A day in the life: International Student at EUR

29 September 2017

By Saaiqa Merali - Swoosh! The sound of a new message arriving in your brand new, slightly confusing student email inbox. Just the lecturer, letting you know that you should have no problem submitting that assignment- the Turnitin platform issue has been resolved, and the deadline is still set for tonight. You sigh audibly, thinking about your reference list and if you’ve edited it twice, or maybe thrice?

There’s some post on the kitchen counter, one from City Hall asking if you registered at your Rotterdam address. You’ve filled out multiple forms for your residence permit, and each time had to catch yourself from putting down the wrong home address. You wonder how long it will be before your brain naturally turns to your Dutch postcode. Another envelope, from Eneco this time. Your monthly bill is due next week. Or at least that’s what you think it says. Your Dutch language skills aren’t as good as you thought they would magically be, after three weeks in the country.

You manage to fit in some toast for breakfast alongside your mug of Douwe-Egberts. This means avoiding the rush hour at Starbucks. Music plugged in, Google Maps lady directing you just in case- you set off half an hour before the lecture is due to start. No rain forecast for today, so your bike ride is off to a good, dry start. A few minutes into the journey and you’ve joined a mini-migration of students. You laugh inwardly as you realise how redundant following the GPS is – there are dozens of people going to the same destination as you are.

You arrive with time to spare, but not enough time to look for proper parking for your vehicle. Shoddy bicycle lock to the rescue, you ‘secure’ your bike to the nearest fence and go on your way. T-building… what’s that code for again? The course WhatsApp group is blowing up- turns out most of your course mates don’t know where to head either. There is use for those 86 notifications after all!

The lecture is uneventful. Aside from the standard late entrance by a couple of students and the occasional Facebook Messenger sounds, you’ve listened to the majority of the Professor’s monologue and scribbled some coded notes. You overheard someone contemplating a Tosti during the break, and now you’re craving one. You and several other Food Plaza worshippers join the queue for some wholesome ham-and-cheese fun. “Alsjeblieft?” and a pin payment later, you’re happier than you’ve been all day! Besides, it’s not really spending money when you can’t convert the currency to make sense of it… or if you pay with plastic? Melted cheese is lekker.

ACE is having a ‘social drink’ tonight. You’ve been to a presentation about it and you’re really keen to be a part of a community on campus! During Eurekaweek you managed to sign up, but following through with a committee application would really cement your place in an inclusive association.

A few drinks and Facebook friend requests later, you’re ready to call it a night. Your phone battery is at 3% and you have a 20-minute cycle ahead of you. Scarf wrapped around your neck and mouth, you brave the windy night for a drive down the marina. Despite your fatigue, you can’t help but marvel at the beauty of the city. Three weeks of Rotterdam, and you’re pretty sure you’re in love. Or maybe it’s just that last Corona. The neighbourhood looks familiar; you’ve made it home. You pat your bike goodnight and rush inside as it starts to drizzle.

Some post is waiting for you on the counter. Perhaps your morning brain will translate better. The phone is charging and the alarm is set. 8.30 am. Your bed is beckoning you, and why would you put up a fight?

You leave the blinds open. Maybe the sun will wake you first tomorrow. You are hopeful.

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