Many different conversations were buzzing in Theil’s hallway – from looking forward (‘Which career do you want to have?’) to looking backwards (‘Do you miss home?’), to simply looking around (‘Let’s see what other free stuff we can get’).
From the airport to Theil
Mariana, a future MSc Marketing Management student, ended up with several tote bags, which she’d have to take home together with her big suitcase, as she arrived in Rotterdam just a couple hours before the event. “I woke up at 6 am, took a flight from Portugal to Rotterdam, where I’d never been, and took a taxi directly to campus. Got lost on campus. Felt overwhelmed and nervous. And then, everyone here was so helpful and friendly, that now I know I’ve made the right choice to come to Erasmus”, shared Mariana.
Secret to making Dutch friends
In the backdrop of the information market, a series of presentations took place in the Aula, providing practical advice to students on how to thrive, not survive as an international student: from getting your BSN (social security number) to signing up for the ‘Yoga & Bubble Tea’ event by ESN (Erasmus Student Network). Among the speakers, there was Greg Shapiro, a Dutch-American comedian and author, who shared his own advice in an honest way (“Dutch is a very intimate language, try not to exchange bodily fluids while pronouncing it!”) and kept the whole audience laughing. Best way to make friends with Dutchies, according to Greg? Make fun of Belgians.
Does it work among Erasmus students? Apparently, it does! Katryna, a future IBA student from Belgium, agreed with the comedian: “I chose the Netherlands because of the English language and great courses offered at the university, but I’m not going to lie, I do make fun of Belgians to connect with my Dutch friends”. Most of all Katryna is now excited to meet new people and begin her independent life – among thousands of more students who are embarking on the same path starting this week.