I just got internet in my room and am taking the chance to post this. If the language seems inconsistent it’s because this post has been written over a few days. For those of you who want to know what’s going on in Amsterdam, this is for you. For those of you who are sharing the experience with me… it’s probably just going over what you already know 😉
My time so far has been really busy. The intro week programme is pretty intense, consisting mainly of speeches but also of some social activities.
|I feel my group’s ‘token’ is rather fitting 😉|
For this week we have been sorted into ‘families’ with whom we share the activities, led by ‘parents’ who are current students. Well, we’re current students so I guess I mean older, more experienced students… maybe. The first event was centred around getting to know our families and was a Sunday evening social event at the university’s café which is just down the road. Each student was given something to wear or hold, something to link them with their family. The event also served to allow us to get to know our fellow students as we mingled generally and I was very happy to meet a couple of people who I’d communicated with online, and to find that they were lovely 🙂
The first day of the intro week itself, the Monday, was a little bit daunting, to be honest, but went rather smoothly. After a lot of speeches we had some lunch and looked around the different committees’ stands. It was a rather claustrophobic event but nothing like the cattle markets we have back in the UK. Seriously, despite being over crowded by students, I was really amazed at how little groups were selling themselves and pushing others to join. It was a bit of a shock! This was followed by more talks from our tutors. Afterwards, I was supposed to be taking part in a Continent themed potluck dinner, cooking with a gentleman from my corridor, but my parents surprised me with a visit and took me out for a steak so I wasn’t going to say no to that!!
Tuesday was a lot harder for me, emotionally, I think. We opened up with a speech about how to succeed at AUC, followed by a speech on our major. It was then lunch and I started to feel a little homesick and also was struck by the magnitude of my choice to move abroad. For all I’m quite adventurous and travel a lot, this is something I’ve never experienced before and, knowing how family and friends orientated I am, I’m not so sure that choosing not only to move out but to move abroad was the best idea ever. I’m having a good time, and there are lovely people, but I am finding that hard, right now. I guess it’s natural but I hope it passes sooner rather than later.
Following the lunch break was a tutor session on good academic practice. It was okay but nothing that exciting. After that was supposed to be a bike tour but that didn’t work out so well for me. My vision and lack of bike riding practice made it impossible for me to ride myself and the vision thing also makes motion really disorientating. One girl from my group, Fatiya, who doesn’t have facebook so will not see this, kindly attempted to carry me on the back of her bike. I am so grateful to her. Sadly, I just ended up feeling really sick and having to stop which was so disappointing. I sometimes hate my body. Anyway, I’m more annoyed with AUC because I did say at interview that I would have this problem then there’s a compulsory activity scheduled that involves it. Urgh!
Things did look up though, for all Tuesday was a bit of a challenge for me, as there was a barbeque at the main building and it was really rather fun. A combination of social activities, free food, and the Dean singing with teacher and students, this is the side of AUC I’m really starting to fall in love with. I’m looking forward to meeting new people and forming new friendships although, of course, it’s difficult being so far from the old ones!
|Fridge means milk and milk means tea and with it… sanity!|
The main positive thing from that day was that I have finally got a fridge and managed to clean the goo that the previous tenant kindly left me with out of the cupboards which means I started to piece my flat together!
Yesterday was a fun, if exhausting, day. Another speech, this time on Life at AUC, opened the day. Although yet another speech was a little tedious, I have to say that the section on drug use was the most interesting. I believe it boiled down to: “alcohol and cigarettes are bad for you so don’t use them. Use cocaine instead” and “although you don’t want to be so bad it takes over your life you should be a bit bad so experiment”. Weirdest drugs talk I’ve ever had, and that includes that one at Colyton with the guy and his masked one man theatre thing.
|Acting out a battle as one of the challenges
(from the AUC facebook)
The afternoon was the ‘fun’ bit, however. It consisted of a scavenger hunt which involved going from station to station around the campus area completing tasks for points. It was actually really rather fun, especially as we were in larger groups meaning we got to meet a new group of people. What followed, Crazy 44 was a similar concept but the aim was to complete as many tasks off of a list of 44 in the allotted time. It was fun, slightly uncomfortable at times (hey, I’m a shy, British prude!), and really tiring. I feel kinda guilty because my group all walked as opposed to biked so I could take part (thank you guys!!!) but yeah, it was really fun!
Because I got the train in as opposed to biked, I got back quite late and didn’t go to the evening activity but it wasn’t the end of the world. I popped round to see Tessa (and attempt to order my books… to no avail!). It turns out that her room mate is someone I met at interview, Nina, and, although she had to tell me where I new her from, it was lovely to see her again. It’s hard seeing so many faces every day – who do you know from where! Anyway, it was a great way to end the day, before falling into bed!
This morning has been fine if rather dull to talk about so I wont! There’s a museum trip in about five minutes but I won’t go because getting there without a bike will be hard, I don’t want to cause my group trouble, and it is optional.
So, to sum up, other than some drama along the way, I’m settling in really quickly 🙂