The first day of the Eurekaweek was quite suspenseful for all freshman students. After the opening ceremony and the sandwiches on Schouwburgplein, all new students were assigned to groups with upcoming fellow students. To get to know each other and the city.
They do so with a tour around the city, the so-called City&Port Tour. We join up with one of the groups waiting on the Schouwburgplein. The students in this group are all, save for the guides and two other Dutch students, foreign students. Understandably so, for they will start International Business Administration in September. In the introductory round prior to the tour, Emily appears to haul from Chile, Corentin from Hong Kong, Theo from Indonesia, and Anna and Julius from Germany. First stop after the acquaintance: the Luchtsingel.
The idea behind the bridge is to connect Rotterdam North with the city center and make it a lively area. The freshmen could contribute a bit to this and paint a part of the bridge, but this plan failed because of the rain. Instead, they could scrub graffiti off the walls. “This is not exactly what I expected the Eurekaweek to be like. It’s more like we are doing a community service,” jokes the budding econometrics student Kalun from another group. “Ah well, this is a good start; meaning that everything after this will only get better,” winks Julius. And then he means not the rest of the tour, but primarily tonight’s Glow party. And, in fact, all other parties this week.
Fortunately, the next visit to the town hall on Coolsingel became the group better. A piece of history and a short tour through the council chambers and wedding chambers of the hall, brought foreward remarks like “Wow, this is beautiful! Do important officials live here?” The Eurekaweek participants had gotten the hang of it, for instead of visiting the Oude Haven, they opted to end the tour with a quick bite on Coolsingel.
The kebab spot was ultimately the highlight of the tour. Translations of menu orders went around and sitting at the table the group members got to know each other better. This is how they found out that Emily and Theo are partially Dutch and are here mostly to get to know their roots better. Additionally, Emily would most like to start her own business in the future and Theo wants to build an international career in business. Anna, however, is in Holland because she finds the Dutch educational system better than in her homeland of Germany, and because it is a cheaper alternative to England. But a common interest is the love of languages. They plan to start a language club to teach each other Spanish, German, Indonesian and Dutch.
Despite the drippy, cold weather, the tour was a success and Rotterdam was appreciated. Theo: “I do not mind the weather here at all, this is much better than the unbearable heat in Indonesia.” CW