Unphased by last night’s monkey business, the first years are up bright and early for the information market on campus. Gazebos has been set up from one end of the university to the other and every organisation from the robotics club to the extreme sports club are on hand to show what they have to offer to incoming freshmen. Although the beer taps are already flowing around noon, the members of group 228 steered clear and sampled the student associations instead.

“I’m not sure what I’ll sign up for because there are so many clubs here, but I did get a lot of free stuff just for putting down my email,” says Bart, a Dutch first-year from Ede. “I even got a pack of ramen noodles.”

Sightseeing on campus

Sem Koelewijn enjoying some nutella.

Following an official opening at the IBA faculty, the guides give the first years a grand tour of the campus. They dish out vital advice like how to get a study spot in the library during exam period and where to get the cheapest drinks. As the group strolls around, however, it slowly become apparent that even the guides haven’t seen all the sights on campus before.

“Here we have the Erasmus Sports Centre, and on the right we have…the Q-building?” says Morad Farag curiously. “Didn’t know we had a Q-building.”

The cantus

The first years in group 228 are spoiled by their guides as one of them queues for hours before the renowned cantus in order to snag a table right in front of the stage where a live band plays all night long. The cantus, a tradition which dating back to the Middle Ages, is a marathon of drinking beer and singing that, oddly enough, takes place in the exam hall.

Cantus Eurekaweek
The spectacular view of the stage from group 228’s table Image credit: Eurekaweek Staff

Accompanied by booklets featuring all the song lyrics, the students link arms to sing traditional tunes from the Netherlands and Germany as well as some more modern hits like Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” and Avicci’s “Wake Me Up”.

“I don’t really know most of the songs because they’re in Dutch, but it was the bomb when Mama Mia came on,” yells Vivian from Finland. “Maybe that’s a bit stereotypical since ABBA is Scandinavian.”

ABBA and the hue of the neon lights don’t give a Middle Ages feel to the night, but the good old-fashioned camaraderie of students sitting around a long table tossing beer around did.

“Even though I’m not allowed to drink, it’s awesome to be getting a taste of Dutch culture,” Nathalie Groet from Switzerland tells EM. “The good thing about not drinking is that I’ll wake up fresh as a daisy tomorrow.”

Whether that will be the case for the rest of the group, we’ll have to wait and see.