News - August 21, 2017

Blog: Crash course in studying in Wageningen

Carina Nieuwenweg

With the AID in full swing, blogger Carina Nieuwenweg lists all the typical little things that you go through as a fresh student. In this blog: a crash course in studying in Wageningen.

In two weeks, the new draft will start studying. It’s time for the usual stereotypes that each student goes through in the first few weeks of being a freshman. Here is a crash course in studying in Wageningen to help you on your way. On the funny clichés that everyone goes through.

From now on, some words are to be critically avoided – at least, according to the majority. You no longer have homework, classes or classmates. You study, go to lectures and have fellow students. Your laundry no longer miraculously disappears in the washer whenever you leave it lying around and, believe it or not, your appreciation for your parents’ cooking increases a thousand fold. After a week or more of student dinners (nine out of ten being pasta), a good meal at home feels like a welcome relief. And yes, really, no one will check whether you got home on time after a night out on the town. Whether you are in bed before midnight like a good little student or stumble home at six in the morning wearing just one shoe, not knowing how you got there: it is fully up to you.

WUR also has its little quirks that can cause the necessary confusion among new students. The ribbed bridge between Forum and Helix is missing a ‘do not cross’ sign: cycling across the bridge will not only produce a horrible noise, but also cause some teeth to chatter and spines to rattle. And although the lifts in Orion do have signs, it will still frequently go wrong there as well: the buttons inside the lift cannot be used to indicate the floor you want to visit; you must do that on a panel outside. Do note that only the lifts in Orion work in this alternative way. As for the actual function of the buttons inside the lifts: your guess is as good as mine. The signs in the toilets are a mystery to many as well. For those of you who forgot the toilet customs in Asian countries: the sign depicting a squatting person with a red line striking through does not mean one is not allowed to poop, but is a warning that Dutch toilets are meant to sit upon, not squat over. As a matter of fact, the bicycle bridge, Orion lifts and toilet signs are great icebreakers: the first conversations on the true meaning of the toilet sign usually amount in hilarious theories.

The students who have high expectancies of the advance of sustainability at WUR are often surprised – and not in a good way. Wageningen might have reaped many awards, but food on campus is still served with plastic cutlery, and one of our executives even noted during a cooking event on campus that ‘well, the food should remain tasty…’, speaking of vegetal instead of vegetarian food.

What might be a lot more fun is that the international setting you will find yourself in might help you discover that some aspects that you consider ‘normal’ are actually more likely to be ‘typically Dutch’. Like how ‘Dutch directness’ is not just a figure of speech, and that Dutch hygiene standards are just that: standards. This might turn out to be an especially educational challenge during group assignments. Studying in Wageningen will help you put things in perspective. Have fun discovering!