New international students were officially welcomed in the auditorium building on the evening of 11 September. Several speakers introduced the student life at Erasmus University and Rotterdam.

Rector magnificus prof. dr. Huibert Pols mentioned in his welcome speech that international students might experience a clash of cultures in Rotterdam. That is why he advised them to have an open mind to other cultures, as to gain invaluable learning experience. On that note he ended quoting Frank Zappa: “The mind is like a parachute. It does not work if it is not open.” Master student Healthcare Management Andrea Cabezas (21) from Cuba agrees with the notion that Rotterdam is a multicultural learning hub: “There are so many different nationalities here with so many opportunities to get to know them. If you are open for it, you will get to learn a lot from them. That is why I love Rotterdam.”

Dutch culture

After tips were given on how to survive student life in Rotterdam, comedian Greg Shapiro gave a humoristic foreign perspective on the Dutch culture: “It is not a prank when someone says his name is Joke, Freek or Fokke”. Master of Economics of Development student Reza Wiriarsa (29) from Indonesia really enjoyed the combination of formality with amusement: “Dutch people have a good sense of humour.”

Reza (on the left) with his classmates: Herring fish is “worth trying”


Students were then welcomed with warm words to a ‘home away from home’ at ESN, the association of internationals, followed up with rounds of better orange bitter liquor. Philosophy student Shaun Shanmugan (21) from England: “It tastes like Iron Brew, which is a fizzy drink that you get from Ireland or Scotland. It is really nice.”

Dutch delights

After the ceremony, ESN provided a Dutch dinner buffet at the Erasmus Sport Centre. This included typical Dutch delights, such as mashed potatoes with carrot or spinach, minced meat, vegetarian split pea soup, pancakes, herring fish and the famous “bitterballen”. CW

Sociology student Fazari Othman (23) from Singapore (in the middle) finds the texture of the mashed potatoes and minced meat “interesting and different”. “However, the bitterballen with the crispy crust are yummie.”