Five Things I Already Know I’ll Miss About Europe

Dessert Paninis
When you think “panini”, you probably picture a small, healthy grilled sandwich. Well throw that aside and make room for the monster that is a dessert panini. We can all agree baguettes are delicious right? Well the Europeans have a habit of making paninis out of a FULL LENGTH ONE. Now picture this baguette smothered in Kinder chocolate. Pretty good right? Now, what happens when the sandwich is put on a panini press? That’s right, the chocolate melts. What you have now is a massive melted Kinder chocolate baguette sandwich aka utopia in your mouth.


The Social Acceptance of Adults Riding Scooters
When we were kids scootering was one of the coolest activities. It let you be a badass extreme sports enthusiast with only a fraction of the danger. There was nothing like rolling down the street with your friends on your scooters, wind blowing through your hair, looking tougher than Kimbo Slice.

Well the Europeans have realized scooters aren’t just good for hopping up on curbs to impress your friends as a kid, they’re also a great way to get around. It’s not unusual to see teenagers, university students or even parents with their children riding scooters. It’s quick, good for the environment, somewhat of a workout and you just flip it closed when you’re done. But I just can’t shake the feeling that I’d get laughed at back home if my main mode of transportation was a scooter.

Massive Pancakes
When I first heard there were pancake houses in Utrecht I got embarrassingly excited. Living on a student budget doesn’t exactly allow you to munch a hearty stack of pancakes dripping with maple syrup every day. But on Mondays, one of the restaurants has an all you can eat student deal for 10€, so you know I had to be there.

What I discovered was something more amazing than any pancake from Canada. A Dutch pancake takes up a whole large plate, is skinnier than our traditional pancakes (think more like a crêpe) and comes with toppings cooked into them. Sort of like blueberry or chocolate chip pancakes but with actual food in them. Bacon, mushrooms, ham, apple, cheese, pineapple, the list goes on and on. You can have a full course meal of just pancakes – maybe a sugar to start, a meat for the main course and fruit for dessert. Warning: you may literally roll away from the all you can eat, as it’s very difficult to stop.

Short Travel Distances
Being in Europe is such a unique opportunity because you can basically hop around the different countries as much as you’d like. It takes me four hours to travel from Amsterdam to France by bus. And how much is that you ask? Only 9€. That’s a small fraction of the price and about two hours shorter than it takes to get to Montreal from Toronto. I travel through the whole country of Belgium on this journey in less time that it takes to travel between two provinces.

Casual Email Exchanges With Professors
This one might seem a little strange, but emailing professors can be a high-pressure situation at Ryerson. Judging your relationship with them is always difficult – should I use Ms. or Mrs.? Or maybe call them Professor? Do they have a PhD, if so do I address them as Dr.? 

That right there is stressful, and you haven’t even started typing your message. One spelling mistake or question that’s answered in the course outline can kill your credibility. Then what’s an appropriate length? Is this question too complicated, do I need to go to office hours to ask this? Crafting emails like this is a fear I never get over.

But over here in the Netherlands, schools stress that professors and students are on the same level. Topics are open for debate and it’s common practice for students to question their profs. This casual approach spills over into email exchanges, where professors are happy to answer any question you have, no matter how insignificant it may seem. You usually don’t even need to start the second email in an exchange with a “Hi _____”, you just dive right into the message, saving you both time and stress. 

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