Blogger Kristina has some advise for international students who just arrived in Wageningen.
Can’t believe it’s already my third August in Wageningen – and sadly the last. Campus is swarming with new students, their WUR experience just beginning, and honestly I’m somewhat jealous.
I feel that after two years at Wageningen, I am qualified enough to give some advice to incoming students, especially the international ones. Of course, these tips are all based on my personal experiences, so take it with a pinch of salt.
1. Listen when they tell you that WUR is huge on group work. You’ll love it, you’ll hate it, but it’ll definitely be some of the best learning experiences you’ll have here. Appreciate it!
2. In Wageningen you don’t really need to learn Dutch, that’s just a fact. But occasionally you might be put in a situation where you’ll feel guilty not being able to understand it. Well, either suck it up or just start learning the damn language – those are the only things you can do. There are multiple courses available, both through university and various associations. I’d sure do it differently now: being less self-conscious, more Duolingo.
3. Somewhat related to the above: don’t pass up an opportunity to befriend the Dutch. Don't feel overwhelmed by everyone speaking Nederlands around you. Maybe it’s easier for me, since I have no other Lithuanians here to hang out with. But living in a foreign country and missing out on its culture and people – that’s just wrong.
4. Same applies to all foreign groups. You tend to stick to other Europeans/Africans/Asians? You dream of traveling the world, but don’t want to work in groups with these “other” people? It just doesn’t work that way, buddy! Wageningen is a perfect place to explore different cultures and improve your intercultural communication skills.
5. I wrote last time (http://resource.wageningenur.nl/nl/student/show/Blog-Unlikely-Connections-1.htm) about the need to network with your own coursemates and to know what kind of science is being done at your chair group. People here are truly changing the world. Don’t miss a chance to be a part of it!
6. Studies are not everything; we all know that. But parties are also not the only option for winding down. Travel! Invest in Museumkaart and visit all these world class museums around the country for free. Do sports. Go to Studium Generale lectures, lunch time concerts at Impulse or anything organised by Popcultuur Wageningen. Do some gardening, sing in a choir, dance salsa – there is so much to do!
7. Carry bike lights.
8. Don’t be homesick by yourself. Find someone to talk about it.
9. Learn how to pronounce “Wageningen”.
10. And most importantly – have fun! It’ll go by too fast.