“Do they really say patat for friet here? I want to stay in shape, so I rarely eat chips. Perhaps that’s why I’d never noticed before.” Tristan’s mother can be proud of her son. He goes out for an occasional drink, but never really goes pub-crawling. Obviously, his studies in Medicine take priority. “Every week I arrange to play squash with friends. Sometimes we have a drink afterwards. At Bokaal, De Gele Kanarie, Café Beurs or at Annabel, which is a great place.”

Tristan Calon

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Tristan is the first person in his family to go to university. He couldn’t wait to embark on the adventure. “I did senior general secondary education (havo) first, but I was so keen to leave home that I went on to do pre-university education (VWO). Otherwise my parents might have made me go to Zeeland University of Applied Sciences and I didn’t want that. I was already dreaming of becoming a doctor.” Now the young man from Zeeland lives on Weenapad, next to Rotterdam Central Station. “Rotterdam is a big city, really huge, certainly compared with Breskens. I love being able to be anonymous in the city. In Breskens, everyone knows you.”

Tristan goes back to Zeeland most weekends. Nevertheless, his parents contact him nearly every weekday. “My mother wants to know what I’ve eaten every day, so I get messages like: ‘What have you eaten, what have you been doing, what are you about to do, where have you been?’ Quite sweet, really.”

Tristan would advise all students to leave home and find a room. “Everything is suddenly close-by: pubs, cinemas, sports facilities. In Zeeland, football was the only sport you could do with friends. Here you’ve got hockey, rowing, squash and so much more.” Is there anything he can’t get used to? “All those traffic lights. The distances aren’t that long, but you’re really lucky if you manage to cycle through with green lights all the way.”