Summer has officially arrived in Wageningen. Many students have left the city to enjoy a well deserved summer break. However, some are left behind, working on their thesis or doing an internship. Since staying in Wageningen during the summer can get quite lonely, student-editor Konstantina Togka asked three summer-stayers how they survive(d).
Grand Cafe in Forum is also closed for the summer. © Luuk Zegers
During the spring the fields at Wageningen Campus are crowded with students laying in the grass, reading books, relaxing. In the summer the campus is almost deserted. Forum is still open during weekdays, but Orion is closed, as are many cafetarias and restaurants. Also study associations are closed for the summer, depriving those who stay from socialization opportunities and entertainment.
Three international students share their thoughts on loneliness and how to deal with it. Carlos Serrano Fajardo (MSc Biotechnology); Alberto Bombelli (MSc Food Technology); Joshua Kiama Wambugu (MSc Tourism, Society and Environment). Fajardo and Wambugu already spent summer 2018 here, while Bombelli is coping with the deserted campus for the first time.
Wambugu: 'Loneliness depends very much on personal traits and the financial state of a student. I never felt lonely during summer 2018. I used to invite friends over for dinner every weekend. We chatted and shared and had fun. Gatherings like this are normal when you are social, but not everyone is like this. Introvert students or those who cannot afford some social events like weekend-trips, might be the ones who mainly experience loneliness.'
Fajardo: 'It is possible to feel lonely during the summer here. I think that having one friend around is already enough to release someone from that feeling. With that friend, you can enjoy the city’s calmness and the warmer weather.'
Bombelli: 'Since I am quite busy with my thesis, I have not yet experienced this summer loneliness. Sometimes I appreciate the silence and easy summer vibes, but I do realize that having some of my close friends still in the city might help.'
Wambugu: 'Summer break is a good moment to relax and enjoy the process of the simple things. Doing groceries, cooking or watching a movie can be good moments for some reflection. Reflection is good, but socialization is also good. Forum is open all summer. It is a great place to meet other students who are also spending their summer in the city. Also,volunteering and helping out during the Annual Introduction Days (AID) gives students more opportunities to meet new people. Finally, neighbor cities usually host a variety of summer festivals and other events for those who spend their summer in the Netherlands.'
Fajardo: 'If you are working, the weekdays here pass without realizing it. Then, since you are busy this summer break it is necessary for people to relax and reconnect with themselves in the weekends. A day in the river, a barbeque in one of the parks or a movie in Heerenstraat Theater are some common activities for those who stay in the city. Although only for irregular hours, the sports center de Bongerd is open to keep students not only busy but also fit.'
Bombelli: 'What I would like to propose for those feeling lonely is that they become chatty and start making plans with those students that are here. Even if we did not used to hang out during the year, maybe this is an opportunity for new friendships. All students that spend the summer in Wageningen should stick together.'
Opening hours of popular spots on and around campus: