Monday, September 22, 2014

Explosion Utrecht

Hello everybody!

Apparently I have the chance to write here, which is really nice. Should I first introduce myself? Let's say that I am one of the master students of the UU School of Economics, and that I'm coming from abroad, let's say from the south... for instance Italy -and that would be enough about me for the moment.

The first thing I would like to write about, before the courses, before the projects, before the general life at the UU, it's the literal EXPLOSION that was starting the academic year in Utrecht. I think it's something that prospective students may be interested about, and on which my fellow students can probably agree with me... let's tell it from my point of view. You maybe arrive in Utrecht in August to follow the Summercourse of Econometrics (if you, like me, are coming from a field different from Economics): then you find a nice city, not very crowded, and somehow a little asleep. You have difficult lectures in the morning, difficult tutorials in the afternoon, and some relaxed rhythms to start to know your course-mates which are also some of your future master-mates; you also can enjoy this quite city to arrange some practical matters, for instance finding a room (which would need an entire book, not a blog!!) or -most important!- buying a bicycle.

Then, something happens: September comes. And with it, arrives something which has a very menacing name: the “Introduction week”. You will discover that your life is going to change, especially if you are a foreign student. Seriously. And I'm not a first year experience student -let's say that I already have a master, already was studying abroad, and not to say that I'm “a lot” years old let's say that I have a loooong experience as a student. Still, I was struck! 

You start with the “International Meet&Greet” on Monday, organized to welcome the international students from all the UU bachelor and master programs, and you should imagine a scene like that: the hall of a university building with something like 200 students coming from all over the world all stuck together between the entrance and some tables with tea and coffee. And you can hardly move between the tall short (finally not tall!) blond brown (finally not blond!) crowd of young people, chatting with the most various accents, and you are probably stressed to take as many contacts and phone numbers as you can because you fear that you won't see those people again. But the following day you are already all together at the Introduction day, into the really wonderful Education Building: there you'll receive a lot of gadgets by your new university, and finally attend an interesting lecture about Dutch culture. 

Then, on Wednesday, you have the introduction for the master students of the School of Economics, at the Auditorium of the International Campus; and now the crowd which surrounds you is a little more quiet, because finally your are in touch with them: the Dutch students! In the afternoon you will probably talk better with some of them because you'll remain just with your master fellows. From that point I would say that your year is starting, and that an academic routine of lectures and tutorials is taking place (if you except the AMAZING Introduction day organized by ESN on Saturday, again with all the international students, and for those who took part in it the ESN Introduction week).

But when I'm talking about explosion I not only refer to the introduction week in itself... all the city is changed: now it is really FULL of students (maybe the average age of the city is 35?), and they are -we are- everywhere. And there are maybe ten or more facebook groups where people are continuously organizing activities of any kind where participants only want to know each other. And how not mention the students organizations: so the tuesday evening at the Club Poema organized by ESN, the wednesday evening at the “Social get together” by the ING board, just to prepare for the weekend... and the Dutch course organized by ING as well! In short, one would think that it's possible to spend the whole year just in these interesting social activities, where people are there only to make new friends and have a nice time. But apparently, we are here mainly to study, so I now definitively need to say you bye! (I hope only for the moment).