Not all roads lead to Wageningen. Due to the current lack of trains between the railway stations of Utrecht and Ede-Wageningen, a WUR team is present at Utrecht Central Station from 7:30 in the morning until 19:30 in the evening to help international students get to Wageningen.
The WUR team mid-action. © Nina Ommerborn
Due to large maintenance work on the railway near Veenendaal and Driebergen-Zeist, there will be no trains between Utrecht Central and Ede-Wageningen until 26 August. Nadieh Tubben is communications officer at the Student Service Centre. She is accompanied by four WUR students at the station in Utrecht. The team is there to help new international students find their way to the Jaarbeurs side of the station, where the buses used by the NS (Dutch Railways) to replace the train traffic depart from. ‘The NS has not arranged things optimally. The broadcasts over the intercom at the station are only in Dutch, for example. This is why we are here, to help students who are often tired from a long journey find their way.’
There are four trains from Schiphol each hour. That is when the team needs to be at their sharpest. Apart from that, it is mostly waiting. ‘It was pretty busy until lunch’, says Tubben. ‘Afterwards, it was much quieter. That’s because most flights from Asia arrive in the morning.’
Tubben and her team have brought about 55 students to the NS buses on Monday. Another team awaits them upon arrival in Ede-Wageningen, to help them get to buses 84 and 88. ‘But also in case there is a problem, like a bank card being declined’, Tubben explains. Cash payments on the bus have not been possible as of 24 June. ‘We assume that the students have a working debit or credit card. But if the card is not accepted, we can advance a bus fare for them.’
Nadieh Tubben and her team at Utrecht Central Station. © Luuk Zegers
A warm welcome
Tubben expects that the international students would have found their way to Wageningen by themselves eventually. ‘But imagine this: you arrive in the Netherlands, you are tired from your long journey, you are dragging large suitcases, and then it turns out that the itinerary you had planned is not possible. Being helped in the right direction is very nice in such a situation. International students pay high tuition fees, so it’s nice to provide them with that little bit of extra service and a warm welcome.’