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.

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