a lot about her origin during her life. That is why she tries to compare Germany, Spain and Holland. Although the Netherlands is very international, and you can eat whatever you want, from whatever country. We cannot forget about the difference in food, because that is different in every country. What we called tapas here, isn’t the same as in Spain right? Or the language; how does Dutch sounds like for Cris? ‘Well Dutch sounds like dirty German.’ The public transport is really difficult according to Cris. ‘It is a nice system but not for tourists. And everywhere you look you’ll see people on bikes, not as a hobby, but as an actual transportation.’
After her bachelor Cris wants to master in Australia, but she’s sure to miss her beloved Rotterdam so she is still a bit indecisive. According to Cris is the Netherlands an open and save environnement, with people who are willing to help.
‘I am open for every opportunity, I wouldn’t mind living here.’