2 students – 2 cities – 2 months Holland Lucia and Valerie, students of International Business in MARC O’POLO’s dual degree programme, were given the chance to gain international experiences in Holland at the same time. In the following, they are reporting on their impressions. Let’s get it started. IIn the course of our dual degree programme International Business at MARC O’POLO we were given the opportunity to spend two months in the Netherlands. Given that we were to live in the same country at the same time, we decided to find a shared accommodation. No sooner said than done! Lucia was deployed in Amsterdam, Valerie in Den Haag, so we searched for a flat midway. We chose the students’ city Leiden. Where we lived. Leiden is the fifth largest city located in southern Holland and famous for the oldest university in the Netherlands. The famous artist Rembrandt was born there, the inhabitants also call it “Little Amsterdam”. Just like Amsterdam, Leiden has several canals passing through town and the Dutch charm becomes obvious due to the many old weaving houses. We were lucky to find a flat in one of these old weaving houses – at least we thought so. But upon arrival we noticed that we had the entire house for ourselves. Every Saturday we found all we needed – fresh fish or typical Dutch pastry like Oiliebollen and Strookwaffels – on the weekly market around the corner. A special highlight was how the central canal at the market was transformed to become a beautiful Christmas market on a huge raft. The work-life balance was near to perfect. Time to work. Valerie, Den Haag – Every morning the team met in the store wonderfully located in the centre of Den Haag. From the first moment on, I was integrated into the team and became a part of our small store family. Given my prior knowledge in retail, I could immediately get into it. The first customers came and I realised that I was able to easily overcome language barriers with my English skills. Of course I picked up Dutch phrases from my colleagues, so saying hi and bye in a friendly way were not at all a problem. Surprisingly I noticed that some German customers visited the store, and they were very grateful about German assistance. My main tasks included assisting customers from A to Z and operating the cash register. Besides, I also got to know background processes, for example inventory, VM issues or the quick and effective dealing with RFID. Lucia, Amsterdam – In the showroom in Amsterdam I got to know the Area Manager Marie-Madeleine. I worked together with her in the showroom and frequently accompanied her on trips to (potential) clients. My tasks in general included the handling of retours, preparing the showroom for the next order phase, attending to clients, support in arranging the spaces and assistance in the acquisition of new clients. During my trips to our clients, I got to know all regions of the Netherlands and noticed how versatile this little country is. Also, the close collaboration with Marie-Madeleine was very special to me, the taught me a lot, on a professional, personal and cultural level. To be continued. Our time in Holland brought us plenty of lovely moments we wouldn’t want to miss. The people we had the pleasure of meeting during this short period have grown close to our hearts and bear us out in our intention to visit this very special country again very soon. “Tot ziens” – we’ll see you again! “Dank u veel” to all who made this very special experience possible and made this time unforgettable.