It’s a regular afternoon in October: the windows of Food Plaza are being flooded, and the trees outside seem about to pop out. Ece, an Economics exchange student from Turkey, is waiting for her friend in Food Plaza. Ece moved here a month ago, and the one thing that still throws her off-track is ever-shifting weather. “It’s crazy how it changes ten times a day, just look outside!”, she laughs. It’s true, three minutes later the sun comes out. “Some might think that I’m cold here after Turkey, but this is not the issue. I love rain and snow. But the weather is confusing my plans: do I go, do I not go? I don’t know how Dutch people do it. I hope to learn someday.”

Not risking biking

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Vladislav Manolov from Moldova studies International Bachelor Economics and Business Economics. Image credit: Natalia Khozyainova

Vladislav, who moved here from Moldova in the summer, is less wary of the weather, as he is using public transport to commute. Living far away from campus, he decided not to risk biking in these unpredictable conditions. As a tram user though, he is frustrated that you can’t top up your card inside the transport or at the stops — or that you must have a card. “In Moldova it’s much simpler — you pay and you go. Transportation here is much better, but how many times I forgot my card and felt the struggle!”

Why not use an umbrella

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Mary Zhang from China studies Econometrics and Economics. Image credit: Natalia Khozyainova

And what about students living here for a while? Mary, who originally is from China, is living in the Netherlands since she was 12 years old. She says that the country is so international that it was easy to instantly feel at home. Even the culinary shift went smoothly — she loves fried foods, and the Dutch cuisine, ‘quite similar to Chinese in texture’, ticked all the boxes. What she still cannot get used to is Dutch people’s refusal to use umbrellas. “I asked them why many times”, Mary laughs. “And then they explain that it rains for one minute and gets sunny again, so it doesn’t make sense to open the umbrella. I’m never giving up on my umbrella though!”