The lack of space in the Polak Building has resulted in strained relations between EUR students and HR students. Luckily, peace is at hand in the shape of a gruesome drink.
The fact that students from Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences (HR) can use Campus Woudestein is a sore spot. The owner of the campus supermarket claims that HR students increase petty crime in his shop, and EUR students who frequent the Polak Building claim that the HR students take up too much valuable space at the study areas. Erasmus Magazine and our HR colleagues at Profielen have published an online series that takes a look at the cultural differences. One anonymous EUR student described the HR students as ‘f***ing trainees’, while another said in front of the EM camera: “You can pick them out by their frikandel rolls and cans of Red Bull.”
HR students, on the other hand, describe EUR students as ‘snooty’ and less sociable. “We’re more open and we go hang out with each other more,” as one HR student put it. But some HR students are more positive: the EUR girls are ‘really cool’: “They look very classy and they’re a bit arrogant”. Which isn’t surprising if you’re as good-looking as they are, says a second student.
But although EUR students claim that Red Bull is the classic beverage for HR students, the Exam Prep Café – a pop-up study area offering free cans of this filthy tooth-rotting muck on Goudsesingel – is wildly popular among these same EUR students. Well, okay, it also offers free coffee, gingerbread and massages. Unfortunately, this study paradise is only open for 6 days in mid-April, and its main purpose is to promote a career site. But who knows, maybe it’ll be somewhere where EUR students and HR students can get together and smoke a caffeine-loaded peace pipe.
Another plan – and not such a healthy one either! – that made students extremely enthusiastic was the possibility that the legendary shawarma van De Lekkerste would return to Campus Woudestein. This rumour is making older students’ mouths water, although younger students only know the van from hearsay. It used to stand next to the tennis courts opposite G Building for many years, and its low-priced shawarma rolls used to sell like, erm, like low-priced shawarma rolls. However, this popular döner hotspot closed down with the advent of the Food Plaza in 2013, because the rent was too high for the couple who run the snack van.
They would love to make a comeback on campus, but according to a spokesperson, their shawarma van doesn’t fit in with the Food Plaza’s ‘international image’, and the range of products ‘lacks variety’. But surely a low-priced shawarma roll is all you need as a student, independent of your origin!
Sugar addiction – with or without the nauseating Red Bull – is a real problem among people from all walks of life, including those who have difficulty seeking help due to the language barrier. According to Eric Sijbrands, professor of internal medicine at Erasmus MC, only 25% of the patients at the diabetes clinic in Rotterdam-Zuid speak good Dutch. As a result, he has developed the DiabetesStation, a self-help device which can converse in 8 languages with diabetes patients – including those who can’t read or write!
Thea Hilhorst, professor of humanitarian aid, also ventured out of the ‘ivory tower’ of academics, donned cap and gown and treated unsuspecting passers-by in Amsterdam to a mini lecture on famine in African countries. She used this stunt to focus public attention on the Giro 555 charity collection for southern Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen.
According to the students’ unions, another problem – at a slightly different level – is the fact that student loans have skyrocketed. The total amount owing in student loans among Dutch students was 12 billion euros in 2012, but it’s now soared to 17 billion euros. And since tuition fees keep going up, student loans are on the increase as well. Not only that: the unions fear that the threshold for new students will get higher and higher too.
On the other hand, we’ve got an extra billion euros to invest in education, due to the fact that the basic student grant has been abolished. Right? Well, not really, because in these uncertain times when a new government is being formed, this sacred promise is gradually being eroded. Although outgoing Minister Jet Bussemaker continually assures us that this money really will be spent on education only, a recent research report has already cautiously concluded that the money may also be used for other purposes. So it’s obviously a good idea for students to monitor formation of the new government very closely.