In the morning of 8 December it was very busy at the square of the main campus of Xiamen university. Strong Chinese and Dutch boys were dragging with tables and boxes to decorate the square for that specific day: Dutch Culture Event. This day was all about getting to know the culture of the Netherlands.
Dutch Culture Event was organised by Check-IT. Check-IT is a unique initiative in which Dutch universities work together with the Software School of Xiamen University. This is the 15th time Dutch students come to Xiamen to be a part of Check-IT. About 20 Chinese and 20 Dutch students cooperate on different projects, like VR Game Development and App and Webb Development. The projects will last four months and the Dutch students stay in Xiamen for at least that time.
The Dutch students get to know the Chinese culture so well by living here. They learn to speak Chinese, they are interacting with Chinese people and they enjoy the beauty of Xiamen. Dutch students experience the similarities and differences between the Dutch and Chinese culture daily, but for Chinese students of Xiamen University it was not that obvious. To show what the Dutch culture is about with the Dutch Day, Chinese students will understand the Dutch culture better, which will finally bring all the students together.
The preparations for the Dutch Day started in October. Check-IT picked a few students who would take charge and be responsible of this day. These students were led by Ms. Lee to finalise everything into perfection. Everyone in Check-IT got a task to do at this day. It started by making invitations, the information posters, buying all the equipment, test cooking and so on. It was sometimes stressful, but it all came to worthfully end on that specific day.
Thursday 8 December was that day Check-IT worked so hard for. The square was decorated with red, white and blue flags, orange balloons and in the back stood a big banner from a few square meters with a picture of the canals in Amsterdam on it. On the left side of square huge information posters stood, which were all designed by Check-IT students. The students explained the information to the visitors. The information was about typical Dutch culture aspects, such as fact & figures, habits, thing Dutchies are proud of, the economy and history. Photographs were added to give the best impression. The visitors enjoyed reading the information and being more informed by the students. Also en few typical Dutch games were played during the day.
On the right side of the square was the food corner. Over here everyone could taste the delicious Dutch food. The Dutch students were allowed to cook it in the kitchen of Ms. Lee, which was very nice. Hot, cold, sweet and savoury dishes were being served, so everyone would at least like one dish. Butter cookie, ‘tompoezen’, pancakes, soup and ‘kapsalon’ were made by the Dutch students, which tasted really delicious. The also bought food or brought it from the Netherlands to let the visitors taste, such as Beemster Cheese, syrup waffles, liquorice, ‘pepernoten’ and gingerbread. Visitors were falling in love a bit with the Dutch culture, because the food was so tasty.
The day started with a well organised opening ceremony were all the special guests, like Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Guangzhou, had an opportunity to give a speech. After this, the guests were able to have a conversation with the Dutch students and discover more about Check-IT. Check-IT was honoured by their appearance. To make Dutch Day an active event, a dance workshop was organized by a Dutch student. It was a success and everybody was entertained by participating or looking to this dance workshop.
The atmosphere was amazing on this beautiful day. God must have been in a good mood, because the sun was shining bright all day long and the temperature reached the perfect amount of Celcius. Everyone was in an extraordinary mood. I do not know if it was because everyone was wearing the same orange sweaters, two students were traditional clothes or dressed up with a curly orange hair, big orange sunglasses or even as Sinterklaas. Everyone was as happy as the color orange itself. Also the whole day long Dutch music was played. Because of this music people were dancing and also children were attracted to take a look at the event. And what gives you a better life aspect than to get to know different cultures at such a young age? This was an additional aspect which made the day perfect.
Check-IT hopes that everybody has a better idea what the Dutch culture is all about and likes to visit the Netherlands now. The special guests and the visitors had an informative and fun time at the Dutch Culture Event and the Chinese and Dutch students of Check-IT became, besides colleagues, also dear friends.