In these first days of autumn, the majority of you faithful readers has been in this lovely city of Ultraiectum ad Rhenum (Utrecht for the friends) already since a month. Yep, hard to believe, but you came here and it was summer, and for some cruel yearly joke, now it’s the next colder season and you are probably already complaining about the Dutch weather!
I was in the same position a year ago, and I am aware of what you have been gone through, and what this first month means. Once it is passed the nightmare of the housing (you can read about it here), it starts the pilgrimage to Hema or IKEA to find that last pan or bedtable which will make your apartment just perfect. I mean, perfect if we don’t consider the shared kitchen and its persistent smell of spices and vegetables you never even heard of before coming here but that your flatmate from South Porthungarussia considers the fundamental ingredient in its signature dish. Hold your nose and embrace this aspect of the exchange life: meeting new cuisines!
Then there is the bike part. Oh Utrecht and its bikes. Do you remember the first days, when you stated: “I think I can live here for a semester without a bicycle”? How naïve! In this city it’s not even a matter of living: you cannot SURVIVE without your loyal velocipede. The good part is that you discover a new yourself: cycling is actually a pleasant activity, and if back at home sometimes you didn’t even leave the house for fear of not finding a parking lot, now you even go clubbing with a bike.
Speaking of night life, did you already try the combo disco-cafetaria? After having busted your best moves on the dance floor, when even the bouncer of the club feels a bit sorry for you and just wants to send you home, there is no better feeling than using your last energies to approach one of the many cafetarias in town (check out our nice list)
and recharge your batteries with the dutchest snacks ever, frikandels or kroketten.
Oh and last but not least: the Universities. No matter what course you are attending: your pesky professors, neglecting of your condition of exchange student have probably had you already working hard since the very first class (in some cases, even before the first class!). But let me tell you: they are the non-plus-ultra you can find, and once the first bloc is over you will enjoy even more the well-deserved holidays.