After about two years spent in The Netherlands I can say that I’ve learned several lessons:
1. As long as you are not really stupid, how intelligent you are does not really matter in the output of your work (mainly academic). What actually counts is how much work you put in. In brief, as long as one’s IQ is at least average, then it is not about who is smarter, but about who sweats more.
2. Related to the previous point, it is impossible to make big jumps. In brief, everything is taken step by step and each progress is incremental.
3. It’s OK to be different; everyone is different in a different way.
4. As an Eastern European, I thought that the westerners are more civilized, but this is not true. People in themselves are not more civilized. They behave in a civilized manner mostly because the environment (in a broad sense) is shaped in a way that guides behavior towards a desired one.
5. Related to the previous point, civilized behavior in not an individual choice, it is imposed as the only choice.
6. Truly cherish sun light, sunny days and good weather!
7. Although I thought it was impossible, tall and large buildings can be built on sand (sandy soil).
8. The best beer in The Netherlands is in fact Belgian; same with the chocolate.
9. Cherish the vegetables that actually taste like vegetables!
10. For me Romanian women are the most beautiful ones (particularly my wife :) )