Gym De Workout

Staying in shape as a student can be difficult. Most gym memberships are expensive and most of the time the weather in the Netherlands is too rainy to enjoy a run. Thankfully, we found you a gym with a student discount and a lot of possibilities to stay in shape: De Workout!

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De Workout is a gym in downtown Utrecht. We talked to one of their long term members, Fee, who told us why she prefers De Workout over other gyms in Utrecht. Fee has been a member for three years and joined the gym after her friends told her about it.

There are several different ways to practice sport in De Workout. It is possible to join the group lessons, like BodyAttack (Fee’s favourite). Besides the standard group lessons, De Workout also organises sport events to break the routine once in a while. For instance, they organised a spinning marathon to raise money for charity.

If you rather work out at your own pace, you can make use of the cardio equipment or weights. Fee told us that she prefers De Workout over other gyms, because the employees pay a lot of individual attention to all their members. It is possible to work out with a trainer, who takes your personal goals into account. In addition, they are willing to make you a personal schedule for weight training.

Fee spent a semester abroad herself and experienced that it can be difficult to keep working out during an exchange period. Therefore, she recommends De Workout to all international students who would like to stay in shape. During her three years at De Workout, she came across a lot of internationals and she told us that the trainers and instructors are willing to help you out in English. In short, there are no excuses to not work out during your time in the Netherlands!

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The JoCo says goodbye!

You know what they say about the passing of time when you are enjoying yourself right? ‘Time flies when you’re having fun!’ And this my dear friends, has definitely been the case for this year as ESN Utrecht’s Journalism Committee. So, as a last goodbye and hopefully a see you later, this is what the JoCo takes away from the past year:

Maaike: This has been an amazing year with ESN and especially the JoCo. Fun activities, making new friends and learning a lot about writing, editing and working together with such a varied group of people. For me the highlights of the year were the times when we finished the Abroad magazines, I am so proud of the results. Thanks everyone for making this an unforgettable year! Enjoy your summers!

Betti: This was not my first time living abroad, but it was definitely the first time I got so involved with student life (through ESN) during my stay, and I don’t regret it one bit! Not only did I have the chance to participate in amazing events from pub quizzes to Local Platform III but I also met a bunch of amazing people with incredible stories. My fellow committee members helped me get through tough times and taught me how to just take it easy sometimes and that nobody has to deal with their difficulties alone. Believe me, that is probably the most valuable life lesson one could have and I’m grateful I got to learn them from such an awesome group of girls!

Vera: Thanks first and foremost to all the great girls that were part of the JoCo this year! I hope we made your stay in Utrecht even better than it already was. Similarly, I would like to thank ESN and you guys for the memories. Keep it up and Utrecht will always have a welcoming heart!

Kiki: I want to thank everyone for the great year! I hope you all enjoyed Utrecht and that you will come back sometime. I enjoyed ESN myself during my Erasmus in Madrid. I love that it brings people together and I hope it also made your stay even better. I already visited my friends from Erasmus and went back to Madrid. This is not the end! It was my pleasure to write blogs for you and do the design of the abroad Magazine. Doei!

Una: This was definitely an amazing year for me! I have joined ESN and met so many great, inspiring people from all over the world. Through ESN I became more involved in the student life of Utrecht, and it was the first time I have joined the JoCo committee, which was a great choice! Writing blogs, making magazines and meeting lovely girls was great fun for us, and I hope our readers enjoyed it as much as we did! xx

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Willeke: This year was over before I knew it! For me it was a full and busy year; graduation of art school, applying for a position for upcoming board member of ESN Utrecht (yes,I’m in the Candidate Board now!!), and of course writing blogs and writing and photographing for the Abroad magazines of the JoCo. I learned so much from my fellow committee members and I’m thankful for the new friendships I made during this year. I hope you enjoyed all the articles and magazines as much I did this year. Thanks for your interest in our blogs and have a good time back home! XoXo

Annalise: I had an incredible time here in Utrecht as an Erasmus student. ESN really helped me feel welcome here and connected me with amazing people of whom I will stay in contact with! I will most definitely visit again and see my lovely JoCo colleagues as well as many other residents here in Utrecht and the Netherlands! With me I will take waffles, stories, friendship and life experience back to England. Thank you everybody for your constant energy and enthusiasm, every moment I will treasure. Thank you, JoCo, for allowing me this opportunity to write for such an inspirational society, to help you help internationals get the best experience of their lives here in the Netherlands, I truly enjoyed spending my time with you. I will see you all again! Tot ziens! Cheerio!

Evelijn: It’s already time to say goodbye after two years of JoCo for me! I love the fact that this year’s committee managed to bring the blog and the magazine to a new level. The views of the blog went sky high and I believe the Abroad magazine never looked so pretty. Working together with this all-girls committee has been truly amazing with so many talented people in the group 🙂 Sadly, all good times come to an end so it’s time for me to say goodbye to the ESN blog. Enjoy the summer time and if it’s gonna rain all summer, there’s still plenty to read on the blog 😉

Sammy: I can’t say anything else than that I absolutely loved this year! I was completely new within ESN Utrecht but have never felt so welcomed and comfortable so quickly with a group of new people. I love how the JoCo girls have written so many amazing blogs and made four kick-ass Abroad magazines. No president can be prouder of their committee than I am, and I’m honestly quite sad our JoCo year is coming to an end… But luckily the new semester starts in September, and who knows what the future holds? But for now, enjoy the summer!

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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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Scrapbook

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Jumbo/Hema/AH

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.

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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.

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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!

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!

Let the games begin!

Your exam week is approaching, the panic attacks are becoming more intense, but you still can’t stop thinking of how hard you are going to party when all the struggle is over. After all, is there a better period to party than during these long sunny days, once you know that the summer holidays have started? Since we know you are probably tired of studying, we have decided to put up a simple drinking game list for you and to motivate you a bit! Enjoy! 🙂

Bit the bag

Make a circle and put a bag in the middle of the ground. One by one, each player has to pick up the bag using only their mouth. You can’t use your hands, and if you fail, you have to drink. Each round, and inch of the top of the bag is cut of so it is getting more difficult to pick the bag.

Attached at the hip

Each player writes down a body part on a paper and places them in a pile. All the players are divided into pairs and get are assigned a body part. The pair must be ‘attached’ by that body part as long as they can without moving, or starting to laugh. Every time a pair separates, they must drink.

Fuzzy duck

You have to say “fuzzy duck” to the person on your left. The round continues until someone says “does he”. You must now say “ducky fuzz”, but now going in the direction towards right. “Does he” can change direction again. If you say it wrongly, you drink!

Drink while you think

The first person says a name of a famous person, for example Donald Trump. Now the person on your left side must say a a celebrity whose name begins with the letter of that celebrity’s last name, in this case Penelope Cruz for example. If you don’t come up with the name in  6 seconds, you drink.

Paranoia

The person on your right whispers you a question, the answer of which has to be somebody playing the game (e.g. “who is the tallest person here?”). You have to respond out loud. If someone wants to know what the question was, they have to drink.

Medusa

Everyone forms a circle around the table. Place 20 drinks on the middle of the table. All the players put their heads down and on the count of three, you look at another player. If two people find that they looked at each other, they must scream ‘Medusa’ and drink. The last to finish their drink must take an additional one. The game is best when there are 6 or more people.

Straight Face

Every player writes a funny, inappropriate or ridiculous sentence on the paper and put it in a box. The players who can’t keep their a straight face must drink.

Keep calm and start with the drinking games!

From Utrecht with love

Whether you like it or not, your stay in Utrecht is slowly but surely coming to an end. It’s time to say your goodbyes and pack your bags for moving back home. Don’t you just wish you could stuff everything in your suitcase, from those delicious bitterballen to the millions of tulips to your new best friends? Unfortunately, no matter how advanced the JoCo-team is, even we cannot advise you on how to do so. What we can do, however, is tell you which are the best souvenirs you can take home for yourself and your loved ones!

Cheese

Of course, this typical Dutch food is the first on our list. Cheese for the Dutch is like tea for the English; it’s the bread and butter of the nation. Why not take home a few blocks of this heavenly goodness? We highly recommend paying a visit to Cheese & More in the centre, but there are several other huge cheese shops further away, such as Morty’s Kaas en Delicatessen or the Pakhuis Utrecht Kaas Boter Eieren. Be careful; it’s easy to spend a fortune in these stores because everything is just so tasty! As for transportation: there are no longer restrictions in place regarding animal products in the EU, so pack up! If you’re travelling to a non-EU country, however, we advise to check the specific requirements before you stock up on cheese only to be stopped by a hungry airport controller. 😉

Tacky typical souvenirs

Yes, we know that this sounds cheesy 😉 and slightly dated, but those souvenir shops all around the centre of Utrecht sell lots of cute little bits and bobs that you and your family will appreciate. Just think about it: in a few weeks or months, you’ll miss Utrecht and your friends so much that you’ll have a hard time coping with their absence. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a key ring with a miniature version of the Dom Tower attached always with you? It’s like carrying a piece of Utrecht with you at all times. How about some T-shirts with bikes or other typical Dutch icons (Miffy and the like) on them? You can show your old-new home how proud you are of having lived abroad in such a cool place. Don’t forget the amazing Delfware pottery – you could even purchase a Delftware-decorated cheeseboard! That way, anywhere you look you’ll be reminded of the great times you’ve spent here.

Pictures, pictures, pictures

Nowadays, we store everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, on our smartphones. Of course, it is extremely convenient to keep all your pictures on your phone: it’s easy to access and you always carry it around, right? However, printed pictures still have their charm. Can’t you just see a picture of you with your new besties posing at the canals with a funky frame, hanging on your wall? After all, this has probably been one of the most fun and eventful experiences of your life, and seeing it in your home will not only bring back fond memories but also serve as proof of how much you have learnt and achieved during this time. There are plenty of stores such as Color Utrecht and MultiCopy where you can get those awesome photos of yours printed, and you can find frames almost anywhere, from HEMA to souvenir shops to IKEA.

 

Naturally, this list is far from being finished. Are you curious of what other international students take with themselves (literally and figuratively) from Utrecht? Keep an eye on your mailbox in the next weeks and read all about it in our final Abroad magazine of the year!

How to maintain a long distance relationship with a Dutchie?

As summer is approaching, so is the time for many of you to say goodbye to your new friends, Utrecht and perhaps even a Dutch lover. Saying goodbye can be hard, especially when you’ve fallen for a special someone from another country. Nobody says it’s gonna be easy;  that’s why we’re providing you with some tips to help you maintain a long distance relationship with your Dutch lover or just your Dutch friends!

Make sure to bring home frozen bitterballen

This snack is one of the most typical Dutch foods. A yummy fried meatball with some mayonnaise, accompanied by some cold drinks on a terrace… That’s the image that pops into my mind when I think of Dutch summer. So what better way to bring home a bit of the Netherlands than bringing some frozen bitterballen? Of course, this tip is only for those of you who don’t have to travel home too far. You can easily fry them at home and share them with your family and friends. This way, your family and friends at home will fall in love with the Netherlands immediately (and indirectly with your newly found lover or friends). The old saying ‘the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach’ is definitely applicable here.

Communication is key

As you might have noticed, the Dutch are not known for their communication skills. We’re famous for our directness and don’t share our emotions and feelings too easily. That makes communicating with your Dutch partner or friends even more important. In today’s world it’s easy to stay in touch via Facebook or Skype, but in order to truly make your friendship or relationship work, you have to dig a bit deeper. Try talking to each other on a regular basis, talk about your expectations and don’t be afraid to tell the other how you feel. However, be careful to not overdo it since too much planned talking or texting can take the spontaneity out of your relation and ruin it.

Seize the opportunity to travel

Having friends abroad is the perfect excuse to travel more often. Plan visits to each other, so that your Dutch friends can also see your home country. But visiting each other shouldn’t be the only travelling for you; try to explore new countries together, so you can create long-lasting memories and make the times you see each other even more special. Check out the new Abroad magazine (arriving on your doorstep within two weeks) for more information on travelling with Erasmus friends.

Keep up your Dutch vocabulary

As said above, communication is key. Even though many Dutchies have an excellent level of speaking English, you can easily charm us if you’re able to speak some Dutch tous. You might have learned a few words or sentences here and there, but try keeping up your Dutch skills even when you’ve returned home. But how can one do that when no one around you speaks Dutch? Try watching Dutch movies with subtitles on Netflix, or practice your Dutch using the DuoLingo app.

Believe in your relationship

You might enjoy the idea of staying together despite the distance, but after a few months apart you will probably both start to realize the difficulty of a long distance relationship or friendship. If you want to make it work, it’s crucial to keep reminding each other of your love for one another. Confirmation of your commitment to each other can make or break your relationship. Both parties have to be willing to work through the problems that inevitably will arise, instead of dropping the relationship at the first sign of difficulties. Believe in your relationship or friendship, and I assure you: everything will work out eventually.

For more tips on saying goodbye, check out the coming edition of the Abroad magazine, filled with must see’s and do’s for your final weeks in the Netherlands.

 

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

Side-jobs for international students in Utrecht

Living the life as an international student is often amazing. Exploring local cultures, eating local foods, trying all the bars and making trips all around. However, all these activities do come with their costs and for many students, getting some extra money is always nice! Where to find these extra euros though? And where can you find a side-job as an international student in Utrecht? Here we’ll give you some tips and tricks how to get employed!

Get to work in stores

These days many clothing and accessory stores such as Mango, Zara, Pull&Bear, you name it, have international people employed. Most Dutch employees speak English relatively well and so do their customers, consequently many stores decided to also hire foreign employees. Just step by and ask whether they need extra employees!

Become a Teacher Assistant/University employee

What better way is there, when you’re inside the university already, to make the time you spend their profitable? Becoming a teacher assistant on the one hand is a great CV-booster, you get to spend time with your teachers and build up a netwerk and on the other hand, earn some money while you’re busy with your studies! Most studies in Utrecht are English-oriented so you should be able to get by without speaking Dutch!

Start your own

When you feel that you have better plans than to become a regular employee, why not starting your own company/sales point? Give fellow students some catch-up classes, walk your neighbour’s dog or do some babysitting might all earn you some extra $$ for the week

Volunteering

Although not a great cashmachine, volunteering might give you other benefits. Try organizations such as TasteBeforeYouWaste, the Green Office or helping out at a refugee house. Here you can meet a large variety of people and at the same time contribute to your own experience and to Dutch society.

Future

If you like the Netherlands, or being abroad, that much, you might want to consider an international career. You’re never too early to start your orientation on an international career. So let ESN be the stepping stone of your international career and get to know as many people from all over the world!

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