Accidental Thoughts

I am constantly inches away from death. We all are.

It is astounding how an incident can be so fleeting, yet put things into perspective so easily.

We do not even fully comprehend how lucky we are when a bike or vespa or car narrowly misses us. We do not come to terms with the fact that it could have been fatal nor do we stop and appreciate walking away without a scratch.

One night, I was biking back from class and got into an accident. The mix of traffic and cyclists and tourists in Amsterdam is chaotic enough in the daytime, but gets even worse after the sun goes down. Worst of all are the tourists, especially the ones who forget that the red bike lane should never be set foot on.

One of these unsuspecting tourists was the victim of my accident. Luckily, I was cycling slowly and I was fully aware of the tourist, so although I fell off my bike and walked away with a bruised knee, the tourist was perfectly fine. After exchanging a few friendly words we both walked our separate ways. Although it was a very minor accident, it did have a strong impact on me.

 
Photo by Imgur

It made me realise how everything we are and everything we know can be gone in the blink of an eye. I realised how much we take for granted every single day, and how many times I hear myself say: “I’ll just do it tomorrow,” when tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. My minor accident could easily have been not-so-minor, if I was biking only a little faster, or if I’d hit a child, or, or, or. The possibilities are endless.

Why should we postpone life when today is the only thing we have for certain?

Do your homework. Read that book. Ask that person out. Treat yourself to Mexican food.

Live.

By Nafisa Lestariputri Tschannen

Did you have an eye opening experience since you arrived in Amsterdam?

Living on another planet

Hey, guys!

My name is Ivanna and I’m studying at ONCAMPUS Amsterdam. I’m a member of the student representative team. Our goal is to help you in all issues that may appear, and I think I found one. As you might know we can arrange university accommodation via ONCAMPUS Amsterdam for our foundation year. However we can only stay at this kind of accommodation for one year. After one year all the ONCAMPUS students have to search for another place of living. So, my topic for today is for those, who are looking for accommodation for the first year or any other years of studying to come.

I live in Diemen and want to tell you about this town. Most of the former students of ONCAMPUS Amsterdam believe that Diemen is a place on another planet compared to Amsterdam, which I think is kind of true!

Diemen is a town with a population of 26,148 people. It is located in the south of the province North Holland, southeast of Amsterdam, and within the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area. I think Diemen is the most beautiful and the most secure place to live in (especially if you are a 40-year-old well-established man with a wife and 3 kids). You can find everything in Diemen. For example a big shopping mall with all kinds of Dutch shops, such as HEMA, Blokker, Action, Albert Heijn, Etos. These shops are open 7 days a week and until the late evening, which makes life much easier. You can also find a fire station in Diemen, which is located 200 metres from my dormitory and might be handy for those of you who are still struggling with cooking. For students, who enjoy working out, there is also a nice gym just around the corner of my dormitory and a big sport centre with free football courts close to it. Unfortunately Diemen doesn’t have any places to go out, but I think I saw Domino’s Pizza hidden between some houses as well…

The very best thing of living in Diemen is not all the facilities close to my dormitory, but the view from my window. I absolutely love it! I live on the 9th floor and have never been any happier about heights. From my window I can see the best sunsets ever. Therefore I would like to recommend everyone who is going to live here, to book the highest floor that you can find.

                        

Photo by http://familypedia.wikia.com/wiki/Diemen

You can go to Diemen by taking the Tram 9 in Amsterdam, which will take you along a perfect route (Central-Rembrandt-University-Diemen). During night you can take the 757 night bus. From the university it’s approximately 20 minutes to Diemen, which is not bad at all!

Of course you can also use your bike to travel between Diemen and the University. Within 25 minutes you can bike from Diemen to the University and enjoy some nice music and the silence of almost no one around. I have a lot of fun riding my bike every morning and watching 2 lamas playing around. Next to the lama’s I also see some ponies, donkeys and chickens on my way to school. It’s almost like I am living in the countryside!

Next to all the advantages of living in Diemen there are also some disadvantages. The biggest disadvantage is that it’s far away from the city centre. As a result you need to use your bike or the tram every time you leave your room.

In sum, I am happy to say that Diemen is a very beautiful place. If you are an extrovert, I would not recommend Diemen, but if you enjoy living alone and don’t like too much disruption, this the best place ever!

By Ivanna Slipets

 I hope you enjoyed reading this article, we will write some more articles about other student accommodation soon.

Stroopwafles!

The moment the plane began to glide down through the clouds, I knew I had arrived in the Netherlands. I carried two large suitcases by myself, and had to transfer three times on the subway. Then I realized: I got lost in the city.

It had become dark when I finally arrived at The Student Hotel. After having travelled for such a long time, loneliness and fear overwhelmed me. I really missed my family, especially my mom.

When I entered, a sweet receptionist greeted me, and gave me a piece of biscuit. It was really sweet and it got rid of all the lonely and helpless feelings I had. While eating it, I felt like being surrounded by hot chocolate and marshmallows. This feeling made me feel very warm and happy.

Photo from ilovestroopwafels.nl

I found out that these biscuits are called “Stroopwafels”. In the afternoon, a cup of coffee with a Stroopwafel is a common combination. Put the stroopwafel on top of the cup, so that the syrup of the stroopwafel starts to melt. The taste is absolutely delicious. The helpful and kind receptionist and the tasty biscuits made me fall in love with this city.

This is my story about the delicious Stroopwafels of Amsterdam. If you want to try a Stroopwafel yourself, you can buy one in the bakery next to the M-building or in the AH. Don’t worry about the calories; you should be filled with this feeling of happiness it gives you! What are you waiting for? Let’s enjoy this delicacy right now!

By Ruikun Zhu

Did you already try Dutch food or sweets? Did you like it? Comment below. 

The Culture Shock

Which word is usually associated with Amsterdam? Definitely, freedom. Before arriving here, I was thinking that this “freedom” was about legalized drugs, prostitution and the allowance of gay marriages. I thought that the atmosphere of the city could be felt only in various coffee shops or in the Red Light District. I was absolutely influenced by a number of stereotypes. However, after my first days at the university, after speaking with students and teachers, after spending time on the streets and not as a part of a tourist crowd, I have understood that Amsterdam is about freedom of thinking, open-mindedness and of self-expression.

Photo from mixednation.com

During our first lessons, we were told that having an opinion which differs from teacher’s is OK, that asking questions is good, and that calling teachers by their first names is a common practice. After strict subordination in Ukraine this really shocked me. On the streets, I understood how closed-minded I had been before arriving here. Black or green lipstick during the day? It’s OK. Leather clothes on adult people? It’s OK .Wearing a short skirt if you don’t look like Adriana Lima? It’s OK. In Amsterdam no one will condemn you.

Another personal shock for me was the lecture about “Game of Thrones”. In my homeland I couldn’t even imagine that professors from a high-ranked university would talk about such a topic. In Amsterdam people are not afraid of making the process of education fun and enjoyable. It is one of the most pleasant things in the Netherlands. To conclude, I want to say that Amsterdam is a city with the best atmosphere and people I have ever seen.

By Valeriia Gushcha

Have you encountered a culture shock yourself? Please share your experiences!

A respite from the hustle and bustle

Ever since coming to Amsterdam, I’ve heard about the various nerve-wracking bike incidents that both my friends as well as locals have encountered. The narrow yet crowded bicycle paths, the hordes of tourists walking across roads and the out-of-the-blue scooter or tram that whizzes past you — that didn’t make cycling here seem so enjoyable. Hmm… but wait, why not take a short escapade to the beautiful Dutch countryside surrounding Amsterdam where you can have a leisurely cycle alongside colorful charming villages?

Photo from getyourguide.com

In my first weekend here, I took some time off and joined We Bike Amsterdam for a 4 hours bike tour in the idyllic Dutch countryside surrounding Amsterdam. We first took the Buiksloterweg ferry across the IJ River and started our tour from there. Fortunately for me, the sun was shining, the winds were gentle and he weather on that day was beautiful. Once we departed from the ferry, we cycled past traditional Dutch houses and within minutes, we were greeted with a scenic view of green pastures filled with cows, picturesque villages and winding lakes.

Along the way, my guide, Philip, took several pit stops where he explained the history behind several buildings and houses. A memorable pit stop for me was understanding the history of a church tower in a town that was mainly protestant. Not only was I intrigued by the heritage of the different places, but it also gave me an interesting insight into the unique culture of the Netherlands. Not to mention, the refreshing sea breeze and the flat cycling route made the journey much more comfortable and relaxing, even especially for an amateur cyclist like me. I revelled in the peace and quiet of the countryside while enjoying the rustic landscapes around me.

Het Schoolhuis in Holysloot

Of course, I can’t leave out details about the delicious apple pie that we had at one of our pit stops in the village of Holysloot. Serving warm and lovely pies, the eatery Het Schoolhuis (The Schoolhouse) is not to be missed. This place has a wonderful outdoor seating for customers to enjoy their meals in the comfort of a gezellig atmosphere. Truly lekker!

No doubt, the tour gave me a glimpse of the Dutch lifestyle while allowing me to immerse in nature. Definitely a great experience to unwind and destress!

Now, who said cycling in Amsterdam has to be stressful?

by Ke En Rachel Lum

When do you plan to explore the countryside surrounding Amsterdam?

New Year New Me!

Did you know that the beginning of a New Year is celebrated differently all over the world? Every country and every religion has its own traditions and customs. In Spain, for example, they have the tradition of eating 12 grapes at midnight. And in Japan they ring all the bells 108 times to make sure that they start the year with good luck. The Netherlands also has its own traditions. People here eat ‘oliebollen’ and set off a lot of fireworks!

Although New Year is celebrated differently all over the world, there is  one thing that will be the same for everyone. To set a goal or New Year’s resolution for the year to come. The beginning of the New Year is the moment to think about what you have achieved last year and what you would like to achieve by the end of the new year. Some people may want to go on a trip that they have always dreamed off, others may want to spent more time with their family or make some new friends from across the world.

Me and my colleagues at ONCAMPUS have also set some New Year’s resolutions. Some of us, for example, would like to learn a new language. Others would like to go and see their family abroad,and we would all like to develop ourselves in our jobs. But most importantly, we will all do our best to help and teach our students as well as possible. This year me and my colleagues thought that it would be nice to not only create New Year’s resolutions for ourselves, but also for our centre as a whole. One of these New Year’s resolutions is to inform new students about our life and the life of our current students at ONCAMPUS Amsterdam.  By thinking how we could do this we came up with the idea of creating a blog. On this blog you will find a lot of stories from our students and their experience here in Amsterdam. In addition to that you will also find some information about things you can do in Amsterdam, and sometimes a story from us.

So here we are, one of our New Year’s resolutions is already fulfilled. Hopefully we can achieve more resolutions in the upcoming year!

I am curious though – Do you have any new year’s resolution for this upcoming year? And what are the New Year’s traditions in your country? Let me know by writing a comment below!

Image result for fireworks