Inburgering Orientation, Or When Culture Shock Finally Hit Me and I Burst into Tears.

This has been a rough week and it is only Tuesday! Yesterday, I had my Inburgering Orientation. I was going to write this post then, but thought that maybe things would seem better in the morning. They haven't. Let's start at the very beginning.

You might recall from my last post about Inburgering that I was waiting for the letter telling me at what time and where my Inburgering Update would be. I finally got that letter last week. My orientation was to be from 1pm-3pm. The location, is really hard to get to by public transportation. Already not ideal. I went to look on Saturday so I would make sure I didn't get lost on the way to the school. It took me 45 minutes by bus. 

Now to the actual orientation. This was fine, the lady was really nice, but people were very disappointed because they only offer 3 classes in the morning, a really slow class, an A1-A2 class, and a B2 class. I know this probably doesn't mean much to you, but these are the different levels they have for learning Nederlands. I was put into an afternoon class for 0-A1, even though when I tested I was between A1 and A2. When people asked about the evening class, they were told there was only one and it was really advanced. Shit, I need to switch to evening classes in September because, I am going to school. Freak out moment number 1. To be fair, my contact did tell me to call her when I am ready to switch, so I am hoping at a different location, they will have an evening class that fits me. I also switched to the A1-A2 morning class, because I looked through the other book and I knew it all.

One of the weirdest things I think about Inburgering is that you join a class already in session. My afternoon class is already on chapter 5, and my morning on chapter 3. Doesn't language build on itself? Doesn't it seem like you are already setting up people to fail? Wouldn't you want to make sure people have the basics down if you are paying the 5,000 Euros I read somewhere that the inburgering process costs per person?

Also, I start classes next week, but the school is on vacation from July 7th until August 27th. So, I will be in class for four weeks and then out for a month an a half. I'm going to forget everything! So, basically, I was so frustrated with the worry that I might have to teach myself an entire level of dutch to be able to take the evening class, that I came home and cried my eyes out. Because, here is the thing, I want to be a part of society here. I want to get a job, I want to attend school and better myself so that I can be a contributing member of society. Why does it have to be so hard?

To compound my frustration, I also found out that I might not be entitled to as much financial aid for my HBO program as I was originally told. Don't get me wrong, I am appreciative that I get any. But when you were told to expect 509 Euros a month, but you might actually only get around 250, that is kind of a big difference. This on top of the sorry you don't speak Dutch email I just got from the student employment agency in Utrecht. I guess I will try the one at my Hogeschool which I was told help International Students. But all this together makes someone even with my resolve that this is where I am supposed to be, curl up into fetal position and wonder if I can even afford to stay here with the love of my life. 

Don't worry, I am a fighter, I'll make it through, but why's it got to be so hard? 

Words of encourgment greatly appreciated! 


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Hang in there Kaitlin, you'll figure it all out soon enough. With all of these wild moving abroad experiences just remember that a challenge is also a chance for positive, personal growth (sometimes I need to remember that idea too) :)  Now, this post has me thinking, "Oh goodie, I just can't wait to get my courses started!" HA!

I know, I am learning to be more patient that is for sure! Thanks for letting me call and vent!

Ugh, that sounds awful. I don't think much serious thought or research goes into the design of the whole inburgering process. But don't let that stuff make you feel like you can't be a part of Dutch society! As time goes by, you'll feel more and more at home, whether you've satisfied the government's silly checklist or not.

I think honestly the inburgering process wouldn´t bother me so much, if I weren´t also trying really hard to go back to school in September. I also think it was just time for me to go through some culture shock. Thanks for the wise words of encouragement!

I'm sorry things are turning out this way, but I believe it will work out. Most of what you seem to be stressed about are things and situations you are anticipating to be difficult or impossible. You may find that you don't forget everything during break, and that you pick up what you've missed in class really easily. You may find that the instructors work with you to catch you up. And things may work out just fine with switching to an evening class later on. Don't assume the worst when there are unknowns. Just do what you can and take things one day at a time. It can seem overwhelming if you try to think of all the possibilities and all the things coming up all at once. Just do things task by task, face each challenge as it arises, and solve each problem as they become real problems. Don't dwell on what COULD happen, but what IS happening. And right now you are living in Europe with the love of your life and you are taking steps towards completing your goals. Don't let potential future obstacles become obstacles in the here and now. I really believe it will be okay and you will overcome all that actually happens. I'll be praying for you, as I have been. :)

The words of encouragement that may not sound great but have always come back to me are "it's a blessing in disguise". you learn, grow, and realize you made it through the proverbial hitting the spinning thingy and got through the otherside, you can take whatever they throw at you. 
Nowhere is perfect, not least of all this place, but hang in there and you will see it is all worth it since youve got a very good reason to be here! :)