Dancing students wearing onesies, video clips featuring loud beats, rugby balls being propelled into the audience at the speed of a high-speed train, a few back handsprings, and obviously, a pep talk by the Rector, Huib Pols – the official opening of this year’s Eureka Week had all the hallmarks of a real Rotterdam introduction week.

However, there were some novelties during the Monday morning party at De Doelen: a lot of acrobatic stunts were performed, and the entire programme was delivered in English, including the speech traditionally given by the Rector, Huib Pols. “After all, your neighbour may just be from Zimbabwe, or from Bulgaria.”

Sailing trip

Pols continued in line with the theme of the speech, All Hands on Deck: ‘The early stages of your degree are comparable to a sailing tour. You are boarding the ship for a long journey. Sometimes it will be easy, but sometimes you will encounter a rough sea.”

Pols emphasised the fact that students are not in it alone. “Be sure to join a student society or sport club. Use the opportunities you are given and make sure you stand out from the crowd.”

Short end of the stick

In previous editions of the Eureka Week, international students often got the short end of the stick. However, in the 2017 edition, they have become the VIPs. Last Sunday they had their own party, featuring performances, an outdoor cinema and a little market allowing them to sort out all of their administrative stuff. English will be the dominant language in the remainder of this year’s Eureka Week, as well.

De Doelen was absolutely packed this Monday morning – so packed that two opening ceremonies had to be held. A record number of 3,200 participants signed up for this year’s Eureka Week, a number so large that not all students wanting to join in the festivities could be accommodated. Hundreds of freshers signed up for the waiting list.