Normally, Charlotte Vink, 20, travels from Rotterdam to her mother’s place in Oud-Beijerland, but today her journey takes her to her boyfriend Rodney, who lives a bit further away, in the tiny village of Piershil on the island of Hoeksche Waard. Charlotte is carrying two bags: a backpack and a yoga bag, because tonight Rodney will be joining her to a yoga lesson (his first), in order to try and get a little more flexible. Charlotte takes a bus to Rotterdam three times a week to attend business administration lectures and seminars. “Prior to this I studied psychology for a year, but it was way too woolly for me. I’d picked that degree because it’s wide-ranging and I wasn’t sure yet what I wanted to do.”

Checking out twenty-five degree programmes


In order to determine what she did want to do, she took a gap year, during which, among other things, she attended ten open days organised by various universities. “I didn’t want to rush into another decision, so I checked out twenty-five degree programmes.” The career aptitude tests she took at secondary school were not helpful in this regard either. “They always told me the same thing: to become a doctor. But I can’t stand blood, so that wasn’t an option. That’s a question they should really add to such tests.”

In the end, she opted for Rotterdam, because EUR’s business administration degree is highly regarded. She adds with a smile: “And business administration is a wide-ranging degree as well!” So far she has passed all her exams and loved the degree. “It’s a lot harder than psychology, but I think it’s worth it.”

Living together in Rotterdam


While we are on the bus to the Heinenoord terminal, where we are changing, she tells me that she likes to listen to podcasts while commuting. “Reading on a bus makes me nauseous, and music I sometimes get fed up with. Podcasts actually teach me stuff while I’m travelling!”

Hopefully, she won’t have to commute for too much longer. Because even though it took her a while to persuade him, her boyfriend, Rodney, has now agreed to look for a place in Rotterdam with her. “Nearly all my friends have moved out, while his friends live in Piershil. But I did have to promise him that we will return to Hoeksche Waard once I’ve got my degree.”

Three stops before the terminus we get off the bus and walk onto a dyke called Sluisjesdijk. When I turn my head to check if it is safe to cross the street, Charlotte laughs at me. “There’s no need for that here. There’s never any traffic around here.”