When blogger Donatella Gasparro arrived in Wageningen one year ago, she had no clue what to expect. The AID was not really her kind of thing, but she managed to find the people that suited her best at another introduction.
© Sven Menschel
I am a planner by nature. Plus, I am not a big fan of risk. Last year, as this one, classes started in September, and the AID at the end of August. But, of course, I wanted to be well prepared and settled way in advance. Long story short, I was here at the beginning of August. And that, for me, was a great decision. It was extremely useful to get acquainted with the town and discover shops and places, and more importantly, to slowly furnish my room (that I very luckily found before arriving) and make it mine, as well as to enjoy a bit of Dutch summer and, last but not least, generally try to survive. It worked.
Then the AID started. Not really my kind of thing in general (too many people, too many parties, essentially) but definitely an enjoyable experience, which can range from extremely random to a lot of fun. People from all over the place arrived, many of them exactly on the AID inauguration date and some of them not even with a place to sleep yet. In the group, I was the one with the most experience with the surroundings, after the two AID mamas, and I was pretty shocked at how flexible and adventurous people can be - also when moving to a completely different country and starting a new life.
Diversity is world’s most beautiful feature, not just culture- and language-wise (which is pretty obvious in Wageningen’s amazingly international context), but also very much on the personal attitudinal approach.
Look in the right places
The AID was a great opportunity for making the first friends and really kicking off the year with some fun. But what really made me feel in the right place at the right moment happened after it, quite late in August. And that was the Regreening, organised by the GAN (Green Active Network) and hosted mainly at the ecovillage PPAUW here in Wageningen. Four days during which all the new green-minded people got together to get acquainted with all the greenminded initiatives and associations in town - and with each other, which was maybe the most beautiful part. Many of these folks are still in my closest group of friends.
Take home message? When you get here, there’s going to be something for you. There’s a way for you to do it at your best. There are people that suit you. You just have to look in the right places!
Donatella Gasparro is a master’s student in Organic Agriculture and one of our new bloggers.