For Alexandra, who hails from Bucharest, studying psychology was for many years a secret dream. Her grandmother said it would be a waste of her time. Other people around her said the same thing, because it would be easier to build up a good career with a different kind of study, surely? “It’s just a hobby,” she was told. Or to go and do it as a second study. “I’m so glad I did it though,” Alexandra says. “Enrolling was the best compulsion I ever felt, the best idea I’ve ever had.”

It felt good

A year ago, Alexandra was still convinced that she would embark on a Hotel Management study. Even though she had been reading online articles about psychology habitually since she was fourteen. “The human mind, emotions, thoughts, I found it all so incredibly fascinating.” When she was sorting out which study she wanted to do, she looked around schools all over Europe and had already heard a bit about Erasmus University from friends. “And I had a hunch about Rotterdam. I can’t quite describe it, but it felt good.” So, Alexandra signed herself up and counted the nights until April 15, the day she would be notified about her enrolment. “I was so happy when I saw that I got in. I immediately forgot all about hotel management.”

Alexandra studied until late last night. “Earlier this week I hadn’t done enough work and I don’t want to go into class unprepared,” she says. It’s quite a demanding study, Alexandra finds. A lot of reading, a lot of specialist terms. “It is sometimes difficult to grasp. I really have to take the time to understand what I’m reading, otherwise I can’t take part in the discussions during any of the get-togethers.” The first lot of fellow students have already dropped out, but she does not even want to consider that. “I did not like the first block on social psychology. This second block deals with personal psychology. How do your thoughts develop and how does your behaviour develop? – I find that really fascinating.”

No more parties

Alexandra has her own studio apartment in Xior. Parties were held regularly on the rooftop terrace at the beginning of summer. “I think everyone who lives here went to those parties. But then the corona infections rose, and we learned about the rules here in the Netherlands, so now there are no more parties. We sometimes sit together in the communal area.” Alexandra does not have any offline lessons; she finds that a real shame. “The internet doesn’t always work very well in Xior. Obviously, everyone is always on the internet, given that everyone has online lectures.”

Despite the lousy internet, the lack of parties, and online classes, Alexandra does not regret moving. “Things would have been different at home. In the comfort of my own home and with my own group of friends, I wouldn’t have had these experiences. This is a new chapter in my life.”

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