Spanish UT quartet behind the bar in Enschede

| Stan Waning

Connoisseurs ordering a beer at the Enschede city brewery Stanislaus Brewskovitch stand a good chance of doing so in front of a Spanish UT student. Four of them walk around the bar every week with their trays as part of their job. 'Basic words like 'beer' and 'another round' are easy to remember'.

Photo by: Stanislaus Brewskovitch
Sofía, Itxaso, Alba and Violeta.

The well-known city brewery is located on the Stadsgravenstraat. Perhaps the best known place for students in the city centre. The Pakkerij is across the street and many societies are located in the Stadsgravenstraat. Sofía de Gruijter and Itxaso Pamies, students of Industrial Design Engineering, can be found at Stanislaus Brewskovitch this afternoon just before opening time. The first works there for over a year, Pamies just one month. Exchange students Alba Benito and Violeta Fernández - who complete the Spanish quartet - also work there regularly.

No hospitality experience

From the back garden of the bar, De Gruijter says it took some time to get used to it in the beginning. 'The mindset of Dutch students is different to that of Spanish students. Here, working alongside your studies is very normal, but not so in Spain. Moreover, I didn't have any hospitality experience and I am rather clumsy and forgetful. Fortunately, I started during corona time, so it was not so busy and I could get used to the work.’

Her name suggests that she speaks Dutch, but her control of the Dutch language is limited to 'a little'. The family of my grandfather is Dutch, that explains my name. But apart from that, I didn't know the Netherlands before I came here to study. Between ourselves, we often speak in a mix of Spanish and English. A kind of Spanglish.’

Itxaso Pamies is - as her first name suggests - of Basque origin. From San Sebastián, she came to the campus to study. 'I didn't know the other three girls. I had seen Sofía at a party once, but I was looking for a part-time job and knew that many internationals worked here. That seemed to suit me. Now I have been working here for about a month.’

Spanish shirt

Recently, the foursome posed in a photo on the restaurant's Facebook page. All four of them in a special Spanish version of the Stanislaus uniform. 'But that uniform was mainly for the photo. We just work in the normal shirts. There are about twenty employees in the bar. From Germany, England, Italy and we four', says Pamies. De Gruijter adds: 'The international aspect makes working here fun. The client base is very broad. Many students come here for a beer, but also people from the region. Sometimes the language is a barrier. For example with older people from the region - 'real Tukkers' - but we always manage. Most people are very nice and open and you quickly remember basic words like 'beer' and 'another round'. Nowhere do you get to know the Dutch better than here.’

Although the duo had to get used to the work in the beginning, they now particularly enjoy their part-time jobs. De Gruijter: 'You have to do a lot here and not think too much. That is ideal to get away from your studies. Besides, we walk so many metres here with heavy trays that we don't have to go to the gym anymore.’

Pamies is also completely used to the Dutch culture, although some differences remain, according to her. 'Spanish people are often late. If we meet up with the friends at nine o'clock, we won't be there until half past nine. It is no coincidence that we were both a few minutes late for this interview. And I had to get used to the culture in student houses. That you have house evenings, go out together and have rules for each other. I didn't know that at all.’

De Gruijter mainly sees a difference in the way people socialise. 'In Spain people are very open and it is easy to make friends. The Dutch are more reserved and the student culture has all its traditions and rules. Once you know that, it is a very charming culture. Take for example how houses are decorated with balloons when someone has a birthday, or when something else is celebrated, such as a newborn. People here are a bit crazy, but in a good way.'