No one should be alone during the Christmas season. The International Office therefore organised the sixth EURly Christmas Eve event, which took place on Wednesday. Over 80 students, who together represented 32 nationalities, enjoyed a three course dinner in Grand Café De Dijk. An EM correspondent who attended the event asked four students about their experience of the evening.

EURly Christmas Xiao

Xiao Su (24), China, Master in Management

“I won’t be seeing my family during this year’s holiday period. I’ll probably only see them again next summer or even next December. I miss them quite a lot and that’s why it’s nice that I can end the year in the company of friends and other students. It’s good that such an evening is organised, because it gives you a sense of togetherness. I’ve also just finished my exams, so I don’t have to worry about anything for now. The way people celebrate Christmas in the Netherlands is very similar to the way we celebrate Chinese New Year. Being with family and having a good time. I like that.”

EURly Christmas Silvia

Silvia Naumova (21), Bulgaria, law minor

“This evening is the closing of both the year and my time in Rotterdam. I spent four months studying here and will soon be returning to Bulgaria. Whether I’ll like seeing my family again at Christmas? I won’t actually. I do not want to go back. My father called earlier this week and got very angry when I told him that I’d rather stay in Rotterdam. The people here are far more friendly and tolerant than they are at home. I’m spending the evening with people from all over the world. That would never happen in Bulgaria. It’s disappointing to be leaving, but it’s nice to be spending the last evening in this special way.”

EURly Christmas Jek

Jekaterina Kuznecova (22), Latvia, third-year IBA BSc student

“This dinner is a great way to end the year. Nice people, good food – couldn’t have been better. 2016 was a bit of a roller-coaster ride for me, so I’m glad that things worked out well in the end. After celebrating Christmas with my family in Latvia, I’ll have a short holiday in Finland before returning to Rotterdam. To me, this city is like drinking beer: terrible at first, but the taste becomes increasingly pleasant. Rotterdam really feels like my city now.”

EURly Christmas Sara
Klara (l) en Sara

Sara Hannani (25), Iran, bachelor psychology

“I attended last year’s event and had such a good time that I persuaded my friend Klara to come this year. I do not see my family during the Christmas season because home is too far away. Although we don’t celebrate Christmas, it’s nice to be with others at this time of year. I’m very happy about this dinner because I no longer feel like I’m alone at Christmas. Being here with other international students gives me a feeling of being with family.”