Drink and drugs

Students do sometimes enjoy alcoholic refreshments during their student years. That’s the understatement of the year: they drink quite a lot. Of all students in Europe, Dutch students are amongst the heaviest drinkers, with only Irish and Danish students drinking more. If you want to maintain this high ranking, there are plenty of places in the city where you can help achieve this:

Witte de With is always fun (but really busy; just try to squeeze into the Witte Aap at weekends). Stadhuisplein also has a lot of bars (great places to chill ….. especially the Après Skihut!). Café Beurs is the place to be on Thursday evenings (traditionally a firm favourite for Rotterdam students). The Schieblock area, next to the station, is swarming with places to drink (but watch out: it’s super trendy!). Bar, Annabel, Biergarten, Mono, Eurotrash, Bird; there’s something for everyone. New hip bars crop up or someone organises a pop-up festival every week, so there’s loads to choose from. And there’s also the option of drinking cans of Schultenbräu at home.

We certainly don’t want to idolise drinking (though we are getting rather thirsty), so here’s a little warning: until you’re 24, your brain is still developing. Alcohol, especially lots of it, can affect this development. But what’s a lot? Drinking just five glasses of alcohol in one evening is classified as binge drinking. And no, drinking only beer and not having shots doesn’t prevent a hangover. Your body needs 1.5 hours to break down a glass of alcohol whether it’s wine, beer, or a gin and tonic.

And yes, drug use also happens during student life: 3 out of 10 EUR students have apparently tried hard drugs. If you want to do that too, it’s wise to have the drugs tested. For instance, you can do that on Thursdays at Eendrachtsplein in the centre of Rotterdam. It takes a week to receive the results but it’s a good thing to do. It can identify the different substances in every pill or baggie so you definitely know what you’re taking. Testing is also anonymous.

STDs and sex

Talking about tests: if you’re in a risk group, the STD clinic offers free testing. If you’re under 25, you’re automatically in this category. Why? The figures say it all, as nearly a quarter of young people who visited the STD clinic last year did actually have an STD. People are less likely to use a condom after a drink or taking a pill. Not very smart, but that’s the reason students are at higher risk of having an STD.

In Rotterdam, it’s mainly the highly educated who take an STD test. No fewer than 60% of all people tested have or are following higher professional education or academic education. After all these years of information you’d expect the message to be clear. But that’s not the case. The number of people with an STD has actually increased in recent years. #Funfact: chlamydia and gonorrhoea are the most common.

Google chlamydia and gonorrhoea if you want to know more about the horrors of these. The images are clear enough. Yuck is an understatement. If you have any doubts, be smart and take a test. And for the idiots that don’t understand the simple word ‘no’: no means no. It’s the exact opposite of ‘yes’. If someone says ‘no’ to sex with you, stop. If you have the misfortune of coming across such an idiot, get help from Centrum Seksueel Geweld (Sexual Violence Centre). Undesirable behaviour at the university (you can check here what this is) can be reported to a confidential counsellor. You can also learn self-defence on campus at Erasmus Sport.