For the first time in thirty years, EUR’s exams are being held at Ahoy. “Today, 7.035 students will be sitting exams,” says a university spokesperson. “The exam rooms on campus are booked solid.” EUR’s Professional Services Unit has been at the venue since 7am, preparing for the exams to be held at Ahoy, a major event centre that often hosts concerts, trade fairs and sporting events. “We transferred all the things we needed from the campus to here and hired folding chairs and time display devices.”

Relaxed students

Students Nienke, Emma and Brechtje are posted at the entrance to the examination halls. They were hired by EUR to show students to their rooms. “Some students, mainly the internationals, have never been here before,” says Nienke. “So we hope to prevent them from ending up in the wrong hall.” Thankfully, the students didn’t seem too stressed out by the novel experience, Nienke found in the morning. “The students look really relaxed,” she says with a smile. “There’s a supermarket opposite Ahoy, and at least one in ten students popped in there to get a cheese roll before entering the venue.”

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Students Nienke, Emma and Brechtje (from left to right) show students to their rooms and hand out chocolate bars after the exams. Image credit: Feba Sukmana

‘God, that was hard’

By now the students have been going for an hour. The first exam, ‘Introduction to Business Administration’, is over, and first-year students are emerging from the hall.

“God, that was hard,” says Business Administration student Jeppe Louwerse. “I didn’t do a lot of revision, but that’s fine. I’ll be able to re-sit the exam in a few months.” He’d prefer doing that resit on the campus, though, rather than here at Ahoy. “The hall here was a little noisy,” he says. “And it’s a lot further from my student house in Kralingen.”

His fellow student Hellen Li is also considering a resit. “I think I did an OK job, but I’d like to re-sit the exam to improve my mark. It won’t be until March, so I’ll have plenty of time to revise.” Hellen didn’t mind Ahoy. “Not every university gets to hold its exams at a concert venue like this, so I have to admit I actually found it kind of cool.”

Bringing wheelie suitcases into the room

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Alex is leaving for Schiphol immediately after the exam.

For their part, the International Business and Administration (IBA) students found their exam quite hard, as well. “The questions were so detailed. At one point I began to wonder if my answers were actually correct,” says South African student Alex Govender. This morning Alex left home much earlier than usual. “I wanted to make sure I wouldn’t be late for this exam,” he says. “And it was a good thing I did, because even though this place is easy to reach by public transport, I had some delays on the way here, so I only got here just in time.”

He doesn’t have much time to reminisce about the exam, because he has a train to catch. “I brought my wheelie suitcase, because I’m leaving for Schiphol straight away,” he tells us. His flight for Johannesburg is departing at 3.10pm. “I’m going home to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s with my family. I don’t have any special plans for the holiday, I’m just going to lie on the beach and not think of my studies or anything hard.”

Fun experience

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Capucine and Alice are leaving this afternoon, as well – for their home country, France.

Capucine Bora, a first-year IBA student from France, also entered the examination hall with a wheelie suitcase this morning. “I’ll be taking the train to my parents’ in a bit. I don’t have any plans for my holiday, but my parents live in Paris, so I won’t be bored.”

The international student didn’t mind sitting her exam at Ahoy, either. “I think I did a pretty good job. It’s just that the examination hall was really cold. I wanted to put on my coat, but it’s pretty uncomfortable, answering exam questions while wearing a thick winter coat.”

Her fellow student Victoria Geenen didn’t mind the cold. “I actually enjoyed sitting an exam here, because usually, we do it in a large room in the Van der Goot Building. This is more exciting.”

Another IBA student, Roos de Vries, agreed. “It was a fun one-time experience. People come to Ahoy from all over the country to attend concerts, and now we get to say, ‘Sorry, I actually sat an exam there.’ That’s kind of funny, right?”