A Travellerspoint blog

March 2011

Peter's Blog Entry

EEBE Exchange to the Netherlands 2011

Planning for the EEBE project and trip to the Netherlands began months ago. This being my first trip outside of North America, I was very pleased to have the support of NSCC International for the travel arrangements so that I could concentrate on preparing for the project, meeting with the students that I would be travelling with and organizing the work I would be leaving behind in Canada for more than three weeks.
After a very long 24 hours of cars, planes, buses, trains and taxis it was a great relief to walk through the doors of the University Guesthouse in Groningen. The small apartment with a European minimalist style was very comfortable, I particularly enjoyed the heated towel rack in the bathroom which came in handy after biking in the rain. The room had a typical view of a narrow biked lined Groningen backstreet. (see photo "University Guesthouse")

It took several days to truly overcome the jetlag, but it was worth the exhaustion to see the cobbled streets of Groningen where bikes rule the roads. With few cars in the city centre, I was impressed by most of the vehicles I saw, all compact, almost all diesel powered, and parked and driven with great precision, although with very little regard for whether they were on the right or left hand side of the street.

Days were filled with the opportunity to work with new colleagues from Hanze University in the Netherlands, IT Carlow in Ireland and Holland College on Prince Edward Island. We not only got to work on the EEBE project, we also discussed our work, procedures, infrastructure and industry involvement at our own institutions. Eric Boer, Faculty at Hanze University, was instrumental in helping me to arrange visits to construction sites, concrete producers and geotechnical labs. This gave me a first hand perspective of how industry works in the Netherlands.

Mid way through our first week in the Netherlands my wife was able to join me in Groningen. I had just enough knowledge of the town by that point to walk her through the busy Grote Market and Vismarkt (Fish Market). We ate chips and mayonnaise in the busy city centre (see photo "Frites in the Market"). We enjoyed bike rides around the canals, shared meals with my colleagues, were serenaded by a strange musical theatre group one evening, and walked through the streets lined with buildings that were standing long before Canada was even a country. We took day trips by train to northern coast of the Netherlands, and had an incredible weekend in Paris before she headed back home.

In the end both the faculty and students learned a great deal about project based learning, the differences and similarities between our partner institutions, energy efficiency in the built environment and about the Netherlands. More importantly we all made strong connections, this was clear among the students who spent 3 1/2 weeks living and working together (they eventually even started dressing the same, red plaid was a favorite).

I can't thank Kellie, Katie, and NSCC International enough for their dedication and all of the support they provided. It was a great pleasure to work with Eric Boer from Hanze University and thank them for being the first institute to host this exchange. They have prepared us for what is to come at NSCC this coming October.

Peter Rosvall
Faculty, Civil and Building Technologies

Posted by NSCC Intl 05:36 Archived in Netherlands Comments (0)

Janet's Blog Entry

EEBE Exchange to the Netherlands - Documentation Mission 2011

overcast 8 °C

I remember the first time I saw an Iceberg, it was amazing and all I could think of to say was "Why hadn’t anyone told me ". That's how I feel about Groningen. It's a great town full of tall, well-dressed people riding bikes through the mist. Yes, the bikes, I like the bikes at night, they move swift and fast, in packs, I love the bikes.

The documentation mission is going great. Like me, I know that both Colleen and Keenan (Screen Arts and Photography students), have been totally inspired by this town and it's way of life. I've really enjoyed the process of all of us ( myself, Ingram Barss, Colleen and Keenan) , working together to come up the with visuals, with ways to combine still and moving images, always looking for sequences that will help tell the story of this international collaboration. Colleen and Keenan interviewed all the participates over a couple of days and I think after they listened to their stories, stories about the work they are collaborating on and the connections they are all making, they really started to see how amazing this project is and the potential of the documentation they are creating.

I'm looking forward to the next step, the edit. We will have a lot of material to work with and it will be challenging but that's why we do it.

But before that I have Amsterdam to look forward to this weekend!

Thanks to Doug Barnes, Ian MacLeod and NSCC International for making all of this happen and to Kellie who has been a great guide…. well now that I’m thinking about it…. no, not really, not good with maps, translator ....no no not that either, not so good with the Dutch words......personal assistant.....yes, no, kind of........what can I say.....there is only one thing to say…Kellie has been wonderful in her job, she takes care of us all and always has a smile on her face, and what do I know about Dutch words, much much less than Kellie…thanks.

Janet Hawkwood
NSCC Faculty, Screen Arts

Posted by NSCC Intl 06:45 Archived in Netherlands Comments (0)

Scott's Blog Entry

EEBE Exchange to the Netherlands 2011

Now that we are halfway through our time here in Groningen we have had the opportunity to get to know the city, interact with the locals and each other, and master the art of bicycling. Not everything has gone without bumps in the road, there have been several issues with the bikes for instance: loose handlebars, chains falling off, and I managed to get a flat tire Saturday night. The people at the bike shop have been very accommodating. I showed up with my flat tire and was on the road again with a new bike five minutes later.

Saturday was a great day spent exploring the city. After sleeping in for what felt like the first time in weeks, a bunch of us wandered around the Grote Markt, the Vismarkt, and the many cobblestone streets lined with hundreds of shops. Since arriving, I have developed a bit of a reputation of being the person who will eat just about anything (some oddities include kangaroo, bitterballen, krocket burger, and other random food from "the wall") so I decided to try the Dutch tradition of eating a raw herring while in the Grote Markt. It was €1,90 for what seemed like a fairly large herring topped with chopped onion. The guy in front of me downed his herring in two or three bites so I thought it couldn't be that bad. I was dead wrong. With cameras rolling and pictures being snapped, I took a big bite to start, but I could not manage to get it down. I didn't want to give up, so I kept at it, attracting the attention of many people in the market, and I managed to get the second and third bites down. I tried to finish it but the last bite would not stay down and I didn't even want to attempt to eat the tail. Makes me queasy just recalling the experience! I'll stick with normal sushi when I want raw fish. Later on in the day we had a great time climbing the Martini Tower, the stairs were quite narrow and passing people going the opposite direction was a challenge, but we were rewarded with a great view of the city from the top. For supper that night, all twelve of us went out to Pacific, the Australian restaurant and bar, followed by a fun filled night on the town.

Scott Shreenan

NSCC Student, Construction Management Technology

Posted by NSCC Intl 07:15 Archived in Netherlands Comments (0)

Kari's Blog Entry

EEBE Exchange to the Netherlands

semi-overcast 6 °C

After being in Groningen for almost a week I have decided that I love this city. I love the Architecture, the stores, the restaurants, the people, the biking and so much more. I have to say, I was very sceptical when it came to eating out in Groningen, but so far the food has been excellent. Some of the other students on the exchange have been a little braver when it comes trying the food out of the wall or some of the strange foods in the restaurants. The day that we went and got our bikes I was so excited to be able to bike around and explore the city more. My bike was a little bigger than I was used to and the traffic made us all nervous, but I quickly adjusted to it after hours of biking and exploring. Biking seems like the best way to get around in Groningen. You can easily hop on your bike and go anywhere whenever you want. On Monday, our first day of school, unfortunately my bike broke just after two minutes of biking. Lucky for me, I got to ride on the back of Katie’s bike all the way to school which was a pretty scary experience but it seems to be pretty normal here. At school we met the Dutch students that we are going to be working with. They were all very nice and I was quite impressed with their English. Some of the Dutch students have taken us out to show us around the city which was very helpful. We have all done quite a bit of exploring around the city and there is just so much to look at and so many places to go. So far our trip has been amazing and I am not going to want to leave!

Kari Jones
NSCC Student, Architectural Engineering Technology

Posted by NSCC Intl 00:26 Archived in Netherlands Comments (0)

Tyler's Blog Entry

EEBE Exchange to the Netherlands

overcast 4 °C

Flying out of Halifax on Friday morning with stops in Ottawa, Frankfurt, landing in Amsterdam, and then taking two trains to arrive in Groningen on Saturday afternoon was a long, tiresome experience. Dealing with the jet leg, time change, and culture shock made the first few days tough, but once we all got settled into the Simplon Youth Hostel moods changed. Sunday afternoon we all headed out to rent our bikes for the next couple of weeks, seeing everyone dealing with this change in transportation modes was very amusing, but after a few trips around town everyone settled in alright. Monday morning was the first day of classes, we all gathered in a conference room where we learned about and met with the coordinators of our project. An hour later we were greeted by the Dutch students that we would be working with for the next few weeks, thankfully and to our surprise each student spoke decent English. After school we had a chance to tour the town and quickly realized that things weren’t like we expected them to be. The food portions were right around the same size as home, although liquids are a different story, the weather is cold and wet and for the most part the Dutch seem to be very nice and pleasant people. Everyone on the exchange seem to be getting along alright and we are all having a blast and trying to make the most out of this awesome experience.

-Tyler Doherty-

NSCC Construction Management Student

Posted by NSCC Intl 00:21 Archived in Netherlands Comments (0)

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