How to meet fellow students?
Starting as a first years student can be exciting. Moving to a new country, studying at a new university, and find new people to connect with. With everything new, we can imagine it can feel a bit overwhelming sometimes. But don’t forget you are definitely not the only one in this position. The AID (Annual Introduction Days) is a good start to meet other students, but there are more places. To give you an idea, here is a shortlist of places to meet fellow students.
Join a student association
There are 10 study associations in Wageningen. They all have their own character. Some of them have more focus on religion, others on sports or socializing. Most of the associations have a large group of Dutch members. However, it is a good way to learn more about Dutch culture.
BSc student Konrad joined an association in his first year and learned almost fluently Dutch:
I have another tip for international students interested in the Dutch language and culture: Join a student association! Yes, there’s mainly Dutch members, but this makes it the perfect place to learn the language and get to experience the full (student) culture. When everyone around you speaks Dutch around you, your own Dutch skills develop at an incomparable pace. Also, it’s a great way to make friends and join amazing parties and events.
If we take myself as an example: I joined Franciscus during the AID in my first year and learned the Dutch language pretty decently within half a year and close to fluently within a year. I did not speak a word of Dutch before I started my studies at WUR, but with the help of the international committee with one-on-one classes and a lot of conversations with different people during the events it was the most fun and easy way to learn the language. And most importantly: make really good friends. So I really recommend international students wanting to get to know the Dutch to consider going to the different student associations to hear about their possibilities for internationals.
Study associations and international groups
You can also join study associations. These are groups are related to the bachelor’s and master’s programmes. They also organise all kinds of social activities but members of these associations have in common that they’re all in the same programme. You can find a list of all the study associations on the website.
MSc student Linda joined the Indonesian student association (PPI):
I personally joined the Indonesian student association (PPI) and ISOW, they also like to organize activities for new students, this includes dancing with other students in Salsa class and having an excursion together!
Other tips and places for meeting people in Wageningen
Our students Linda, Frimpong, Rabindra and Samuel have some other tips for places to meet people.
“Even during the pandemic, these things helped me with meeting other students around the university:
- Corridor mates in your housing – if you live in student housing, you’ll meet your neighbours! In my corridor, we like to host a weekly dinner where we can cook our local dishes and sometimes watch movies together.
- De Bongerd – Join a sports activity, and you will definitely meet a new friend.
- Random activities hosted by the international office at WUR – back then, we have this walking session where they will pair you up with a stranger to walk together across the campus. This helps you get to meet others, and enjoy an afternoon (and healthy) walk.
- Random activities on the Wageningen Student Plaza – recently, there is a famous group called ‘Stargazing with Aldebaran’. When there is a meteor shower, they will inform you about this, and you can join others to watch it together.
- Be a ‘regular’ at Forum – I don’t know whether this applies to everyone or not, but I got to know a lot of people when I am studying at Forum…and somehow people there know each other. It’s a great melting pot ?”
“Indeed making friends or in the Netherlands might not always seem easy. I agree with Linda and would also add:
- Volunteering in the university’s quarantine buddy programme to assist international students who have to quarantine.”
“These are the few tips I can give from my personal experience and also from the experiences of my friends:
- Build a good relationship with groupmates in your courses. Randomly ask the groupmates how they spent their holidays, their best tourist destinations; you can ask if they would like to have dinner or something together. You can introduce some fun activities in your group meetings.
- Wageningen Walks is also an exciting activity to meet new people every week.
- You need to move out of your comfort zone a bit. Feel free and ask people how they are doing.
- Friendship can be built over time but it works very easy sometimes. The extroverts can easily benefit from this tip. ? (By simply asking people if they can be your friend).
- Smile always. Be very kind and helpful to people as much as you can. If you can support someone, please do.”
“I would give the following tips to new students:
- Subscribing for language courses.
- Going for the various events that are conducted by the university for the newcomer’s
- In some student buildings, there are certain WhatsApp groups for reading, sporting etc. Students can get to know about those and join that so that they can meet like-minded people from different nationalities.
- Joining your own country sports. In an unofficial way. For example, most of the Indians here play cricket on the ground every weekend. This is a very good way of networking as all categories of people (students, PhDs, postdoc, working people etc.) everyone in and around Wageningen joins and it’s a great way to know also about many new things.
- Going for international or local short trips through the Student package tours offered by some travel agencies such as AM to PM trips and Wanderlust student trips. Here most of the passengers are students only and it’s a good way to develop new contacts.”