The Ultimate Christmas Playlist

I don’t want a lot for Christmas. There is just one thing I need…Christmas songs! Let’s be honest, we all hate and love them at the same time. But Christmas would simply not be the same without them! That’s why I came up with an ultimate Christmas playlist, including some all-time favourites but also some fresh tunes. So, turn up the volume and make sure you have enough space to dance because it’s time for some JINGLE BELL ROCK!

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Fun Facts about Christmas Songs

Before I give away the playlist, I need to tell you about some hidden, fun facts concerning you favourite Christmas songs. Believe us, you would have never, NEVER imagined what we are about to share with you…

  1. “Jingle Bells” was the first song to be broadcast from space, as Gemini 6 astronauts Tom Stafford and Wally Schirra sang the song as a Christmas prank in December of 1965 after they told NASA, “We have an object, looks like a satellite going from north to south, probably in polar orbit… I see a command module and eight smaller modules in front. The pilot of the command module is wearing a red suit….”
    True (Christmas) legends!
  2. ‘White Christmas’ is the best-selling single of all time. Yes, you read it right. Not Micheal Jackson, not Justin Bieber, NO it is Bing Crosby’s version of “White Christmas”, which is  with over 100 million sold copies the highest-selling single of all time.
  3. During the WWI Christmas Truce of 1914, German, English and French troops sang “Silent Night” together because it was the only carol that everyone on the front lines knew the lyrics to. The song has been translated in about 140 languages!
  4. “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” is one of the oldest Christmas songs, originating in 16th century England.
  5. In Britain, the best-selling festive single is Band Aid’s 1984 track ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’, which sold 3.5million copies. Wham! is next in the same year with Last Christmas, selling 1.4million.

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The Playlist

The list of Christmas carols is endless. Here are our Top 24 (see what we are doing here?!):

  1. All I want for Christmas is You – Mariah Carey
  2. Last Christmas – Wham!
  3. Hallelujah – Pentatonix (Their Christmas album is insane!)
  4. Santa bring My Baby Back (To Me) – Elvis Presley
  5. It’s Beginning to look a lot like Christmas – Michael Buble (also known as ‘The King of Christmas’)
  6. Santa’s Coming For Us – Sia
  7. You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch – Thurl Ravenscroft
  8. Do They Know It’s Christmas? – Band Aid 30
  9. Thank God It’s Christmas – Queen
  10. Feliz Navidad – Jose Feliciano
  11. Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas – Sam Smith
  12. A New York Christmas – Rob Thomas
  13. Man With the Bag – Jessy J
  14. Jingle Bells – Michael Buble
  15. Mistletoe – Justin Bieber
  16. Jingle Bell Rock – Daryl Hall & John Oates
  17. Shake Up Christmas – Train
  18. Christmas Lights – Coldplay
  19. Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer – Dean Martin
  20. Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town – Frank Sinatra
  21. Driving Home for Christmas – Chris Rea
  22. White Christmas – Bing Crosby
  23. Happy Xmas (War is Over) – John Lennon
  24. Baby It’s Cold Outside – Idina Menzel & Michael Buble

You can find the whole playlist with many more songs here

Obviously, there are many many more Christmas songs out there. So, if your favourite songs isn’t on our list yet please let us know in the comments! There are never enough Christmas songs.

Utrecht has a lot to offer during December, including Christmas markets, ice-skating and many more festive things. For more details have a look at our festive agenda.

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5 lessons you have learned during your time abroad

Time’s a bitch and your days abroad are numbered, so it’s time for some reminiscing!

Your bank balance hit a new low

Ouch yup, checking your bank balance during your time abroad is no fun. You’ve had so much to see and do and eat and explore and what not … Still at the same time hardly any money came in. Make sure to find a good summer job when you return home, because you did learn one thing from this experience: money can buy you amazing experiences! So make sure to save some money so you’ll be able to say yes to new adventures. Oh and maybe a lesson in budgeting is also a good idea. 😉

The world is bigger than you thought

Some people say the it’s a small world we’re living in. Well, it is when you stay at home. But when you travel abroad you’ll meet so many different people from different cultures and countries that you’ll soon realize that there’s so much left to discover in this world! The world counts almost 200 countries and once you get caught with the travel bug you can’t wait to discover them all. And since you have made friends all over the world, you’ve got a good excuse to do so!

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Friends can be found everywhere

A few months ago Utrecht was a just a dot on the map, an empty concept ready to be filled with new experiences. You might have arrived in Utrecht all on your own, but I’m sure that you’ll leave town with a ton of new memories and friends. Living abroad teaches you that there are friends to be made everywhere. At ESN, at university, at your student house. People love to connect and to share experiences. Some of the friendships are there to stay and others you’ll leave behind in Utrecht. Never be afraid to start an adventure on your own, because you’ll meet other people who want to share their adventure with you.

Say yes to everything!

Do you remember that one night when you were sitting on your couch watching a replay of How I Met Your Mother? Nope, didn’t think so either. The most amazing things happen when you don’t expect them to happen. You just have to be flexible and be there at the right time and moment. Whilst studying abroad you’ve got all the time, you’re not bound to a job a or other obligations. So whenever one of your Utrecht-buddies asks whether you’ve got time to come and visit them in their home country, say yes and just do it!

You’re a survivor

Leaving behind the familiar for the big unknown is always a big step. How are you gonna survive without your besties around the corner and your mum and dad nearby? Well, congratulations, because you just did it! You went to a city where you didn’t know anyone and you’re gonna leave this city with new confidence. Studying abroad teaches you that you can always count on yourself and that you’re able to survive!

How to date a Dutch guy

As you read in our Abroad magazine’s Spring edition – love is in the air! And the fact that the semester is coming to an end doesn’t mean you should give up on finding (and keeping) that cute Dutch guy you’ve had your eye on ever since you arrived in the Netherlands. But how do you go about getting what/who you want?

Where to find them

You might already have a person in mind, but if you’re still looking for that special someone, a big question could be: “Where do I meet Him?”. Sure, you could go to a bar and see what happens, but we have even better ideas for you!

 • Join a sports club / gym – most Dutchies actively pursue some sort of a sport (hockey and football are especially popular ones), so bumping into a bunch of cute guys is child’s play near sport fields and the gym. You getting healthy and in shape is just icing on the cake!

 • Go to funky concerts – Utrecht offers a wide variety of concerts from reggae to techno, so going to these parties is fun in itself. Finding someone who’s crazy about the same music as you is the dream, right?

 • Study in a café – Studying in the library is great for quiet productive time, but if your plan is to meet and talk to someone, move to a café with your books! Your study programme is also a great way to start a conversation.

 • Picnic in the park with friends – As the sun starts shining warmer, most of the Dutch make their way towards the parks to play football, picnic or just chill listening to music. Grab your friends and join the locals to meet the One!

 • Go to an ESN party – The ESN parties on Tuesdays in Poema are full of internationals who are in a similar situation to you. Meet like-minded people at the party or join any other ESN activities to have fun AND find love!

What to do once you’re dating

Finally, you found your crush! Now, you should know that Dutch guys can be quite different from the people you’ve dated back home. Make sure you watch out for the following pitfalls:

 • Make a move – The Netherlands is a highly emancipated country that prides itself in fighting for the equality of women. That, however, also implies that you shouldn’t sit around and wait for that cutie to ask you out – don’t be embarrassed to ask him yourself!

• Get used to directness – As you might have experienced already, the Dutch like to get straight to the point and express their opinions clearly. That can mean that he turns you down or he’ll tell you he’s also interested. Either way, at least you have a straight answer.

• Drop the games – Since the Dutchies are straightforward themselves, they prefer others to act like that too. That means: forget about complicated tactics and crazy plans and just be honest; it will work in your favour. 😉

 • Minimise makeup – Again, this is connected to the honesty argument. Dutch guys, just like any other nation’s men, appreciate a nice exterior, but if you turn up to a relaxed date in a long dress and full-on makeup, he’ll probably be taken aback – not in a positive way. Dress in a way that makes you feel at ease and doesn’t make him think you’re off to a gala!

 • PDA is not a Dutch quality – In some cultures, showing affection in public is widely accepted. However, don’t try to force a Dutch guy to get all cuddly and kissy in front of his friends; it will end up being an uncomfortable situation for everyone, which is not what you want, right?

 

There you go, our top advice on how to date a Dutchie! Even though these tips are applicable to the majority of Dutch men, each guy is a gem with his own quirks and kinks, so treat him nicely and use the aforementioned advice with care!

How did you meet your Dutch love? Let us know in a comment below!

3 must-run routes in Utrecht

Sometimes all you need is some fresh air and green space around you. So what’s a better way than putting on your running shoes and enjoying all what Utrecht’s got to offer? The best way to discover is to run around and see with your own eyes that there are other parts of the town besides the busy city centre. It is after all nicest to run somewhere where you aren’t bothered by cyclists and walkers. We found out the best places in Utrecht to run!

City centre – Singel route

A classic running route in Utrecht is the so-called Singel route. This route leads you around the historical city centre through a green area along the canals. The sandy paths are easy to run on and with 5K this route is perfect when you’re a newbie runner. Another nice advantage of this route is that it’s actually a round, so no running the same route again on your way back. Start at a point which is close to your house and keep your eyes open on this route, because there’s plenty to see!

singelroute

Uithof – Round Fort Rhijnauwen

If you live at the Uithof and you love running you’ve got an easy life, because you live in the middle of a green area! When you head towards the direction of the small town Zeist, you’ll find a big historical area of natural beauty. This route evolves around the historical Fort Rhijnauwen. The fortress was built in the 19th century as a part of the Hollandic Water Line. This series of water-based defences could be used to transform the provinces of Holland and Utrecht almost into an island as an excellent form of defence against enemy troops. Nowadays the old fort has been renovated and the area forms a perfect spot for running and relaxing. This route is only about 4K long, but if you want to extend the route the area offers plenty of opportunities.

uithof hardlopen

Overvecht – Along the Vecht

Another beautiful area is to be found on the eastside of town, so this route is ideal if you live at Tuindorp West Complex or in Overvecht. Over here the Vecht river, which later transforms into the Oude Gracht, meanders through the flat and green landscape. Along the Vecht is a nice sandy path with many houseboats. Salient detail; the houseboats used to be the red-light district of Utrecht until July 2013. Nowadays the path is perfect for running and walking your dog.

When you follow the path all the way to the small town Oud-Zuilen, you will run across two historical buildings: Fort aan de Klop and Slot Zuylen. Fort aan de Klop is another fortress part of the Hollandic Water Line, but Slot Zuylen was already built in the 16th century and knows a long history. This route is for the somewhat more experienced runner since it counts about 15K, but it’s definitely worth training for!

route vecht

So where are you waiting for? Put on your running shoes and go!

Survive your internship with these 5 tips

A long, long time ago, the grass was still green and the skies were still blue. Studying just meant sleeping in and chilling and you had no idea what it would be like to do an internship. Well now you know, and you wish you never did. And although internships can be hard, especially in the beginning, here are some tips on how to get through your internship period.

 

1. Don’t stay up too late

This one might almost seem too obvious, but it is crucial! For you to wake up early every day of the week and drag yourself into the office, you must have had a good night sleep. So don’t stay up until midnight watching all those Netflix series – we know it’s tempting, but try to at least get 8 hours of sleep a night. Not only will it be a lot easier to wake up in the morning, but you will also feel better during the day. Sleep deprivation can cause a lack of concentration and headaches,but, in the worst-case scenario, it can lead to obesity, hallucinations and depression. So, don’t take sleep lightly, and hit the sack early!

 

2. Coffee is your friend, but don’t overdo it

Speaking of concentration issues and tiredness, coffee may seem like an easy fix after a short night’s sleep. But mind you, although coffee will temporarily make you feel more awake and focused, too much caffeine is actually bad for you! It is advised to only have up to 400 milligrams of caffeine a day, which is the equivalent of roughly four cups of coffee. You can safely enjoy a good cup of coffee in the morning and one after lunch, just don’t keep running to the coffee corner all day long 😉 Instead, have some tea or water!

 

3. Prepare yourself!

As with a lot of difficult things, preparation is key! Waking up 5 minutes before you need to leave your house will cause you lots of stress in the morning, and you will probably be late more than once. To avoid stressing out in the morning, wake up in time. Also, try to prepare everything you can the night before. Make your sandwiches, pack your bag and maybe even lay down your clothes for the next day, so that when you wake up, you’re almost good to go!

 

4. Relaxation is vital

Everyone who has ever done an internship knows that it is a lot of hard work and might cause you quite some stress. It is therefore super important to make sure you get the relaxation you need! Don’t crowd your agenda every night with parties, dinners and other activities – instead, also plan nights off. Chill, read a book or do whatever you do to clear your mind and rest. Try to avoid computer or tv screens, because blue-light emitting devices have a negative effect on your sleep! And after all, no one can go without their beauty sleep.

 

5. Learn as much as you can

The internship-filled weeks and months ahead may seem endless, but believe me when I say that time flies and it will be over before you know it. Internships might be tiring and hard work, but they are also the perfect opportunity to get to know the workplace and your chosen profession. Instead of slacking off, try to learn as much as you can every day. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, because that’s the only way you can learn new things. 

 

Hopefully these tips will help you to make the most of your internship and learn as much as you can. What are your survival tips for fellow interns? Leave a comment below!

The best outdoor study spots in Utrecht

The weather has finally taken a turn for the better and after all the rainy, grey days it’s finally sunny and wonderfully warm! In this kind of weather, even the biggest of couch potatoes have a newly found desire to be outdoors and soak up the sun. However, it’s prime exam time, and the thought of doing nothing besides having a picnic with your friends fills you with a sense of joy and revision anxiety, all at the same time. So what should you do? The JoCo team comes to the rescue and recommends you the best places to study while still being in the fresh air!

Wilhelminapark

This wonderful spot hallway between the city centre and the Uithof is a haven for those wanting to escape the nerve-racking closed spaces of the library. There’s a huge grass-covered area where you can lay down on your favourite blanket with some snacks and focus on your studies. Also, there’s a great ice cream stand nearby in case you get hungry 😉 Caution: if the weather is extra nice, the park can get overcrowded with students playing football and young families!

Botanische Tuinen (The Botanic Garden)

If you have many classes on the Uithof campus, spending another minute there might feel like punishment. That shouldn’t be the case when you think of the Botanic Garden filled with rare species and plenty of quiet corners to get away from everyone. If you’re a student or an employee at Utrecht University, entry is completely free of charge and you can stay till 4.30 pm to make the most of your afternoon. And since the garden officially belongs to university, you have eduroam WiFi that you can use to do research online!

Park Bloeyendael

Located near Rijnsweerd-Noord, this natural park is a short cycle away from the centre of Utrecht. It’s a nice little variation from your everyday learning spots since, instead of neatly trimmed lawns and designated picnic areas, you can find wildflower meadows, a water lily pond and a varied flora and fauna here. If you’re looking for some peace and quiet, this is an excellent spot for some alone-time. Just be careful to remain focused on your studies: the numerous hiking trails and the local botanical garden will lure you into leaving your books and discovering nature instead!

Griftpark

Griftpark is the favourite of many students. Located North of the centre near the Tuirndorp West complex (where plenty of students live), it is easily accessible by bike or by bus, or even on foot! This modern park is the right choice if you’re still undecided about the course of your day: you can read while you sunbathe, play basketball, skate or simply admire different forms of urban wildlife, all in one place! If you start feeling hungry, there’s a stylish restaurant with a fascinating summer terrace right at the heart of the park. Don’t worry, there are also hidden spots in the garden where you can focus on your studies; it’s nice to know that you can take a break and do so many activities though!

Anywhere along the Singel

Yes, Utrecht is indeed famous for its charming canals and its surroundings, but there’s no other canal like the Stadsbuitengracht. This lovely body of water surrounds the old city centre and is accompanied by green areas all along. You can find cute parks like Park Lepelenburg or Park Sonnenborgh along the canal, but even without designated park areas there are plenty of benches for some revision in the sun. And if you get fed up with studies, you can just stroll along the water for a few minutes, take a couple of deep breaths and settle down at some other point near the canal.

 

Hopefully, this list helps you choose a place of study so that you don’t have to lock yourself in your room for the whole exam period. And if you’re done with revision, it’s time to get together with your friends and enjoy the weather together while barbequing or picnicking at one of these great locations! Share YOUR favourite outdoor spots with us in a comment!

Fly to the sun in less than 4 hours

Are you sweating your way through the last tough week of exams and are you dreaming of a spring break on the beach with a cocktail in your hand? Search no further, because the JoCo did some daydreaming and came up with their 3 favourite European holiday destinations which will match all your criteria!

Algarve

It’s hard to believe that the absolutely stunning Algarve is only 3 hours away from our cold little country. The endless sand beaches with insanely blue water resemble the beaches of the far away Thailand, but then it isn’t so far away! Next to the famous rock formations at the coast, this region has got so much more to offer. While it can be quite busy at the coast, the hilly inland parts of the Algarve are still untouched by tourism. Over here you can enjoy the beautiful nature, tasty Portuguese food and some peace and quiet. However, if you’re more in the mood for a party, you can indulge yourself in the busy party scene of Albufeira. The Algarve has got it all!

sun · beautiful beaches · portuguese food · party · travel time 3 hours 

Sardinia

Back to the islands! And this time not Ibiza, since everyone already knows that you can have a great time over there, but Sardinia! This huge island, in the middle of the Mediterranean sea, is home to the flamingo and I understand why. The spectacular coastline and rough nature appeal to the pretty pink birds so they thought, why not stay there? If the Spring break would last forever I think more people would stay as well … Because next to the beautiful nature Sardinia also offers the finger licking good Italian cuisine.

culture · rough nature · italian food · beaches · flamingos · travel time 2 hours

 

Canary Islands

The Canary Islands are the favourite holiday destination of many Europeans. And no wonder, because after 4 hours in a plane you’ll land in a totally different world. When you set foot on Lanzarote or Fuerteventura the warm sea breeze will come to you and the volcanic features of the islands give you the idea you landed on a newly discovered Star Wars planet. Okay true, the Canary Islands can be somewhat touristy and sometimes it might feel like you’re in little England but those English do have their good reasons to lodge on the Canary Islands. It’s cheap, the weather is always good and you can enjoy awesome surf spots. And that’s where you won’t see those bloody English tourists.

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A post shared by Victor (@victorhdl) on

beaches · vulcanic beauty · surfers paradise · travel time 4 hours

 

Hangover Heaven: The best food in town!

Every exchange student feels like this at least once during their exchange (and some even every week). You’ve had a fun night out with your new friends, but now you’ve woken up alone, it’s past noon and you feel awful. Your head is spinning, your throat is dry, it feels like you have nails inside your head and your face almost looks green. The only cure for this disastrous feeling is a tall glass of ice cold water and some greasy, mouthwatering comfort food. Since we’ve gained ‘some’ experience in surviving a hangover in Utrecht, we’ll help you find the best places to score some nice food.

Broodje Ben

This sandwich stand on the corner of the Oude Gracht and the Bakkerbrug truly has the best sandwiches in town. Mr. Ben offers over 50 sandwiches for you to choose from, all prepared with fresh ingredients. Also important to note, they’re not thrifty with their fillings! Trust me, you will want to try the number 34, a delicious carpaccio sandwich with a creamy truffle sauce. And the best thing is, you don’t even have to leave your bed since you can easily order online!

De Luifel

On Neude square you will find café de Luifel, a small but cozy bar. If you’re feeling hungover, you will definitely have to pay a visit here. The menu offers some very tasty options. My personal recommendation is the club sandwich (best I ever had!). This is a huge sandwich with fried chicken, lettuce, tomato, bacon, egg and of course a lot of mayonnaise. You’ll get a huge portion of fries on the side, which will definitely benefit your hangover.

Manneke Pis

If you’re looking for some greasy fast food, Manneke Pis is your place to be. Manneke Pis is a take-out restaurant for yummy fries. They’ve even won awards for having the best fries in the whole Netherlands. Not in the mood for fries? No worries, you can always go for a tasty, and very Dutch, ‘Broodje Kroket’. In Utrecht they have two locations in the city center, so you don’t have to walk far to get these heavenly fries and snacks.

ToqueToque

Nothing works better to overcome a hangover than stuffing yourself with fried eggs, of course with some crispy bacon and melted cheese on top. Besides the satisfying taste, eggs are full of nutrients that will help your body battle those alcoholic toxics in your liver. ToqueToque is one of those places where you can let your body enjoy some nice fried eggs in peace, for a student-friendly price.

Whether you’re still a little intoxicated from last night’s overflow of alcohol, or if you’re completely sobered-up, hangover food is always a great idea. Hopefully these tips will help you gain some strength and survive this horrendous day. Let us know in the comments what your favorite place is for the ultimate hangover brunch in Utrecht!

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