Living in student dorm means sharing.
In Indonesia, I have no difficulties sharing dorm with 8 people, because even though you have different characteristics, at least all of you are Indonesian and we have some living principles in common. But living in student dorm here become quite challenging for me because I have to share it with other students from different countries which culture and habit I have no idea of.
My university offers 5 student dorms and each of them has different characteristics. One of them (my dorm) is the closest to campus, shared kitchen and bathroom with 2-3 other students, so convenient on weekdays but getting around is complicated in weekend. The second is individual room with bathroom, getting cleaned twice a week but shared kitchen with 20 other students (a little bit chaotic, yes) and the furthest from campus. The third is in average distance to campus, smaller room, shared kitchen and bathroom with 3 other students. The fourth has the same feature as the first, but i think the dorm layout is much nicer (i like this fourth best). The other one, I have never seen it. So, each dorm has its own strength and weakness.
I share my dorm with 2 other students and I’m quite content with my dorm until the third students came (I was the first to come). Coincidentally both of them are from the same particular country in western Europe and I can say that people from this country are very friendly, extrovert, sociable but quite loud. They enjoy gather with friends often. But the particular third student enjoys gathering too much. She always brings friends home everyday, having party almost everyday in weekdays and not cleaning it afterwards, talking in the kitchen until midnight with loud voice (as if one voice is not loud enough, here i got 10 of them), making it difficult for me to concentrate studying, making some ruckus in the kitchen, making the bathroom dirty and messy, screaming and shouting while I am studying and sleeping, ringing the bell at dawn, having some friends stays for a week and not saying anything to me. It’s uncomfortable for me even to just go to the bathroom.
The second student is not really helpful. She is nicer but since both of them are from the same country, I often find her also enjoying this gathering. I don’t know why I keep being patient. I always thought that maybe they will realize it somehow, that it is very disturbing. But no, they keep making party here. Once, my cousin stays in my place and experiences this gathering from inside my room, and she has already feeling so disturbed even though she’s only staying for just a few hours.
So, because i don’t think it will change automatically, I ask my friend to teach me Spanish, particularly how to ask this party people to be quiet. My friend gladly teach me many sentences and give me 2 alternatives: polite and rude one. I keep all that sentences in mind and hope to not using it at all. But I was wrong.
That night I just about to go to sleep, I am so tired but the door bells keep ringing and I can hear that more people come to my dorm. They’re having dinner at the kitchen and I am thinking, okay maybe it will get more quiet after dinner. But they start talking louder and laughing in a gigantic voice. I try to sleep because I usually sleep with a little bit of noise like music or movies, but I can’t. It’s too much of the noise. Then, suddenly, they start to play guitar, singing and clapping at midnight. My God, they’re having a concert!
I can’t stand it any longer. I gather all my courage then I go out from my room and say:
“Hallo! Sorry for ruining your night…”
I can see there are so many people, they are so surprised seeing me.
“Por favor queiro dormir (Please, I want to sleep)…”
“Sorry, sorry…” They apologize immediately (but not my flatmate).
“Maňana tengo clase (I have class tomorrow)….”
“Sorry, we don’t know you were there…”
“Puede hablar mas bajo! (Can you keep your voice down!)“
After that, I go to the bathroom and I can hear that they are also in shock. Seeing a foreign girl suddenly talking in your language asking you to shut up must have taken you aback. I don’t think that was shocking enough, so after going to the bathroom, I call her in front of all of her friends and say,
“Please make some time tomorrow, we need to talk about the rule of living here together!”
After that shock, the concert is dismissed and all of her friends go home.
The next days, we’re setting up some rules and now it’s better than latter, even though somehow i still find her very irresponsible. But at least now, she’s not having any party in the common room on the weekdays. She invites all of her friends inside the room (they’re still noisy and my second flatmate also can’t stand it any longer then she also get angry to them) and now all of her friends are a little bit afraid of me. That’s good! If i come home and they’re having gathering, they usually dismissed directly and find some place else to go.
If you’re having troubles with your flatmates, don’t hesitate to talk to them. You need to express your thoughts about how you want to live together without disturbing each other.
Don’t try to make revenge party. They will then think that it’s ok to make ruckus like that because you also do that.
Yes, Asian people don’t complain a lot, but don’t push us. You don’t wanna hear the rest of it.
Aside from other people’s party, i also got a lot of party to attend. I don’t really enjoy party, I like sleep better. But, i also like to be with my friends so I try to make time to go with them. Still, I usually don’t stay until morning like other people. I get tired easily because being with many people somehow absorbs my energy and I need to recharge my energy with some time alone. Yes, I’m an introvert 🙂
Most of my friends are hard-drinkers and they often offer me to drink. I have to explain many times that I’m not really interested in drinking, it’s in my principle as Muslim. I don’t feel like I’m missing anything with not drinking while I’m not in my country, far from my family. Sometimes they understand, but sometimes when they feel so good after drinking, they encourage you again. Just ignore them. Ah, and it’s better to bring your own drink or just order tea (mineral water here is usually served with lemon, not the usual mineral water). Drinkers party usually don’t prepare another drink for non-drinkers.
In my opinion, German party is not that ‘crazy’. They usually just drink and talk. I think Indonesian party in the club is sometimes crazier, with dancing, etc (Not that I know of, I just think that’s what party supposed to be). If the party place is not that far from my room, I try to stay longer and have the talk with my friends until I get sleepy, then go back home.
One time, after having dinner together in city center, my friends invite me to join them to a bar. I stay longer than usual (after drinking tea) but the trip back home was not pleasant because the public transport being a little bit complicated and my friend was (being such a jerk by) complaining a lot even though i help him get back home. Since then, I had bad memories about going back home after 12. So now, every time I go to some gathering, I always make sure to go home before midnight and catch the last bus or train. Sometime, the party has just started to be in a good atmosphere but i am determined to go back home even though my friend told me to stay longer because it’s still too early to go home.
Thankfully, Dortmund is a really safe city. I feel safe going home alone at midnight, walking or taking public transport. There’s no people in the street anyway. It’s creepy sometime but nah, there’s nothing to be afraid of.
To deal with this party people, my suggestion is to enjoy party ’til your own limit. Don’t force yourself to fit other people standards. I think, there are many other ways to enjoy living here than just partying, for example I am much more happier when I’m traveling somewhere. That gives me the same happy feeling as others when they’re having a party.
So, just enjoy your very own definition of ‘party’!!