My assigment abroad in The Hague.

Sophia, cooperative degree student ‘International Business’ at MARC O’POLO, had the opportunity to stay in The Hague for 2 months during her practical semester. Read more about her experiences in her following report.

The Start

My home town is close to the border of the Netherlands, which is why I have already spent some nice weekends there and it was all the more delightful to spend two months in The Hague for MARC O’POLO.

After a somewhat elaborate but successful apartment search, the beginning of my new challenge was finally close in early November 2016.

The store, the team and the job

The store is located at the end of the main shopping street of The Hague in a very beautiful neighborhood close to the Noordeinde Palace. The idyllic garden in the backyard is already visible from the entrance and gives the store a special touch.

Thanks to the cordial reception of the Dutch work colleagues, I felt very well cared for from day one. The team consists of full-time and part-time staff as well as student assistants, so I worked with different team colleagues almost every day . Due to the relaxed atmosphere among each other, every day was a small success despite the fact that there were partly stressful phases due to various events.

During my time in The Hague I was able to gain insight into the background processes as well as many experiences on the point of sale. My tasks included both administrative activities such as personnel planning and the organisation of events and sales activities. In addition, I have developed a better understanding of our RFID system.

Language

Although I understand a lot, I do not speak Dutch, which I was worried about in dealing with customers and the team. But as I quickly discovered, my worries were unnecessary.

The Hague is a very international city and both expats and Dutch customers speak English very well. For the few non-English speaking customers, the team also supported me with a compiled and always ready-to-use vocabulary list with useful sentences, which led to some amusing situation.

In addition, speaking and greeting in English often proved to be an “ice breaker”, as customers assured me that I could speak Dutch as they assumed I would take them for international customers.

The city and my personal highlights

During my time in The Hague I learned to know and love the city. As a “small” city with many international influences, The Hague is a beautiful town with many interesting and varied places.

The Dutch style and the beautiful facades of the houses make the ambiance very unique. Especially during the Christmas period these were elaborately decorated, so that already a simple walk through the city became an experience.

The center – characterized by its administrative buildings such as the Binnenhof or the Second Chamber – and the surrounding attractions such as the Peace Palace or the Mauritshaus offer interesting insights into the culture and history of The Hague.

Places such as De Plein or Groetemarkt have been particularly good for me because of the relaxed atmosphere and are ideal for entertaining evenings in typical Dutch restaurants and bars. Nice cafés on the promenade make it possible to spend a nice day at the beach in Scheveningen even in cold weather.

One of my favorite restaurants and a tip for every fish lover is Simones. From a small fishing company, the third-generation family business has developed into one of the most famous fish restaurants in The Hague.

Also a good portion of french fries can not be missed on a trip to the Netherlands. If you would like to try something other than Ketchup or Mayo, you should try the Frites Atelier.

Résumé

The time in The Hague has been a unique and unforgettable experience for me and unfortunately has gone by far too fast. During this very short time, my team colleagues have become real friends and I am already looking forward to my next visit – this time during the slightly warmer summer time.

I would recommend anyone to visit the city and the MARC O’POLO store.