The previous blog posts were mostly focused on showing you what to expect from a study program in The Netherlands and HU in particular. So far, we summed up reasons to study in Utrecht, pros and cons of the international programs and the importance of practical experience. These topics aimed to familiarize you with the study methods and help you choose a program that will best suit your personality. Since you are here for another post, you probably already seriously consider a study program at HU. If this is the case, this blog post will show you 6 different social activities organized at Hogeschool Utrecht that will make you feel welcome and help you find friends from the very beginning of your HU experience.
Very often, one of the biggest struggles for all students who choose to study abroad is the adaptation phase. As one of these students, you already have certain expectations and you know that your life will change significantly in the upcoming years. The truth is that going abroad for a study could be quite difficult at times, but there are ways to make the transition process smooth and easy. Simply follow the tips below:
1.Don’t miss the Introduction Day
First of all, do not by any means miss this first opportunity to meet your future fellow students and study coach. Every year, there are two introduction days organized for all international students that arrive in September or February. As these days are normally scheduled 2 or 3 days before the start of the block, it is advisable that you book your flight for an earlier date so you could be present. The introduction day is an opportunity not only to meet your classmates, but also to familiarize yourself with the facilities and find out where to go for different types of information. Students, who cannot make it on time for the introduction day, could still turn for help to the international office.
2. Sign up for Buddy Program
Second, every student coming from abroad has the chance to sign up for a buddy program. The purpose of this program is to make it easier for you to feel more comfortable and to simplify your adaptation process.
Senior students go through special training to participate in this program and have the responsibility to welcome new students from the airport, meet with them regularly and show them around the city. The buddy coaches are also the first person that can help you with information on different courses or the structure of the chosen program. They will guide you through processes such as registering in the city hall or applying for insurance. However, their role is also to show you the fun part of living and studying in Utrecht. Knowing that there is someone, who is there for you, can make you feel more secure and enhance your HU experience. You could read more about the program here.
3. Go on an Introduction Camp
Third of all, a must-do during your first year is to go on an Introduction camp. This is the perfect opportunity to jump right into the new HU experience and get to meet people who are going through the same difficult transition. Normally, introduction camps are organized a few days before the start of every study year. A group of second year students is responsible for the organization and supervision of the camps. International students as well as Dutch students could sign up for the introduction camp a few months in advance. The camp itself is a unique chance for students to meet new friends in a fun way. Different games, competitions and social activities are organized with the purpose to make it easier for participants to get to know each other and enjoy together the last days off before the start of the year. As the camp is also joined by many Dutch students, this is a good opportunity for you to have your first encounter with the Dutch culture and find out more about your new country.
4. Join a Study Association
Fourth, a good way to meet new people and follow your interests is by joining a study association. Being a student city, Utrecht offers numerous types of study associations. You will have an opportunity to sign up for different sport clubs, debate societies or international associations.
Escape is a study association established by ICM students. They have their own ICMEscape Facebook page, where you could read the story of different international students and teachers, ask questions or see videos and photos from different parties that are regularly organized by the association. Very often parties organized by Escape have certain theme (see the poster), and are popular not only among ICM students, but also among other dutch and international programs.
Attending the different events organized by the association is a good way to meet people and have fun. However, if you believe in your creativity and talent, you could go a step further and apply to join the team of the association.
5. Join the International Dinner and BBQ
Another two events that take place regularly during the winter and summer months of the study year are the international dinner and BBQ. They are organized for all students from international programs at HU and all exchange students. On these events you could meet up with your fellow students and teachers in a casual environment and share some delicious food and drinks. The two events are gaining more and more popularity in the recent years.
6. Go on a School Trip
Lastly, an activity that is also definitely worth joining is the school trip organized by Escape. Previous years, students had the chance to visit London, Prague and Berlin. The trips are very affordable (around 150 € ) and include travelling costs, 3 days stay in a hostel and different activities in the city. These trips could be a good bonding time for you and your friends as you get to explore a new city together and have fun. Furthermore, an essential part of these trips is the visit to a media or communication company in the city. This aims to show you what it is to work in this particular field.
To sum it up
All of the above mentioned activities aim to help you adjust to your new way of life as quickly as possible and make the most of your HU experience. Socializing with people while adapting to your new country will make it easier for you and it will help you feel more comfortable away from home. Keep in mind that if you do some research you will find many more opportunities to meet up with people and find fun activities in Utrecht.
Please feel free to leave a comment below in case you need more information on any of the activities mentioned above. Furthermore, if you believe that this post could be useful for any of your friends, do share it on Facebook and Twitter!