Friday, 8 May 2020

Venlo accommodation

Hi Ya, Yasmine here again, this time to talk about my accommodation and its amenities here in Venlo.

I live in a large shared house in a complex of other large shared houses the complex is called Greenfields. As it is a house, we do have the luxury of our own garden area with a picnic bench and private bike storage. Greenfields is located on the outer edge of town, towards the German border. The house faces out onto a road, but a small pond separates the house from the road, inviting birds and butterflies, which I find quite enjoyable. Across the road is the nearest supermarket, less than a 3-minute walk, its open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.  every day except Sunday when it closes at 7 p.m. However, it only takes about 5-7 minutes to cycle into the city centre should I need anything else. It takes me about 10-15 minutes to cycle from Greenfields to the college. It is a quite location, which I like, although it is a bit far from the main blocks of student accommodation so it can be a little isolation by location alone.

My house has 15 bedrooms, but not all the rooms are occupied. My room is on the 1st floor, it is a roomy enough single room with a bed, wardrobe, chest of drawers, table, chair, fridge, sink, small counter space and four cupboards to store any non-clothing items you have. There are two large windows, one that ones in two directions, there is also a very handy sliding blind that allows me to keep the sun out without having to close the currants completely. We have large wet room style bathrooms that we share. At the most there was only four people sharing my bathroom, however two have relocated so now I share it with just one other housemate.
As it is such a large house, we have two kitchen areas, with sinks, stove tops and one oven…the oven is actually a luxury for students here in the Netherlands – most student accommodation only provides a stove top and a microwave. Naturally sharing with strangers can be a challenge when you’re a chef, kitchen cleanliness is always something that seems to be an issue, but the individual sinks in our bedrooms does alleviate some of that tension. The only common area to speak of in the house is the dining room attached to the kitchen areas, there are tables and chairs but no couches or T.V.’s.  There is no laundry room located in the house, however, there is a communal laundry room on the complex, I was disappointed and a little annoyed to discover that there was no laundry room and that we would have to download an app and pay for washing, but I quickly got over it.

I paid for all of my accommodation upfront, as I wanted to be able to enjoy my time in Venlo, without the stress of rent payments. The overall sum I paid to Greenfields (Brix Housing) was about 3000.00. This included my rent for the 6 months, my deposit, as well as all of my other living related expenses i.e. electric, water, gas, internet. I paid 65 for a bedding set, which included 1 pillow, 1 blanket, 1 mattress cover, 1 fitted sheet and 1 duvet cover, I’m hesitant to say it was worth the time saved, as the quality isn’t very good and the fabric can be a little scratchy. The only thing I have to pay for out of pocket is food, fun and travel. I bought a bike as quickly as I could when I arrived to Venlo, 50 online, so travel has been relatively cheap. I have bought some things since I’ve been here, like a hair dryer and a small coffee maker, both 15 each, but worth it. I would recommend bringing at least a 3 socket extension cable with you and an adaptor with you, because trying to charge all your devices with just one socket adaptor is a head melt.

Thursday, 7 May 2020

Multicultural student life in Venlo!

Okay, so it is Kate again doing my final blog post. Due to the Covid-19 outbreak my time in Venlo was short, I was only there for about 6 weeks. However, within those 6 weeks, I have made some great memories and some great friends. Though I am no longer over there, I keep in contact with some great people! 

Lunch on a cycle to Germany!
I have made friends with people from Mexico, Germany, Italy, France, Denmark and Latvia to name but a few. As you can imagine, each culture is quite different. From being away I feel like I was given a greater understanding of cultural differences, but also how alike some cultures are to the Irish. 

From all of the Erasmus students and exchange students, the Mexicans were the biggest group.  Because of this, they were really able to show their culture and some of the best dancers I’ve ever seen! Dancing is like walking for them. They love to move and are constantly wanting you to dance with them. Unfortunately, I would not be the best dancer but with their help I improved a little!

Mexican friends wearing my hat
 which I forgot to bring home!
From the very start, a nice friendly group emerged, and everyone got on very well. We constantly were going out for dinner together and lunch at the weekends, and then during the week we would gather together in someone’s apartment and cook together. Often times, there could be up to 20 people eating dinner together. I really enjoyed doing this because each person would bring an item to contribute to the meal. Pancakes become a regular occurrence for us. We would eat, listen to music and just talk on the nights that we did not want to party. I also had joined a soccer team while I was over there, we trained Tuesday and Thursday evenings. I really liked going to training, even though I can barely kick a ball, but I was meeting local people not only exchange students. The team was a mix of girls and boys, but there were only 4 girls on the team, so we never got a real change to play! The boys were too competitive, but it had a great social aspect to it either way!

Playing cards became a weekly thing as well. I had never played much cards, but it was another great way to get to know people without the awkward conversations. I really loved being in Venlo, I was so so upset returning home so quickly. 6 weeks was just not long enough!

Thanks so much for reading my blog post  through out the year. If anyone from WIT likes the idea of working in Boulangerie Jade or has any questions about Venlo, I would be more than happy to talk to you.

Kate Miller.