Sunday, July 10, 2016

Sara Rendon - Brooks 10k Champions Run

        During the time we have spent here in the Netherlands, I have noticed many differences between Dutch culture and American culture, namely the restaurant mannerisms. In America, we are used to having a very available waiter/waitress. You can count on this person visiting your table several times throughout your meal, checking on your needs. You can also expect the server to bring out the check before you are even finished with your meal. Servers in the Netherlands, however, are not so concerned with this extremely available, fast-paced service. The atmosphere in the restaurants here tends to be more relaxed and slower-paced than in America. Servers do not check on their tables very often and are not eager to deliver the check. At nearly all of the restaurants we have visited during our trip, we had to ask for the check to be delivered to our table. After speaking with a server at Eetcafé Lumière in Utrecht, I learned that servers in the Netherlands are typically paid decent salaries and, therefore, do not have to rely on tips in order to make a living. Tipping is actually not expected in this country. However, if you wish to leave a tip for great service, the common amount is between 5% and 10% of the total bill. In America, minimum wage for servers in many states is only $2.13 per hour, forcing them to rely on tips for a good income. This is why tipping in America is typically 15-20% of the bill.

Today was Day Four of our volunteering experience of the European Athletics Championships [EAC]. The past three days, my group has been working some side events at AV Startbaan. We were able to assist in events for several hundreds of children which mimicked the EAC events that professional athletes were competing in. Our team helped with the javelin throw, shotput, relay, sprints, and long jump. My favorite event was probably sprints because I was able to interact more with the children. For this event, four children at a time competed in a 40 meter dash. Once in their starting positions, the children could expect to hear “on your marks, get set…” followed by a loud noise made by smacking two wooden blocks together. In between sets, I was able to talk to the children and learn some Dutch phrases, such as “goed geddan” meaning “well done,” and “rennen!” meaning “run!”

Today, some of us were given the opportunity to scan tickets at Olympic Stadium. I was initially very excited about this since we would be working at the main event site, but unfortunately the experience did not go as well as anticipated. This is in part due to the language barrier. While most people in the Netherlands speak English as a second language, Dutch is their preferred and most studied language. For the most part, there was not a problem when I asked a Dutch patron for an English translation. However, there were instances in which Dutch natives became frustrated with the fact that the American volunteers only spoke English. Also, we were given a very short briefing before beginning our work which I believe should have been slightly more extensive. We were not properly informed of all stipulations of the various tickets to be scanned, nor was it done in a very timely manner.  It would have been helpful had we been given more information about the ticketing system, perhaps a cheat sheet with the rules for each of the possible ticket varieties.

Tomorrow, we will be working the Brooks 10K Champions Run. Brooks is the athletic wear sponsor of the European Athletics Championships. As opposed to the most events in the EAC, the Brooks run is open to competitors of all ages and levels of experience; anyone can sign up! And it is a great option for those visiting the city. The run begins and ends at the Museumplein (Museum Square), which is an area containing three popular museums of the city: The Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, and the Stedelijk Museum. Along with this, runners will get to see more notable sights of Amsterdam, including Vondelpark, the Concertbouw, and many of the city’s famous canals. Most of our team will be manning the access points of the run, and I am excited to see how it goes!

 Ticket scanning group at Olympic Stadium.
 Volunteer group at AV Startbaan.
 Sarah scanning tickets at Olympic Stadium.
Professor Presley demonstrating relay for the kids at AV Startbaan.


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