How to Deal with Loneliness During Erasmus?

Not Tinder.

But let’s take it more seriously. If you find it difficult to deal with leaving your close ones behind and building up new relationships from ground zero, loneliness can be a serious awry of your exchange.

When you are not easy with making friends in the beginning of the exchange, you might start questioning yourself, but many experience it, believe me. Meeting the expectation of others or the fear of missing out, if you do not join as many events as possible, can be an issue. Or you are just simply not fascinated with having shallow conversations with others, who are just as afraid to open up as you are. I have been in the same situation last year, and my thought was: “Everything is better than staying at home and doing nothing”.

In this article, I would love to present you some possibilities, which would have helped me last year to deal with being alone. For this, it is important to enjoy your own company, (I believe, me and I are really good friends 😀 ) and NOT TO BE AFRAID OF BEING ALONE.

Yes, this is the most important. You have no one to meet up with at the moment? Others invited you to an event you are not tickled by?  You might avoid feeling blue with the following useful(?) tips:

    1. Get a Museum Card. It is valid for a whole year, and if we consider that for ~60€, you have free entrance for almost every museum in The Netherlands, it is a fun deal. Especially for rainy days (whose high number is something I assume you are aware of). This can also help you filter the people you have common interests with.
    2. Cycle. I know it sounds cliché, but the fact that you can cycle between cities is awesome. As it is extremely hard to find classic escape destinations, such as mountains (LOL) or big forests, cycling can give you some headspace, it also allows you to pay more attention to yourself, which, trust me, you need.
    3. Initiate. The best way to share what you love to do with others is to organize it yourself. Whether it is a poker or board game night, a football game or yoga workshop, you can count on yourself. The people who are joining you are already open, which means you have a base to start your friendship on.
    4. Say what you want to say. Go beyond the “Where are you from” and “What do you study questions”. Do not worry about others not liking you. If you have a click with someone immediately, it will be more meaningful, than 10 other conversations about things you do no even care about.
    5.  Tinder. Meditation. Just 10 minutes a day. When you get to know yourself better, loneliness is much more bearable than you would imagine.

Continue reading “How to Deal with Loneliness During Erasmus?”


Were you there? These were the greatest moments of the Mentor Week

What a week! From 11th to 14th of September, new internationals in Utrecht had a chance to participate in the Mentor Week, when they join two mentors and a group of other internationals to partake in several fun activities throughout the week. Since different groups did different things in different days, and the rain was a not welcomed guest, I will go through some of the highlights of the week. See if you can spot someone you know in the pictures!


Unfortunately, the rain didn’t allow for a nice canoeing activity on Monday. But that didn’t stop anyone! Instead, internationals and mentors were able to still get on a boat and enjoy a few drinks on water.



Also due to the rain on Wednesday, some groups had to go play bowling, but that was far from boring!



Everyone likes to play pool once in a while, and it makes you feel fancy! Some internationals went to poolcafé t’ Hart and experienced the competitive sides of their mentor group members, while enjoying a couple of drinks on the house.



In Lasergaming you have to shoot your opponent with – you guessed it – harmless lasers. At Ozebi the mentour groups could enjoy this activity, which helped with bonding, making  some sort of exercise and having loads of fun!


International Kitchen

In this activity everyone brought some food from their own countries to share with fellow internationals, so people could taste a little of somewhere else. Take a look at how delicious all of this food looks!



Personally, I find Karaoke one of the most fun, entertaining and ice-breaking activities, there is nothing like the impending public humiliation associated with it to make friends immediately! And I think internationals agree, because they seemed to have a great time, and didn’t have any voice left on the next day!



The Beer Cantus is a Dutch tradition that consists of making people drink and sing, and there is a series of rules that, if broken, have very special penalties. These penalties can be drinking more, or maybe go on stage and play a fun game (for the punishers, of course). It is one of the most expected activities. It took place in Club Poema, and it did not disappoint!



Reaching the end of the week and that heart breaking feeling that an amazing week is coming to an end, partying in Tivoli was the best way to let loose. People partied all night long, on the edge of starting what we hope will be a great semester!


Goodbye Memory Ideas

Cheerio My ‘Dutch’ Family

It is now the final week of Erasmus before SSH kicks us all out ready for our summer take over students. Many have already returned home and tears are being shared among those who remain. What follows are some suggestions towards your Erasmus memories!

Dutch Flag

In England, and perhaps other countries also, on the last days of school the students get their school shirt signed by their fellow students… and arms and face, but that doesn’t matter. You can carry on this little tradition and get a shirt signed, or perhaps grab a Dutch Flag and have that signed instead! It will take up little room for your many future travels and moving and you can always look back at all the beautiful comments people will write about you.

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Throughout the year you may had accumulated a few things, such as tickets from travelling around Europe and in the Netherlands. You shouldn’t throw those cute memory triggers away! Buy a book with decent paper, Hema photo albums are cheap and good quality, and stick all those treasures in a quirky or organized way to flick through in the future. Get people to sign that book, write messages, or/and sign their photographs!


The Polaroid/ Disposable

If you do not own one of these delightful gadgets then Hema is selling them for under 70 Euro! Or opt for a classic disposable camera for 5 Euro! You can take a photo series of the beautiful faces of your friends, take group photographs, selfies, you name it! This collection can be added to your scrapbook or in a cute memory box for your future self to browse through.


Friendship things

Some students have got matching tattoos with their housemates, or went for a less permanent option and bought matching bracelets or made them. Jewelry is a typical and simple way to look back and reflect on the people who share the same bracelet or necklace. Perhaps matching Utrecht shirts, Miffy key rings, anything inspirational and useful you can think of – try and get the same for all.


The Final Dinner/aroma

One last meal together. Everyone chips in with their traditional dish. A dish or recipe that will remind you of that person forever. For me, it is Olive oil. Never had I seen so much oil used in my life. On bread especially. All these strange and wonderful things will be nostalgic when you return back home and see something in the supermarket that reminds you of your flatmates. I will never see oil the same again.



Jumbo. What an icon. Jumbo, for some, is what they class as their first Dutch word as they shout it on their daily cycle from Uithof towards the trusted store. Hema, the savior for our empty rooms. AH with the hamster shopping bags. Bags, you say? If you will never see a Jumbo/Hema/ AH again, perhaps take the reusable bags back home with you and confuse your home residents with the bright yellow bag with black JUMBO letters. “What does that mean”, people will ask. “It means LOVE in Dutch”. Oh Jumbo… Farewell.


Dutch things

Waffles. Little key rings with clogs. Delft blue designs. Dom Tower merchandise. Miffy something. Utrecht key ring/badge. Anything ‘typical Dutch’ will do to remind you of all your crazy, exciting and interesting experiences here in the Netherlands.


Of course, nothing can beat the real experience. These things are there to help trigger your unconscious to remember those fun and crazy experiences. I hope, like me, you go home full of happiness and had learnt many new things. I certainly will return and I have my collection of forever memories ready for departure.

Thank you Netherlands for having me here, I enjoyed every moment of it and I will never forget!

ESN VIDEOBLOG#2 Allie’s experience abroad

This video is made by Allison Young, who is studying abroad here in Utrecht. Since the start of the semester, she’s been part of a mentor group which did a lot of cool stuff together in and around Utrecht. Allison is studying media and has always enjoyed editing and watching videos. The JoCo asked Allie what her motivation was for making this video..

Allison: ‘Making a video was a good way  to really think about what the impactful moments were for me. I knew that time was going to go by fast here and that I would cherish having something so visual and personal to reflect on back home. It’s also a great way to show my family and friends what I’ve been up to since being abroad.’

Don’t wait to watch this amazing video of Allie’s experience!

Want so see more of Allie? A new video: Utrecht: part 2 is coming up soon at her channel!

Video by: Allison Young

Behind the scenes – spring covershoot

It’s the 6th of March. We are lucky because spring is in the air! We chose a perfect day: a blue sky with a few clouds, a beautiful garden with lovely purple flowers and the sun that shone regularly. We are shooting our new cover for the spring edition of the ABROAD magazine! The shoot is located in ‘De Oude Hortus’, the garden in the University Museum. From 1723 till 1920 it was the Botanic Garden of the University of Utrecht. The garden is located through the Lange Nieuwstraat and the Nieuwegracht.

Our team of today consists of 4 of our JoCo members and two models. The models arrive exactly on time at the location and we start casually with a coffee to discuss our plans. Today we’re working with Anshul and Elvira, two internationals that are studying in Utrecht. It’s amazing how these two have appeared as thought they areas professional models. A big thanks to the both of you!

Trough a photo diary we would like to give you an inclination of this great day!

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Before our models have arrived Maaike and Evelijn have been searching for the perfect spots for our shoot. Aren’t these spots looking amazing??

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Inside or outside?                              This doesn’t look really Dutch!

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Strike a pose Evelijn!

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Ready to take off!                               Okay not yet… 😉

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First location!

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Our second location! It is amazing to see how comfortable our models are together. Posing if they do this every day  🙂

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Single shoot of the models

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Third location, such a spring feeling right?!

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Annalise is working on the final picture!

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Amazing reflection effect in the water

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The team of the spring covershoot!

We still need to find models for our last ABROAD of the year! Do you enjoy posing for the camera and do you want to help us out? If that’s a yes come and send us an email. @ 🙂

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