Nur ensures us she’s doing fine. Although she is concerned about several other international students. “They feel lonely; they aren’t doing too well. It can be quite daunting to ‘spontaneously’ participate in an event – online or offline – if you don’t know anyone involved.” She wishes the university would make it easier for lonely students to take part. Maybe organise events for students who don’t know anyone else either, for instance.
First-year student Nur is studying MISOC and everything makes her happy
They dreamt of studying abroad, preferably in Rotterdam. Then the pandemic broke out.…
Nur is happy that she made it to Rotterdam ‘on time’ last summer, giving her an opportunity to meet a lot of other students. “We often go walking together, or work out – which is so nice! And I was just as lucky with my housemates. Not everyone gets along as well as we do.” At the start of the academic year, Nur became a member of the student initiative Erasmus Tech Consulting (ETC) and the B&R Beurs association. As a result, she talks a lot with fellow students and takes part in online events, as well as devoting a lot of time to ETC. When it comes to having company, joining several ‘clubs’ has been very helpful. And it gives her a huge energy boost – even during these cold, dark winter days, in the midst of a pandemic.
“I’m Spanish of course, so Christmas inevitably means eating copious amounts of good food and sitting around the table talking into the wee hours. We can talk and eat for hours on end,” is how Nur describes a ‘regular’ Christmas. “My family’s from Madrid, but we have relatives all over the country and we all see each other over the holidays.” This is the first time she’ll be out on her own. “I don’t dare to go home. I’m afraid I won’t be able to get back to Rotterdam otherwise, if we end up in a strict lockdown. And I definitely want to be here in January.” Nur’s housemates will be going home, as will many of her friends and acquaintances. “A lot of students are going home, or went home earlier. I’m interested to see how empty the Hatta Building and the campus will be during Christmas.” She planned to do some sports over the holidays, but now the gyms had to close up until January. She isn’t really looking forward to the weeks ahead, since a virtually deserted campus doesn’t sound particularly appealing.
Nevertheless, Nur still feels as upbeat as she did at the beginning of the year. “I miss my family tremendously, but ‘it is what it is’. No use complaining.” And one thing she definitely won’t complain about is how online education has worked out. Although she does look forward to the experience of a campus that is buzzing with activity, and ‘real’, face-to-face education. “Despite living on campus, right now Erasmus University feels like an online platform. Still, I don’t regret moving here. I’ve met so many wonderful and smart people with an ambitious mind-set. I still feel very welcome here.”