News - July 7, 2010

How students spend their holidays

Holiday at last! Off we go – out of Wageningen, Velp or Leeuwarden. Away from lectures, exams and practicals. Resource asked students about their holiday plans – with destinations ranging from the Czech Republic to Terschelling.

Let's be clear from the start: this is a summer special. Light and fluffy. Nothing too serious for the last issue before the summer vacation. This is a story to lighten things up while you wind up the semester. A story to get you in the mood for going away.
What do the students of 2010 do in their holidays? Resource carried out a quick survey and asked 100 students about the holiday plans. Are you going away, where to, how, who with, and what is your budget? No more, no less: we wanted a snapshot, not a thorough analysis. We got a pretty good impression though.
Martin Lösing from Germany was leaving for Panama at the end of June. ‘My sister is doing an internship there', he says in fluent Dutch. After visiting her, he is going to travel around Panama, Costa Rica and Honduras. He doesn't mind if it's on the pricey side. ‘This is a chance in a lifetime: I'm prepared to pay for it.'
Martin Lösing is among the select group of adventurers who travel to faraway lands. It turns out there are surprisingly few of them. Of the more than 100 students we asked, only six were going outside Europe. The other exotic venues besides Panama were Bali, Thailand, the US and Canada. The vast majority of students stay closer to home. France is always popular, followed at a respectable distance by the rest of Europe. Dennis van Muijen, Pieter Oostlander, Terrans Saaki and David Nieuwenhuijse are heading for Slovenia for a week of rafting and mountain biking, followed by a week on the beach in Croatia.
Forget low-budget: Janneke Snetselaar is going on a no-budget holiday. ‘I'm going to Berlin for a week, to visit my mother who is there on holiday. She's paying. Then I have to work fulltime for five weeks, waiting tables in a pancake house.' Job van Eck is joining his girlfriend and ten friends from the Arnhem Christian student society Alpha for a week in the Ardennes in his parents' holiday house. And after that he's going on a trip to Norway with friends, to go canoing, rafting, mountain biking and climbing.
Edwin Bogers will be going down to Belgium with his carnival club from Breda. ‘I've already been on holiday twice, I've got no money, I've just got to work.' He's going to start working in July and he's got to fit in some studying too: he's got two resits in August and he wants to pass them.'
Hardly anyone hitchhikes or cycles
Car                  51%
Plane                29%
Train                9%
Boat                 6%
Hitching            5%
Bus                  3%
Bike                 1%

The top holiday destination for Wageningen students this year - way above France -is the Netherlands. A full quarter of the students plan to stay local. Nico Schavermaker is going to Terschelling with his girlfriend, and then he plans to work on his ‘personal development' through online courses on creating websites, paleontology and leadership. ‘I'm a bit of a study addict', he admits.
One quarter holiday with parents
Friends                         40%
Partner                         28%
Parents                         20%
Partner's parents          4%
Brother and/or sister     6%
Alone                           5%

Arnold Panman is going on a week's scout camp as usual. ‘I'm a cub scoutmaster again for the third year running; I've been a scout since I was six.' VHL colleague Frank van Wanrooij will be doing the same with his scout troupe in Drunen. Then he'll be working through a temping agency for the rest of the summer to get his fees together for next year.
As well as those who go on holiday locally, there are those who simply stay at home. Quite a number of them in fact: three out of ten students won't be going on holiday at all.
Local holidays
1. Netherlands  23%
2. France         15%
3. Germany      8%
4. Italy           6%
5. Austria        6%
So how much are students willing to spend on their holidays? Of course, that depends a lot on the destination and the form of transport. Flying is popular, and one in three students will be taking a plane. But most (half) will be going by car. It is remarkable how few will be cycling or hitchhiking.
Yet costs are kept down, thanks to cheap flights. Half of the students will be spending less that 500 euros on their holiday, and one in seven will spend less than 100 euros! How low-budget can you get?
And then there's the question of who students go on holiday with. Some go with friends and partners of course. The odd individual goes alone. And the rest, almost a quarter, go with their parents. Gerard van Looijengoed, for example (third year VHL), who is joining his parents and younger sister on a canoing trip in Sweden. ‘So far I've gone with my parents every year -nice, isn't it?' Not to mention cheap, of course.
A first year who prefers to remain anonymous is going with his family to Greece for two weeks. Is he embarassed about it? ‘If friends ask where I'm going, I tell them I'm going with my parents. But I don't volunteer the information. Most of my friends go on holiday independently.'
Harman Haaksma doesn't have any hang-ups about it. ‘I'm studying until 10 July and then my parents will be outside my flat with the caravan and we'll set off for two weeks in Luxembourg. I've also got vague plans to hitchhike to Belgium for a week of Flemish language, fries and beer. But then I have to study again: I'm a bit behind on my internship report, and I have some resits. I'm going for 36 credits in August.'
Partying at music festivals
Paul Verbakel, graduated last week in Garden and Landscape Design at VHL Velp

'This summer I'm going to do the music festivals. I'm going to the 'Black Cross' in the Achterhoek with sixteen carnival friends. We're going there in a converted truck that we used for the carnival. Our theme this year is Grease. The Black Cross has always been a bit of a farmers' booze-up, but the music programme has improved over the last few years. Lowlands is something else, with lots of good acts and things like street theatre. The atmosphere is really nice. You can't explain that, you have to sample that atmosphere once.
'Then a group of us are also going to Sziget in Budapest - the biggest festival in Europe. That goes on for a week. We're flying and we've rented two apartments there.
'Altogether I'll be spending about 1700 euros this summer. I've been working for it all year, as gardener and at a civil engineering bureau. The festivals are my graduation party. Originally I wanted to go to Rock Werchter as well, but that clashed with the graduation ceremony.'

Swimming and saving for a mountain trek
Aldana Ramirez from Argentina, PhD student at the Laboratory of Plant Physiology

'I am saving to go trekking in Nepal this winter. But I will go to Portugal for a week. A friend of mine from Wageningen, Catarina, is visiting her family there. I am flying this Sunday. We're staying on the Algarve, near the beach. I will probably do a lot of swimming; it is very hot there right now.
I'm going to Nepal with Catarina too. Last year we went trekking in the mountains in Peru with friends. I liked walking at such a high altitude. We want to make the trip in Nepal after Catarina's PhD graduation. We have to prepare for it thoroughly. Mountain trekking is physically demanding, especially when it comes to stamina.
Except for the vacation in Portugal, I will be working this summer. I will go to a few concerts, though. Friends of mine are into soul and reggae, so I get exposed to music that is new for me. Recently I went to concerts in the Melkweg and Paradiso and I will go to Erykah Badu at the Heineken Music Hall.
Argentina is known for the tango. Now that I am far away and sometimes get homesick, I start to appreciate the music of my own country. I go to Argentina once a year, at Christmas or in February.'
Old banger race through six countries
Paul Kah, third year student of Forest and Nature Management at VHL Velp

'I'm going to do the Carbage Run together with two childhood friends from my scouting days. You buy an old banger for 500 euros max, and you drive a route through Germany, Poland, the Czech republic, Slovakia, Austria and Italy in five days. Speed is not the point, but you have tasks to carry out, with photos and cryptic instructions, I think.
'We have bought a Renault Espace on the internet for 400 euros. It goes well and it is nice and spacious. It's got airco too, but we'll only use that now and again. We'll have to arrange accommodation locally. We want to club together with other teams and camp in meadows on farms. That's good fun. The final destination of the race is Lake Garda. We want to stay a couple of days there to recover. The holiday is going to cost us about 1000 euros per person. And that has to be earned, so for the rest of the summer I'll be working for an advisory bureau on forest and nature management.'

Good pay and pretty women
Philip van Hout, fourth year Chemical technology at VHL Leeuwarden

'I'm off to Norway in the holiday to look for a permanent job. After I finished High School I wanted to travel for a year and I ended up there. The father of my then girlfriend was a teacher and I found out what I wanted to study through him. Four years ago I started studying Petrochemical and Offshore in Norway, but at one point I transferred to Leeuwarden. I was in Norway with a friend and he went back to Holland too. Also, I hadn't seen my family and friends in Holland for a long time, so I thought it would be good to go back. And since you can do Petrochemical and Offshore as a major in Leeuwarden, that wasn't much of a problem.
'Now I have nearly finished my course and I would very much like to go back to Norway to work on my career there. Stavanger is the oil capital of Europe: 80 percent of the residents work in the sector. So I stand a good chance of getting a job there. What is more, the pay is much higher in Norway than in Holland and there are loads of pretty women walking around.'

Walking and cityhopping with rowing mates
Karlijn Remmers, second year Food Technology, WU

'I'm going to Poland and Berlin for three weeks with three girls from the spring crew at Argo rowing club. We are meeting up with two of them in Warsaw: they have been on a field trip in the Ukraine and are now spending a week in Lithuania. It'll be fun: we are going to chill out and have a laugh.
We are taking the night train from Holland to Warsaw. After a couple of days there, we are going on to Krakow, where we are going to explore the area from a hostel in the city. After that we're going camping and walking in the countryside for a week. I have already bought my walking boots but I haven't walked them in yet. And then we are going to Berlin as well.
Apart from a school trip to Rome, I have never been abroad without my parents. My mother did want to have all our phone numbers. I'll let her know when I've arrived and text her now and then to let her know I'm still alive.'
Last-minutes for doers (by Nicolette Meerstadt)

Still no concrete plans but looking for a nice, cheap and preferably meaningful holiday? Several Wageningen UR people sent in tips with some exciting, cultural and idealistic holiday ideas.

Spend an active summer on the water with the sun on your face and cheerful people all around you. Helping run sailing camps costs next to nothing and organizations are desperate for people. SailWise runs sailing holidays for the disabled, and are looking for ‘team players with a bit of go who get on with things.' Fusspots and busybodies need not apply. Sailing experience is a plus but not essential. If you would rather teach 10 to 18-year-olds, you could try Zeilschool Eendracht.
Cost: *
CV value: ***
Freedom: **
Ideals; *****

Summer volunteering
Do you have at least six weeks? Then you could go on an Aiesec project. If you get through the interview you can choose from hundreds of summer projects all over the world. Organizing a youth camp in Romania, fundraising in Brazil or Aids extension in Africa. Aiesec organizes your stay locally, and you pay your travel costs plus 200 euros.
Cost: ****
CV value: *****
Freedom: ***
Ideals: *****

For an exciting adventure, you can invite a complete stranger into your home or go and stay with someone new. On you can find all sorts of sofas to sleep on for (next to) nothing. Anywhere in the world. You just pay your travel costs. Or you can rent a student room - in Barcelona perhaps - through
Cost: * to ****
CV value: *
Freedom: *****
Ideals: *

Home sweet home
Feel like staying at home? There is plenty to do at your student society. You could help do up the new Arbori clubhouse or get the pub ready for the introduction days. The intro-days committee (CAID) in Wageningen is still looking for MSc mentors for 16 to 27 August and for crew members for the whole of the summer.
Cost: *
CV value: ***
Freedom: ***
Ideals: ***

Would you like to hone your artistic skills in a beautiful summer landscape? Artizon Holiday Academy offers courses in painting, sculpture and photography at a lovely spot in Provence. Students pay 290 euros besides transport and camping fees. Course run between 24 July and 6 August.
Cost: *****
CV value: *
Freedom: ****
Ideals: *