Nieuws - 15 december 2011

The international student's guide to surviving Christmas

Christmas is coming, and with it a mass exodus from Wageningen. Both your Dutch and many of your foreign friends are going home and here you are, alone and far from home. How can an international student get through these dark days in a deserted town?

1. Mulled wine
Give your departing friends a warm send-off at the IxESN Glühwein party on 23 December. Snuggle up on the sofa with some warm, spicy wine and have a nice chat.
2. Get your skates on
You did know that water hardens when it freezes, didn't you? Well, you can have a lot of fun on that hard, slippery layer. No Dutch winter is complete without at least one good skating tour. The inlet down by the Rhine is a safe place to start, and very jolly. And if the weather doesn't play ball, try the ice rink in Utrecht or in Nijmegen.
3. Silent prayer
For a modest sum you can have a whole new experience. Thousands of young people from all over Europe will be getting together in Berlin for a series of Taizé services. Five days of prayer, song and silence. And New Year's celebrations together. The student chaplaincy is organizing a trip., departure 27 December.
4. Run Forrest Run
It's time for new year resolutions. Like a healthier lifestyle. You can play squash, badminton and tennis at the Bongerd sports centre in the Christmas holidays. Or work out in the fitness room. Except 24, 25 and 31 December and 1 January.
5. High culture
Want to get out of the cold and escape into a dramatic and tragic love story at the ‘Wageningen Opera'? The opera Linda di Chamounix will be beamed live from Barcelona to the Heerenstraat cinema on 27 December.
6. The Christmas Story
Christmas is about the birth of Jesus. Isn't it? If you are curious about the way the church side of Christmas in the Netherlands, come to the special dinner being organized for international students. Christmas carols will be sung between courses and the Christmas story will be told. And it's free.
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7. Get some fresh air
Whatever you do, don't just huddle indoors beside the heater. Put on a good thick coat and a woolly hat and go out to play in the fresh air. Perhaps at the Open Air Museum in Arnhem, where you can ride a sleigh and warm your hands at a crackling fire. What is more, you will learn a lot about how the Dutch survived the winter a century ago. Want to go in a group? IxESN is running a trip on 5 January.
8. Champagne!
See in the new year in style at the ‘Try before you die' party at Unitas. Things you should have tried once in your life: eating insects, travelling back in time to the 1980s, and drinking champagne in all the colours of the rainbow. And dancing till dawn, of course. Hurry before tickets sell out.
9. Dive in
The really die-hard Dutch never start the new year without a dive into ice-cold water. Thousands of crazies run into the North Sea at Scheveningen every year, wearing orange swimming caps. But you can take a dip in the Rhine too. IxESN will be taking the plunge on 1 January.
10. Study, after all
And if you can't drop your studies for a week or two, the Forum will be open. But for 23-26 December, 31 December and 1 January, you will have to think of something else to do. Really.