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In this series UCM-student Floortje Rawee (21) writes about her experiences as an exchange student in Kingston, Ontario, Canada at the Queen's University. This week she get's an insight in the Canadian police system.

In the Netherlands, we very much enjoy our BVO’tje (bier voor onderweg), our beer for on our way. Whether or not it is legal to drink in the streets is a bit complicated, it’s probably not, but it’s mostly tolerated. Now, not every country has such crazy toleration laws, as we found out on Saturday evening. We were happily walking to the club after a house party, some of us  while enjoying some alcoholic drinks. And then the police stopped by. Right at the moment at which one of the guys enthusiastically explained what drink he had in his bottle, and demonstrated how good it was by taking a big sip. Unfortunate timing.

The police explained to us that you can get a fine of over a hundred dollars if you’re holding an open bottle of alcohol on the streets, whether or not you actually drink it. While one police officer spoke to the ‘offender’, the rest of the group chatted with the other cop. It was a good insight in the Canadian police system. The cop proudly showed us their ‘Chevvy’ (Chevrolet), demonstrated the alarm lights, showed the inside of his car, and guaranteed us that we didn't have to worry that our friend would get a fine, as they were ‘very reasonable guys’. Unlike the American police, if I have to believe the cheesy TV-soap I watched in the gym. It also mentioned the reasonableness of the Canadian police system saying: you are Canadian, there it’s different, but here rich people don’t go to jail, you can easily bribe the police’).

Whereas American police officers would probably have given him the fine (and put him against the car), we got to enjoy a chat with the police officer. Canadians definitely are reasonable.  Or they figured, with some basic knowledge of international law, that he would probably not pay the fine anyway.

Unfortunately, though, I think my BVO has to wait a couple of months.

Floortje Rawee

Name: Floortje Rawee (21)

Study: second-year UCM-student

Goes to: Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada

From: 3 January until the end of May




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