Welcome to Part Two of the Questions and Answers from potential new Knowmads. For add-ons, more questions and different answers, click to comment.
One big question:
1. How is it to live in Amsterdam ? (Lasse)
I like it a lot. Amsterdam is just the greatest small city I think. Sometimes I have to remind myself, when sitting on a bench at Leidsegracht in the late evening with a friend that this is actually not the last day of a wonderful holiday but that I can come back tomorrow and have the same again if I want it. I find the city quite beautiful, in a very honest way.
And for a city of this size, there are a lot of possibilities. You can always take the ferry to the Noord, and after a 20 minutes ride on your bike you are in the Waterland – nothing else besides large green rectangles with sheep and cows on it and houses so tiny they would fit into a spacious living room. There are a lot of parks, galleries and of course museums (crowded in summer.) And a nice start-up scene, if you are looking for that!
2. On finding a place:
- a. Where and how do you live? (Marius)
We live in different neighborhoods in Amsterdam, but all within the Ring. In general prices go down the further you are away of the center and also in the Noord it is said to be a bit cheaper to rent a flat. But that is not a general rule, I find. You can be lucky and find something affordable in the Center/close to Knowmads but you will probably also get to see a not so great room for an outrageous price.
But we all managed ;)
- b. Is it difficult to find a place? (Gowoon Lim)
It takes some tenacity, yes. But you have a good and big network at Knowmads and we help each other out.
- c. Can I start before going to Amsterdam? (Gowoon Lim)
Yes you can, but it is actually better to be actually in Amsterdam so you can visit a place and get to know the people before you have to say yes. If you intend to come here for the application workshop and need a space/a couch to sleep on in Amsterdam until you have found something, maybe contact us, we will see if we can already can find something within our network.
- d. How to find something affordable, but still nice? (Anna)
There are a lot of different strategies, even Au Pair. They all have advantages and downsides. Most people find their places on Kamernet.nl, the biggest site in the Netherlands. You have strong competition there, most of the time the landlords get between 100-150 emails within the first hours. Write something nice and descriptive about you, don´t be to anonymous, stay positive and don´t make it too long. (You know that I guess). It can take some time, but usually it works to find a room on kamernet.
There is also the possibility of living cheaply in empty buildings via an “Anti-Kraak” (anti-squatting) organization.
I think we got the nicest places via our personal network. If you are looking for a room, spread it in you personal network and just let as many people as possible know with what they can help you with.
3. How are the prices in general? (Lasse)
For rooms you have to count between 400- 600 €/ month. It is easy to find something more expensive and possible to find something cheaper, like 350 € per person.
For food I find the prices quite reasonable and could not really see a difference to Germany, where I come from. I spend between 90-100 € / month on food, but I know I could still spend less, if I would cut down on semi-dried tomatoes (Halfgedroogte Zontomatjes, absolutely worth a try).
4. How is it to live in Amsterdam as a Knowmad? Is it relaxing, busy, fun? (Gowoon Lim)
All three, I would say. Knowmads will be the biggest part and continually stretch out into you free or spare time – you will find yourself drinking a beer in some down-town bar with fellow tribe members and then you are suddenly in a conversation about your latest assignment. This can happen. But we are quite good at having fun together, so don´t worry. It is relaxing – but for me rather in the sense that I learn to worry less, not so much in the sense that all day I don´t have anything to do.
4b. What did you do after the application workshop? (Gowoon Lim)
I lived in Germany, so I went home after the application workshop. But some people also stayed and if you plan to do so maybe it is wisest to invest that time in finding a room.
I did not do that much “touristy” sightseeing until now, in the beginning I was just so proud of my non-tourist status in a city people actually travel to that I did not feel like acting like a tourist… I have not taken a photo of the dam, but by now I have seen a lot more, sometimes also by just cycling around. But there are a lot of things to see, some are free and if you want a guided tour, why not…
Quite a few questions on the program:
5. Do we have to write exams? (Anna)
No. We don´t believe it helps us to learn what we need to learn.
6. Is it always group works? (Gowoon Lim)
Yes, most of the time. You will have workshops with Tribe 5 or only Tribe 6, sometimes together with the Knowmadic Learning Lab, our minor from the HVA Amsterdam. On assignments you will work in teams, with changing “colleagues”.
But of course, sometimes tasks just have to be distributed which means that you will also work alone and write a proposal or something like that.
Again, you are free to choose what you want to do.
7. Since the Knowmads philosophy is sort of not having planned anything, how did you and your fellow tribe members decide to work? Do you start early in the morning, do you meet from Monday till Friday, do you mostly work altogether? (Marius)
Well, we do plan some stuff… In general there is something in the calendar from Monday till Friday. On Monday we start the week together and have Monday Morning Breakfast. Tuesday and Thursday are often Workshop days, Wednesday and Friday we have more meetings – to work on assignments and meet clients. We have WTF Lectures quite often, they can be any day of the week…
Workshops start between 9.00 and 10.00 a.m.
Working altogether – this does not happen often, we are many people. For assignments, it is mostly a group between 3 – 8 people who really want to work on the project and like the idea.
8. A few words about the assignments you are working on and the projects you are involved in, please? (Marius)
There is a wide range of assignments we are working on. We can work with a one-man company or with a big fish like KLM. We say we work inclusively with our clients – with them, not for them. So we try to go through the process together. Outcomes can be an event/workshop that is designed and hosted by Knowmads students (Wereld Winkel, Deutsche Telekom), it can be a crowd funding campaign or it can be – an idea (KLM.) We work with the core values we believe in – such as diversity, open-mindedness and bringing something positive into the world. When we present an outcome, it has been shaped by these values.
9. Does one have the time for a side-job next to Knowmads or is it practically a full-time job? (Lasse)
Depends… Actually many people have a side-job and work in bars, cafés, etc. Some have their own company next to Knowmads. So yes, you can have something on the side but you can also have a crammed schedule with only Knowmads in it and nothing else.
Especially if you want to start up something next to Knowmads this really means that you have to commit and choose on what to spend your time – and you will be dead busy.
But I think an evening or night job is doable.