Re: What do you think the dutch people are?
In my point of view, they are just not as open as what I thought compared to americans I know. [..] But here is the case, in our class of university, all the dutch stick together and speak dutch at the breaktime. Even in the casestudy with internatianal students who do not know dutch at all, they speak dutch and almost ignore there is someone who do not understand what the hell they are talking about. I am wondering is all the dutch university students like this or just I am not so lucky to involved in one in Amseterdam.
I see that this question is a bit old already, so I'm not sure whether this will still help you - but I had another take on it.
See, I'm Dutch, but I went to study for a while in my turn in Hungary, and I found the same thing. Over time, I got a vibrant little group of friends there - but almost all were also foreign students, Czechs, Japanese, Portuguese, Americans, other Dutch. Not many Hungarians.
And that only makes sense, too. I mean, as a student from abroad, you've just been parachuted in a country where you know noone, dont (properly) speak the language, dont know your way around, dont have any regular free-time activities, hobby, volunteer work, whatever. You're just new and looking for an entry, people to talk with, etc. Eager to get to know people, find out about things.
But the people who were already there, they already have lives! Their schedule is already pretty full with their own friends, family, leisure activities, whatever. So while all the foreign students are really eager to meet up with each other and more than willing to make a big effort, speaking in languages they dont know so well, reaching out over cultural difference, etc, the "locals" dont inherently have such a need. Doesnt mean you wont be able to find Dutch friends - I got to know a few Hungarians as well. But its just not realistic to expect them to make a big effort to accomodate and find out about you. Unless there just happens to be some personal "click", of course, but thats just like at home.
Language is really important though. In the break at school, in the shop, at a party - people like to speak their own language. Its just easier. With the Dutch its treacherous because they all seem
to speak English fine - so why wont they? Well, because its still not their own language, so when they're sitting next to another Dutch person, they'll prefer to speak Dutch, of course.
That said, my then-gf moved here from America, and she had another complaint. Well, sometimes she complained like you, that people would talk Dutch amongst each other right while she was sitting there, or would insist on talking Dutch to her, deciding for her that thats what she needed to learn. But at least as often, and this I heard a lot from people who only recently came here, they would keep on talking English to her, or respond in English, even when she was trying
to talk in Dutch. She's all, how can I ever learn if they keep on switching to English every time I try?
Its a bit of a mean trick, really ... first, everyone will insist, "no, I can speak English, thats OK", never letting you get round to practising your Dutch, and then after six months, its suddenly, "well why dont you speak Dutch yet? If you live here, you've got to learn some Dutch you know!"
I had to smile about the men/women thing ... its funny. My ex had the exact opposite observation. Dont start her on Dutch women ... she thinks Dutch women are bossy and bitchy. And Dutch men softies. Same like in Scandinavia, you know? And err, in a way she's right. Dutch men arent exactly proper counterparts to the Spanish machos or smooth-talking Italians or always-confident Americans ... and Dutch women are quite ... sure about what they want, heh.
But you're right - the weather sucks ;-)