Every time I go back to Ireland, it feels like a homecoming. Each time I get that first glimpse of the Emerald Isle from the plane window, my heart skips a beat from excitement. This is not only because of my double Dutch/Irish identity. The main reason for this ‘heartbeat skipping’ is because I am seeing my Irish family again. Another part of this excitement stems from being back in the country I have partly grown up in. Along with the homely atmosphere I always love going on roadtrips and visiting different sights with my family and taking in the landscape, which is, to say the least, very different from the flat polders of The Netherlands. In comparison, the Irish landscape is mystically wild and untouched, mountainous. It gives you this daunting feeling of living in a Harry Potter story. It seems as if all the houses and roads have been built around the dramatic nature instead of the other way around. Apart from my general love for the land, I am intrigued by its history. Of course I was never taught Irish history in school due to my Dutch education. So I am setting out to become an autodidact on this subject. Continue reading “Hidden History – Woodlawn House”
People in the Land of the Rising Sun might be spanking the monkey, but they’re not playing hide-the-salami. Why? And what does this mean for the future of Japanese society?
The Japanese media has diagnosed a ‘celibacy syndrome’: young people in Japan are not engaging in sex, and it’s a harbinger of a national crisis.The population is aging as well as decreasing, and this trend has been going on since 2007.  Between the ages of 18 and 34, 61% of men and 49% of women were not dating or in any sort of romantic or sexual relationship,  and a third of people under 30 had never dated at all. 
This article presents the first in a series of five about international students at the UvA English department, intended to explore some of the differences and similarities faced when studying abroad. In order to structure these as clearly as possible each of the articles will explore a single ‘pillar’ of Hofstede’s model of Cultural Dimensions – a model which has received worldwide attention and use since its conception. The more thoroughly studied of the pillars are the following: Power Distance, Individualism, Masculinity and Uncertainty Avoidance. In this article we will be focusing on the first.
My roommates were not happy when I told them an Australian, two Israelis, and two Spaniards were going to sleep over on the weekend. When it turned out there were actually eleven Spaniards, I was promised a “good talk”, which has not yet occurred. The spoils will, I am sure, be worth the pain. For one weekend, my rural village became a breeding ground that spawned a transatlantic revelry, and the hell that we raised was festive to boot. Continue reading “An International Orgy in Suburbia”