Netherlands Exchange: Personal Journals Day 1-5.


Mr. Duffy

St. Benedict’s students pictured with the Netherlands exchange students.

John Jumbo and Samuel Campos

Day 1: John Jumbo (UD2)

John Jumbo outside the 520 steps the morning of his flight to the Netherlands.

It felt like another typical day of school and the fact that we were going to the Netherlands felt surreal. After leaving class at 2:15 pm we arrived at the airport soon after. As soon as we got to the airport everybody rushed to get food, and the majority of us ate Wendy’s. We waited a while until we departed from our plane at 6 pm. The 6-hour flight was used in different ways by everybody. Many stayed awake watching movies and others fell asleep immediately. Soon enough we landed in the Netherlands.

We got off the plane, got our bags, and were greeted by our Supreme College guests. It was an odd experience because we practically went two days straight with hardly any rest due to the time difference. On our first day at Supreme College, we were given a tour of the school and later participated in Physical Education (PE). Even in our exhausted state we got a burst of energy and ended up playing basketball, soccer, and some volleyball. At around 4 pm we went home with our host families. My host, Leon, and his family greeted me and instantly made me feel welcomed into their home. We had pasta for dinner. This was a special experience since it was my first time trying some of the famous Netherlands cheese that they are known so well for. After dinner, it was straight to bed. The jet lag hit hard but I looked forward to what the next day had to bring for us. 


Day 2: Samuel Campos (UD2).

I had some issues falling asleep tonight, and did not get much sleep. Probably four hours at most, the rest of the time I was struggling. Everyone woke up at reasonable, yet early times since we were going to be the ones getting to school by bicycle. Not only are the bicycles a bit different than America, but since people in the Netherlands tend to be pretty tall, most of the bikes would not adjust to our desired height. Some of us had short distances to Supreme College, and others had long, delayed, journeys. I happened to be about 40 minutes away, and it was a very rough start since my bike was a little bit too large, and I was riding against the wind for most of the journey. We all eventually made it to school and shared hilarious stories about our collective adapting to the new form of transportation. Today, we got to explore the regular classes that the college offered. We had two 3-hour classes, with an hour break in between. My first class was Mathematics, which was undoubtedly the most boring of the two. Next, I had English, and we covered a lot regarding modern media and the evolving world. The teachers welcomed us warmly and helped us catch up with what the other students were doing, so we did not feel as though we did not belong. We were students for the day. We also explored the outskirts of Supreme College in Castricum and visited nearby grocery stores and food/snack venues. That afternoon, we were all biking home when we learned that a couple of students wanted to host a pannenkoeken (pancake) party! My host Jackie had mentioned she wanted to hold this event, and her family had offered the house for the students. Since there was a lot of preparation, Jackie’s close friends Elise and Franka as well as myself, Isaiah Ramos, and Matthew Luna ran out (really biked) to a nearby supermarket to purchase the ingredients as well as other Dutch sweets for the students to experience. I attempted to assist as much as I could, though it was very clear that they wanted to serve us, not themselves. This impression of hospitality stuck with me.


Day 3: Samuel Campos (UD2)

This morning, we had made plans with Jackie, Elise, and Franka as well as Isaiah and Matthew to explore a nearby town, Alkmaar: When we arrived, we began to learn about some of the historical buildings, visited many shops, and actually had real stroopwafel (according to the girls). The architecture and the many food booths on the road made me feel as if I were in a fantasy land since everything felt simple yet very beautiful. We looked around in some shops, and finally found the place every SBP student was looking for: Mcdonald’s (of course, this is a futile attempt at humor; but I was able to taste a difference in the fries)! We rode back home and prepared for our next stop. A majority of students had met up at the local train stations in our towns around 1:15 pm, and we were prepared to explore the capital of the Netherlands: Amsterdam. We visited more stores, tried new food, and learned about the city. We even experienced a 46-year-old man breakdance and headspin for ten minutes, a treasure that I recorded and will keep for future entertainment.

Day 4: John Jumbo (UD2)

After a long Saturday night for everybody, we had to wake up to start yet another day in the Netherlands. Waking up one can only wonder what adventure awaits them next. To begin my day Leon and his father took me to a tourist attraction called “This is Holland” located in Amsterdam. It was a unique experience that taught me some of the history that the Netherlands holds along with getting to know different areas a little better in just a couple of minutes.

John Jumbo at “This is Holland.”

After that we decided, to go to an underground gaming center. Leon and I attempted a horror virtual reality escape room. We did not complete it and Leon blamed me for being scared the entire time. Even so, it was extremely enjoyable and the best part of my day was yet to come.

We headed to the Johan Cruyff Arena where we would watch the matchup between Ajax and Sparta Rotterdam. Ajax came out with a 4-0 win and the fans were ecstatic. They weren’t lying when they said that there is nothing like going to a fútbol match in Europe. Now it is time to go to bed because I am exhausted and have to ride my bike to school in the morning.

The Johan Cruyff statue. (John Jumbo)


Day 5: John Jumbo UD2

The day started much earlier than I anticipated. It was a bit embarrassing that my 4:30 alarm woke up the majority of the house and they were not so happy with that. I stayed in bed until around 6:30 because we had to get ready to bike to the train station in Castricum. I ate a quick breakfast; we ended up leaving the house at 7:45. We left way later than anticipated which almost caused us to miss the train. From the train station, we went to Amsterdam yet again to visit the Anne Frank Museum. It was a unique experience to learn about the things she and her family went through during those times. After the Anne Frank Museum, we went to another Museum but this time to look at some art. One of the pieces we got to see was called “The Night Watch”. I can say that it was an interesting experience for us all.

SBP exchange students and the Netherlands hosts gathered around the table ready for dinner.

Then we all went back to the train station where some of us would head straight to the school and others back home before they went to the school again. We all gathered at Supreme College for a dinner at 6 pm where the Dutch and American students/families could get together. Everybody brought food and everything was delicious.

Pedro Cena (SY) in the motions of throwing a strike.

The evening came to a close but the students didn’t want to end the day there. Most of us decided to go bowling for the fun of it. The bowling was not professional but we did get to see some outstanding performances from our Maroon Section Leader, Pedro Cena (SY), Noah Rega (UD2), myself, and of course others. Everybody was content and we all departed back to our host houses once again to close off our days.