Sunday, 8 March 2020

Goedendag from Venlo!

Goedendag from Venlo! Or Good day from Venlo, in good auld English.

Yasmine here, this time coming at you from the Netherlands. I’ve been in Venlo for a month now, so far, it’s been a bit of a challenge. Not in relation to the course or the people, but my own stupidity. I lost my phone the day after arriving in Venlo. This caused far more trouble than it should have, as getting replacement sim cards from a different country isn’t as easy as you’d think it is.

However, now, new phone and Dutch sim card in hand life in Venlo can finally begin! As I have been without a phone it has been difficult to keep in contact with the people I’ve met, so my social life hasn’t really had a change to flourish, but it will now. Today I will go to a college sponsored party where I will learn the cultural importance of the local festival, Carnival, which will take place next week. After that my housemate and I are going to a Semester opening party at a local pub to being carnival celebrations.

As I said I’ve been here a month, which means I arrived in Venlo on February 5th, 2020. I met a fellow exchange student while I was spending a few days in Amsterdam so we traveled to Venlo together, which was nice, and I would recommend to anyone who isn’t traveling with anyone else. A quick message on the Fontys Facebook page had me connected to other students. When we both arrived in Venlo we were met with our ‘buddy’ a fellow student from Fontys that volunteers to look after a newly arrived exchange student. She brought me to my accommodation and stayed with me until I met my landlord and retrieved my keys. That night I arranged to meet with some of the other exchange students at a local pub in order to get to know some faces and relax on our first night. This worked really well and those who showed up on the 1st day have made a little group of friends.

We had our first day of classes on Monday February 10th; however our timetable is very light, and we have plenty of free time to explore or travel. The workload is geared towards first year students so I don’t feel like it will be very difficult to catch up on topics or indeed to learn new topics. There is one module that is completely group project based, which has to potential to be very fun but also stressful trying to co-ordinate four group members with three different first languages.

I bought a bike to travel in and out of the college, it was relatively cheap and makes getting around Venlo a breeze!

Venlo town is quite a quiet place, it has the feel of a small town in Ireland but has the size and population of a city in Ireland. This means that although there are lots of people and more places to shop, the city itself seems somewhat sleepy. This isn’t a major issue, especially if you want to come here to concentrate on your studies. That being said, the train is centrally located within walking distance of the city centre, student accommodation and the university, so should you like to go out and explore it isn’t much of a hassle.

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

First month at Gleneagles, Scotland

Hi there,

Louise here, I have arrived in Scotland for my six month placement at the Gleneagles hotel. It is a five star hotel, they are well known for awarding spa and golf course. It is based on a 850 acre estate in the highlands of Scotland. It has hosted important events like G8 summit of world leaders and the golfs 2014 Ryder Cup.

In terms of food in the hotel, it’s hard to pick a starting point. They have many restaurants within the hotel, most of the restaurants are all under the business of the hotel, expect for

Andrew Fairlies restaurant which is in the hotel but is run as a separate business. Andrew Fairlie restaurant is one of best known restaurant in UK, it has two Michelin stars. It is only restaurant in Scotland to hold the two Michelin stars.

In the hotel there are many different restaurants, they range from fine dinning to casual as a cafe. They all have there own kitchen for each restaurant. What I love about it is all desserts in each restaurant is coming from the one pastry kitchen. That is where I am working for my placement.   
The pastry kitchen is a whole kitchen of its own. It is working 24 hours a day for 7 days a week. Bakers come in a night and bake all the bread needed for all kitchens as well of scones, doughs, croissants ect. Their is about 22  pastry chefs working in this kitchen. Everyday team is split into sections for the different restaurants. It is a very good team, if one section is under pressure all the other sections  will step in and help get it done. They are very welcoming and want you to learn as much as you can while your here.

On arrival a few buses and taxis to get here but that was because I didn’t know what buses ran where. It is located above Edinburgh and Glasgow, about the same distance from each. A bus runs from right outside the staff accommodation to Perth and Stirling. There is a train station near by to get to Edinburgh and   Glasgow. I arrived on a Sunday and had two days of induction on Monday and Tuesday. They are very good to staff here.