A fresh wind is blowing, and not just through the hallways of the ESCM Academy! A new year, a new semester, a new group of exchange students, a new team of Globetrotters …..and even the weather seems to be changing for the better (at least for the moment); change is everywhere around us! For some, change means looking ahead to a new adventure, starting a life in a foreign country; for others, it may mean taking stock of the past and starting on a fresh page again. Whatever change you are facing at the moment, it is time to blow away the cobwebs and move forward; out with the old and in with the new. Find out how our Globetrotters are dealing with their fresh starts and take comfort from their anti-stress suggestions if you already feel the onset of anxiety attacks when you face your new burden of course assignments. How do students view big political changes such as the recent demonstrations in Tunesia and Egypt and closer to home, the recent government plans affecting higher education? A fresh wind is blowing indeed….but is it going to be a breeze or a full-blown storm’
Spring cleaning Wiping off your old habits Ani Dineva, Chinouk van de Kuit, Nadia Bouwsma, Stephanie Johnson and Sven Marschalek
he spring is coming. We all know what that means sun (not necessarily in Holland though), new experiences, new adventures, new people, new habits, new goals, new courses and a lot of resits (hopefully not). We may all come from different countries and have our own ways of welcoming the spring but there is one inevitable global custom for this season- THE SPRING CLEANING. What exactly is spring cleaning? It is the time of the year when you take out all your old clothes, books, and other material objects and decide which ones you will need, which ones you will not need, and why. But most importantly you decide what you are going to replace them with. However, our closets and bookshelves are not the only ones that get “dusty” during the year. More often than not, we also need some “spring cleaning” ourselves. Yes, you may not want to accept it, but you also have some bad habits you would like to “throw away” with the rest of the garbage and replace them with some new ones. What kind of habits? Here are some stimulating ideas…
It’s up to you – setting goals and changing habits in spring With spring coming, there is also a new semester. While cleaning your bookshelves you’ll probably bump into your dusty books from the last term and you’ll remember a horrifying time: endless weeks in front of the computer screen, typing out frustrating assignments and despairing of unreliable team members, being happy about sleeping longer than three hours and regretting to visit the same pointless lecture over and over. Now, aren’t you feeling like peeing in the wind? Luckily a new semester also means drawing up the balance sheet. Should we start studying even more and keep on missing everything that makes student life so exceptional or should we take it a little slower and start backing off a little bit? As we all know, our education takes a lot of our time and sometimes we’re very uptight. That’s why we recommend you some activities to reeellllaaaaxxxx a little bit and let the fresh wind blow.
You can start working on your "`New Me"`
Even though everybody cheats us into believing that we are only suffering because of our future, it’s sometimes better to get back to some of your hobbies. Go to the cinema or rent a DVD, swoon over a good book or relax by doing some exercise. Doing sports is also good for your condition. If you have a bigger budget, it’s always worth it to spend an afternoon going shopping or going to a spa. You will see that you feel completely recharged afterwards. Not forgetting the parties. Remember: Time management is all about putting the parties in between the things that need to be done. Next time listen to your teacher and show him that you are able to perform well and still be out every night. Nonetheless, if you have noticed that your current grades won’t offer you the opportunity to enjoy a second year at The Hague University or you are a little picky on your marks, here is some advice to get back on track. First of all, get enough rest. If you use your amazing new time management skills to raise your amount of sleeping hours your concentration will be even higher when you’re studying. In addition to that, make sure you take regular breaks. Spring is all about the comeback of colors and great images. Your mind loves images, too. Maybe it helps to step back from arid literature and imagine some pictures instead while studying. Something else you can try is to read out loud, because your mind tends to remember your own voice more easily. If you are even interested in getting some extra courses, the TU Delft offers workshops and trainings to students of The Hague University to help you learn how to hone your study skills. Some of these workshops include mind mapping and speed-reading, mindful stress relief or emotional freedom techniques, where you can learn to overcome your exam or presentation anxiety. For some workshops, a small contribution is required. If you want some more information you can check out the website of the TU Delft which is also available in Dutch: h t t p : / / w w w. t u d e l f t . n l / l i v e / p a g i na.jsp?id=6c584f7a-2bcd-454e-8934207a9a72bb27&lang=en
As you can see Spring Cleaning can be more than just vacuuming your house. You can use that time of the year and start working on your -New Me- reevaluate your ambitions, reestablish your goals, and reconnect with your friends. It is a new season, it is a new beginning, so make your fresh start, and this time make it different!
Thus, new round, new chances. It’s up to you which books to leave behind and which ones to clean up and erect again in the shelf. Just make your choice!
What are your plans for spring cleaning? Spring, finally. Officially it starts mid-March, but let’s forget that part and start cleaning right now. After all those cold months, finally some sun, hopefully though, since we live in The Netherlands. What are your plans for the spring cleaning? That was the question we asked students of the Academy of European Studies and Communication Management and everyone is looking forward to spring and summer. With the help of a little questionnaire we got to know the students better. After the devastation or relief of the exam period in January, people definitely need a change. With spring in the air, this semester in particular is the perfect time to make changes and start afresh. Setting new academic goals was a common happening for students this term, with sixty-eight percent of the students we surveyed having set new academic goals for themselves. What’s even better, is that most students are optimistic about the likelihood of meeting these goals. Beyond academic goals, the majority of students wants to live healthier. Fortunately, at The Hague University there’s the opportunity to play a wide range of sports, varying from Zumba to fitness and from kickboxing to yoga. You can sign up at the Bureau Hogeschool Sport in Ovaal 0.72. Other goals for the spring include being more confident and positive, enjoying life more or saving more money. Good luck! Luckily, February 26 was already a first light at the end of the tunnel for many of us. In case for some reason you don’t remember what was significant about this day, let us remind you- it was the first day of Spring Break! For most of us, that means partying, working or doing absolutely nothing. A total of 9 days to do whatever you want. Hopefully you are enjoying!
Political Change: Egpyt
the entire Arab World
“Yes, how many years can some people exist Before they’re allowed to be free ? Yes, how many times can a man turn his head Pretending he just doesn’t see ? [...] Yes, how many ears must one man have Before he can hear people cry ? Yes, how many deaths will it take till he knows That too many people have died ? The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind The answer is blowin’ in the wind”. (Bob Dylan)
Democracy is blowing in the wind Sven Wolters
n the 14th of January 2011 former Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled from Tunis. His Egyptian counterpart Muhammad Hosni Sayyid Mubarak resigned about one month later on the 2nd of February 2011. Both former presidents suppressed human rights of their citizens on a wide scale for decades. They thought they were untouchable, but a strong and fresh new wind of protest movements demanding freedom and democracy proved them wrong in the end. What started off as a small breeze in both Arab countries, culminated within few days into an unstoppable storm of the public, which no dictator or tyrant could withstand. Egypt and Tunisia could now become for the Arab World and the Middle East, what France became for Europe in the late 18th cen-
A fresh wind is blowing, these days from the shores of Scheveningen to De Haagse Hogeschool. It makes people happy, because it makes students on their bikes heading to university feel like they are flying. A fresh wind is blowing, these days in Tunis, in Cairo. It makes people happy, because it forced tyrants to flee and the new freedom and glimpse of democracy makes everyone feel like they are flying.
tury: The birthplace of liberal democracies. Strong interest How many times in your life do you have the chance to witness something as beautiful as a revolution towards democracy? Arguably many students of The Hague University (THU) asked themselves this question during the last weeks. According to a survey that we undertook to find out about how you think about the developments in the Arab world, 80 per cent of our fellow students inform themselves on at least a weekly basis through mass media about what is happening. Questions to be answered However, the revolutions also raise
some serious questions. Will they really lead to sustainable democracies, or will just another regime take over power in Tunisia and Egypt ? Opinions of THU students on this question are divided. While 30 per cent are optimistic, 35 per cent are not sure yet and the remaining 35 per cent even fear the efforts of Egyptian and Tunisian people will not have their desired outcome. EU shy of words & support Another important question to be asked is why the European Union (EU), which itself is founded on the very values of freedom, equality and solidarity, is so reluctant to support the protest movements of the Arab world. While many leaders of European nation states, such as France, Germany and Spain welcomed the demand for democracy, the EU’s so to say “Foreign Affairs Minister” Baroness Catherine Ashton remained silent, yet. However, 70 per cent of
THU students demand more support from the EU for the blossoming democracy in North Africa. Next stop: Middle East? Will the protests and revolutions expand to the Middle East, such as Yemen or even again in Iran ? More than half of THU students think that the population of Tunisia started a cascade, which will also not come to a halt in the Middle East. Speaking of the Middle East ,however, a fear arises. Will fundamental islamist groups try to use the instability and try to gain more political power ? 62 per cent of our fellow students think so, while 20 per cent are convinced that the new democracies will be secular ones. A fresh wind is blowing these days, all over the world. It makes people happy, because it makes them free. Will 2011 be the year of democracy? The answer is blowin’ in the wind.
Women s uprising for democracy Felix Wilhelm
“I had had enough of this dictatorship,” said a young woman protesting on the streets of Cairo. This sentiment was shared by thousands of women protesters who were tired of losing their hope and giving up their political beliefs under the former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Female participation
Women of all ages, religious or political views stood together trying to maintain peaceful demonstrations during the unrests in Egypt and helped the men cleaning up the streets after the protests; something completely new and unprecedented as many participants reported concordantly. Supporting the fact that numerous women spent the entire day and night on the streets defying the rather conservative social landscape in Egypt. Cross-section of society
Sensing a losing of social restrictions, mothers did not only allow their daughters to join the demonstrations, but actively participated in them, despite the hazard of getting arrested. In previous demonstrations women were partly confronted with sexual harassments and rather absented themselves from protests. Whereas the contempo-
rary movement involved a high participation of women, many protesters estimated that one out of four demonstrators was a woman. Some dressed in Western fashions, some in full ‘niqab’, a conservative veil covering the woman’s face, completing the cross-section of the society participating in the protests. Fresh political and social wind blowing
According to a male Egyptian interviewee, who joined the demonstrations on Tahrir Square in Cairo, women acted “very vital” and made the demonstrations “more ethical” as well as declaring the movement as a ‘revolution’. Simultaneously a more tolerant atmosphere was perceived by some female demonstrators, mentioning the ‘standing side-byside’ with the male protestors. Muslim Brotherhood
Revolution 2.0: Powered by social media Christy van Moorsel
The social media were and are very important in the Egyptian revolution. At the beginning of the protests there was a small demonstration planned. This small demonstration ,however, turned out not to be small at all. Abdel Rahman Faris is an Egyptian blogger, who also posted the information online that there would be a demonstration at the Tahir square in Cairo. This is what made thousands people to go and demonstrate as well against the Egyptian president Mubarak. It was surprising how the internet can make from a small demonstration, a massive demonstration for weeks. The Facebook-page of the ‘6th April Youth Movement’ , which arguably mobilized a huge amount of demonstrators, now has more
than 65,000 followers. The youth takes over The youth in Egypt also played a big part in the revolution starting in January. The youth was unhappy about the situation in Egypt, and wanted to plan a demonstration. The group of 14 people, of the Revolutionary Youth Council, was intended to represent the youth of entire Egypt at the demonstration. However, more and more people came to the demonstration, that it wasn’t necessary to represent a group. The people and the youth were already there.
Political Change: Egpyt
Thimo de Jonge
Great festivities in the whole of Egypt and the rest of the Arab world, Mubarak is gone and finally there seems to be room for democracy and for a new leader. But what is in store for Egypt next? Who will take over? Many fear that the Muslim Brotherhood is seeing their chances growing of getting into power. In 2005 , The Muslim Brotherhood gained more than 20% of the seats in parliament but was hold back by Mubarak. Accor-
the entire Arab World
Sharia for Egypt? ding to a survey held by the BBC It is expected that many Egyptians are sympathetic towards the Brotherhood. What is The Muslim Brotherhood exactly? They are an Islamic transnational movement founded in 1928 by Hassan al-Bana and is the largest political opposition organization in Egypt, but also in many other Arab states. The Brotherhood is against any form of violence in achieving its
goals, although many argue that the Brotherhood also has an very conservative wing; their slogan: ‘Islam is the solution’. Their political views rely greatly on Islamic principles such as woman covering up and Islamic Legislation in the form of Sharia. Especially in the Western World, it is feared that the Brotherhood could interfere with the long standing peace agreement between Egypt and Israel, which is crucial for the long term re-
lations between the west and the middle east, though recent messages from the Brotherhood saythat they will not participate in the elections and are not seeking power for this moment. We can say one thing for sure, the upcoming elections in September*4 will be followed with great interest from all over the world, especially from all the states in the Arab World.
The interviewee is Abdel, 24, lives in The Hague, studies in Rotterdam. He came to the Netherlands when he was six years old and visits his family in Egypt every year. Globetrotter:How do you feel about the demonstrations/revolution in general? Is it time for Egypt to change? Abdel: Yes! After 30 years of Mubarak, it is a time for change. The people in Egypt want employment, want more freedom. There is too much corruption in Egypt. You have heard that as well, if you have followed the news. Mubarak has not won elections fairly. Now it is time that he will make place for someone else. Although a change of power in Egypt is inevitable , many fear that the next leaders of the country, such as the Muslim Brotherhood can harm international relations with other countries such as Israel and the USA, do you share this fear? Abdel: Well, I don’t know, I’m not sure. I guess you never know what is going to happen. Right now the contact with Israel and America is good, I think the
people in the government will keep these contacts good. Even when the Muslim Brotherhood will take the lead of the country. Do you think that this revolution would have occurred , without the revolution in Tunisia weeks before the one in Egypt? Do you think other Arab countries will face the same in the near future? Abdel: Yes, I do think that revolution in Egypt was at hand anyway. Though, I also think that the situation in Tunisia did give the Egyptians an idea of demonstrating against Mubarak. I have heard that more countries are thinking about demonstrating as well. I don’t know that much about the situation in their countries, but if this is the same as Egypt, I think they will also start demonstrating soon. How do you see the future of Egypt after Mubarak? What changes do you expect? Abdel: Well, we are hoping that
tonight Mubarak will step down from his function as the leader of Egypt. He already stated that he will step down when there are elections, which are in September, but we, the Egyptian people, are not happy with that. We want him to step down as soon as possible. If he steps down, we have to wonder who will take the lead of Egypt. I expect the Egyptians will keep demonstrating until they are happy about the changes that the government will take.
Would you consider returning to Egypt after the revolution? Abdel:Well, I would like to go to Egypt. I would love to be there now with the demonstrations and the revolution, because even when I see it on TV, I think that the atmosphere is great at the Tahir square. Would I go back after the revolution? Yes, I think I will.
Changes in life A fresh wind blowing: As simple as it is Polina Tsoneva
Living as an international student always brings you up and down. It’s inevitably part of the adventurous life one’s chosen to live. You meet new people, and say “Goodbye” to others; this is how life goes on. However, every day is a new start, a fresh beginning that you, and only you choose how to deal with. People asked me many times what my resolutions were for this 2011th year, what are my big plans, and ambitions. They all had made these long lists with things they wish for themselves every New Year’s Eve, and things they got the courage and will to actually achieve; things that will be Dione van het Kaar
forgotten in weeks, even days. And as for me, I don’t need a pen and piece of paper. I decided to do something different; I decided that I’m going to be a citizen… of the world. I decided that I will enjoy the fresh chilly wind blowing to my face every morning, and I will start my days with a big smile, welcoming the undiscovered. Because, you see, it is funny how people forget to enjoy how they hide from changes and cover up their faces from others. What crossed my path this year, was a single thought. It’s something I will experience over and over again, and this something is called pure joy, happiness and fulfillment. How often do you think
of these simple words these days? Do you ever think of it actually? Feeling good is just as simple as letting the early morning spring wind caress your face: you can hide from it, or you can indulge into the feeling.
A fresh start at a new school: An exhange student´s first thoughts
It may be difficult for most to adapt to a new environment, lifestyle or culture. Especially, when you are travelling abroad alone for a longer period of time, without familiar faces to support you. Today I am talking to Portia, an exchange student from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay (UWGB). We will discuss several cultural aspects to visiting and staying in a new country and adjusting to a changed environment.
Dionne: Hi Portia, thank you for taking the time to sit and chat with me about your first two weeks on exchange. What were your expectations of this year before you came here? Portia: I didn’t have too many expectations. I simply thought it would be an adventure, as I’ve never been to Europe before or really outside of the U.S., so I knew it was going to be different. But I was not sure how everything would be different. I was waiting to come and see for myself. Dionne: So what is the main reason you chose to come to Holland, instead of another country? Portia: Mainly, the classes that were offered here and the price. The classes fit in with my major. I follow social changes and development as my major with an emphasis on global studies and environmental policy. Dionne: Have you experienced any anxiety or cultural differences thus far? Portia: Yeah, I think it’s been a lot of anxiety just with the new culture and meeting a lot of new people and starting school in the first week, especially since the school system is so different. Just with having classes that only last
six weeks, it seems like you could get behind real fast! My classes at home last fifteen weeks and you have a bit of a slower start. But also just going to the grocery store could be very overwhelming, because you can’t read the labels and you don’t know what you are buying. All the food tastes different. I went out to taste a pizza and it tasted nothing like what I am used to. Dionne: What can you say about the Dutch people you have met so far? Portia: Dutch people have been very friendly and very helpful. Sometimes they can be very straightforward and you don’t know how to take it, I was kind of surprised by their answers. They don’t seem to get offended easily. Dionne: If it weren’t for school, do you think you would go abroad for a longer period of time? Portia: Yeah, I definitely would. I’m interested in going to a more undeveloped nation and a different culture that isn’t so western, perhaps to see more extreme differences. In western cultures everyone seems so independent and self-driven and I would like to see a more cooperative community and how they operate. Dionne: If you could describe yourself to a foreigner in four words, what would they be? Portia: I would have to say passionate, inquisitive, funny and compassionate. I can seem shy, but I guess I am also observant and more of a listener.
Interview with Portia Georgia
Dionne: What would a normal school day in Wisconsin look like? Portia: Well it’s very cold and snowing all the time. I would have to drive my car to go school, we drive our cars everywhere. The campus has several buildings; we don’t follow classes in one building. It has underground tunnels so you don’t have to walk through the cold, so you could walk from building to building. Classes would sometimes start at 8:00 and could go on until 20:00 in the evening. Dionne: What is Wisconsin known for by other states in the U.S? Portia: We are actually known as cheese heads. We produce a lot of cheese, we are the dairy state. And also our football team is the Green Bay Packers and we actually just won the Superbowl match, which is really exciting. A lot of the packer fans have big slices of cheese they put on their head to support the team. And also everybody seems to know ‘That 70’s show’ here, which is based in Wisconsin. Dionne: Do you think this exchange could affect your choice on what you want to do later? Portia: Yeah I think so. With my environmental policy major I think it is very interesting to see that people here use so many bikes, it is a completely different infrastructure also with the trams and buses. What I hope to get out of my experience here is to learn more about myself, another culture and to gain more confidence and understanding.
Changes in life Students across Europe Stand up for their Right to Affordable Education
High Costs Do Not Equal Quality Education for All: An American Student’s Perspective
There are many events in life that can be life changing. Getting an education is one experience that can change the outcome of a person’s life. Being a student from America, where education costs are very high, I admire that Europe makes it possible for all their citizens to get an education. Recently, policy makers have been trying to change the laws in Europe and make higher education more expensive and students and teachers are not taking this matter lightly. In many cities across Europe, including The Hague, there have been protests. The first day I arrived from the United States to start my semester I was asked if I had seen the demonstration. I was very curious and had unfortunately missed it by only an hour. According to an article on MSNBC.com more than 11,000 students showed up at Parliament in The Hague to protest education cuts in the Netherlands (Corder, 2011). Professors in black gowns stood with students to protest new regulations and spending cuts
(Corder, 2011). I want to use this article to tell everyone a little bit about the cost and inequality of schools in the United States and encourage students to keep fighting for their rights to education for all. From talking to many students from around Europe it seems that Europeans enjoy relatively low tuition costs. In America the education system is quite a different story with tuition costs rising, at a higher rate than inflation, every year. (Fierro, 2010) Higher education is typically only in reach of students whose families are of higher socioeconomic status. The lower a person’s income the less likely they are to obtain a degree. In many cities across America students in low classes are left behind never believing that a college education is within their reach. There are many reasons for this. Just to name a few of the obstacles that stand in the way; the inefficiency of the primary education, drug addiction, poverty, inequality, and of course the high cost. On top of that, there are colleges that are currently under fire for preying on low income people. These schools find grants and loans for students. The colleges take this money and put students in classes for degrees that are not accredited and therefore worthless (Fierro, 2010) So, exactly how much does college cost in America? It varies, but according to America.gov the lowest cost of college is about 7,300 Euros per year. To go to a prestigious University it can cost up to 37,000 Euros
per year. Education costs go up every year. Each year it is a little bit and a little bit more. These increases add up. Students have to find grants, loans, and scholarships or work their way through school. Many students end up in debt and end up paying interest on their already expensive tuition and students are increasingly warned that the cost of college may not be worth the benefits. Many Americans are aware of the inequality in the education system, but there seems to be a consensus that the task is too daunting to tackle. Even though the costs that European students pay may seem low in comparison to what American schools cost, I say do not give in. Keep protesting. I’m sure there are many problems within the European education system, but making it more expensive to students will not solve the problems. Just look at the problems with American schools. Access to a good education should be a right for all people, not just the privileged. Right now you have the opportunity to stand up and make a difference for yourselves and future generations. Don’t give in or give your rights away. If the government is able to put extra costs on students it will make it easier to raise the costs little by little every year. If all people are not given the chance to be educated then how can we progress? All people deserve to have the opportunity to an education. This is why the protesters are truly a breath of fresh air.
The chinese approach to change: New Year´s Eve Leena Laitinen
In Europe, and in most countries around the world, the New Year is already well on its way. The holidays are over, and the New Year’s resolutions should be in action, or declared a failure. The Chinese New Year, however, falls on a different date based on the ancient Chinese New Year Calendar, and this year it was celebrated on the 3rd of February. It is the biggest holiday in China, and it is also widely celebrated in most big cities across the world. The Chinese New Year is all about change, about getting out with the old and in with the new, about focusing on the year to come and leaving the rest behind. For He Chengjun, a Chinese exchange student in the Hague, this New Year’s Eve was the first he had ever celebrated outside of China. “It’s different. Of course, staying with your family makes you
feel much better than being alone. Luckily I had some friends here and we celebrated it together. We had lots of dumplings!” he says, referring to the traditional Chinese food which is eaten on New Year’s Eve for good luck. There are indeed plenty of traditions which belong to the New Year’s Eve celebrations and they range all the way from which food to eat to which colour to wear. An important aspect of the Chinese New Year is also the Chinese 12 Year Cycle, which determines the zodiac animal for each year. This New Year saw the Year of the Tiger move on to the Year of the Rabbit. “The people who
were born in the Year of the Rabbit celebrate the New Year by using a lot of red things, because this represents happiness and good luck. Interestingly enough, people even wear red underwear”, Chengjun points out. The way you act on New Year’s Day might have an impact for the rest of the year, so it is important to follow the traditions and gather as much good luck as possible for the coming year. It is also traditional to make a wish, a kind of New Year’s Resolution, to end the year and start a new one. Chengjun has a simple wish - to live happily ever after with the girl he loves. Sounds like he is going to have a happy year ahead of him.
Changes in School A fresh wind within school and The Netherlands Tinka van Wijngaarden
These days there is a lot to do about changes in the educational system in The Netherlands. Future students will have to pay back all the money they received from the government and will have to pay extra in case of any delay. However, not only on national level things are different, also here in our Martine van der Smiseen
school. A good example is that my former class ES3-1d has dissolved. It does not exist anymore, all students have been split up into other classes. Therefore, not only has the second semester started with new subjects and teachers, but also with new classmates. This takes a while to adjust to. With the absurd amount of group work the teammates you were used to work with are not in your class anymore. Of
course, new friends are made quickly and I will get used to my new class I no-time. But it remains a little weird. Moreover, I am also moving to The Hague! For the first time I will live on my own in a classic student house (yes, that means old, smelly and dirty!). I feel like with the new class, the new semester and the upcoming spring, the fresh wind is blowing very hard.
By the time this article will be published, I will probably be knee deep with assignments in a room somewhere, cursing at my notebook, fighting deadlines. At the time of writing, this semester is not yet two weeks old, but it has already cost me a new, fresh batch of stress, three nights of no proper sleep, and a full pack of printing paper (what’s with all these 40+ page manuals?!). My classmates are complaining about the same thing, which does give a feeling that you’re all in this together, which is also kind of nice. Ah, new semesters. We all started out with good intentions; our tutor warned us these coming twelve weeks would be more
demanding, so we vowed not to slack in the first week, do all the homework and hand it in, and actually read the chapters you are supposed to read every week.
on the private sector, which means writing business plans, researching non-governmental organizations, and analyzing marketing environments.
One week in, we are all already starting to stress out a little bit. (Some smart and prepared people don’t, of course, but they’re just stupid – nobody will ever take you seriously if you don’t complain like the rest of us.)
I could think about what I think of this semester, but I simply don’t have time for it. Sad, but true. Whether we like the subjects or not, I think this semester will mean for all us to work a little harder, really promise ourselves this time to read our textbooks, because in the end, we only want to get that first-year diploma! Or just get enough credits and survive this year. If we gave up, it would be such a waste of printing paper.
Last semester was more focused on European politics, public sector-related themes, and of course also getting to know each other better. In this semester, the focus is
Lai Tin Lo
New year, new semester, new subjects and of course new challenges. Six months went by so fast, semester 2 has been going on for a couple of weeks now. Most students were curious about the new subjects in semester 2. Semester 2 focuses on the economic part, while semester 1 focused on the cultural and political part. What do students think about this change and what are their new solutions to get through the new semester? Well, what the most students have in common is that they think it is going to be a lot of work. Their expectation is that they have to put a lot of time and effort in it, more than in semester 1. Of course, students have their own “new year’s resolutions” for school; study more often, pay attention, meet deadlines, etc. Because after all, we really want our first year diploma. But students, do not forget to have fun!
Changes in School Changes in Dutch higher education Adrienn Godo
Now, you might ask: How does this affect me?
“I can´t change the direction of the wind. But i can adjust my sails”.(Jimmy Dean)
Hopefully, we dont have to worry just yet.
Some of you might have observed or even joined the student protest in The Hague on 21st January, 2011. Just to re-cap what brought thousands of students, teachers and professors to rally the streets: the Dutch government proposed a new regulation regarding the financing of higher education. The “studiefinanciering” will be offered on stricter criteria, which aim to push students to graduate without delay. Fines will be imposed on students prolonging their studies by more than one year. The amount will measure up to 3000,- Euros and respectively the institution of higher education will experience repercussions as well. To crank it up a notch, the government will abolish the study financing of Master studies. The protest started peacefully in the morning but turned slightly violent in the city center. On the Plein some students clashed with the police forces and 28 of them got arrested eventually. The prime minister, Mr. Rutte, reacted on the demonstrations: “It’s interesting to see that students engage in education policies but the government will not change anything on its proposed policies”.
If you graduate in 2011, you will not notice any difference. For everybody else, the “wind of change” is coming. Schools of higher edu-
cation in the Netherlands will face budget cuts in the near future. This could mean fewer professors, teachers, guest lectures and less state-of-the-art equipment. However, the institutions will have to secure high standards in education, and offer a good value for money for the students paying tuition. Hopefully, we do not have to worry just yet. A teacher at the Aacdemy of European Studies and Communication Management, Mr. Len Middelbeek ensured: “These cutbacks are a challenge, but we also see them as an opportunity for the improvement of our core business and study curriculum.” Indeed, the course management will need to revise the program with less funding, but promises to strive for high educational standard, nevertheless. They would like to maintain a dialogue with the students through frequent feedback sessions with class representatives. We cannot avoid the change but we can decide on our attitude towards it, and let that be positive.
International ways of relieving stress The most universal girl·s way to ease stress Soo-Jin Lee
Stress may increase due to various factors in daily life such as hectic schedules, strain and tension in family or at work, mental distractions caused by pressing issues,etc. Stress release is crucial as stress can bring about health implications like hypertension, exhaustion, weakness, black out and so on. Concerning potent sources of stress relief, we would like to discover international ways to release stress. To begin with, I will explore window shopping- the best way to calm down ladies on the planet!
Kelly van Toledo
It is often said that going out for shopping is a good way to de-alienate oneself from sources of stress. But who said you actually have to buy anything to boost up yourself? Just going for
window shopping or walking through a shopping mall or a shopping street can be fun and exciting. As a student, this is the cheapest, yet the best way to cheer myself up; it has been a good therapy whenever I suffered depression either at home or school. The therapy works well not only mentally, but also physically. Walking around and looking at stuff in the store through the window from one to another store is a great stress reducer, and even better, this activity burns lots of calories; you will be exercising without realizing. If you are annoyed by whatever bothers you, why don’t you go for a walk on famous shopping streets in your town just like other girls do all over the world? Trust us-it’s the best way to decrease the stress level while becoming a trend tracker!
Antistress Stressed out? Who isn’t?! Leading a busy life in the 21st century doesn’t always simplify things. Nowadays, everyone suffers from stress. We tell ourselves to do as many things as possible in the shortest period of time. Studying at home, attending classes, working in the weekends, keeping up our social lives, exercising, and for all you students that have your own homes; grocery shopping, cleaning and cooking… Luckily, everyone copes differently with stress. Some people can handle a lot of pressure, because that actually is where stress comes from: pressure. Some people feel a lot of pressure; they think they have to carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. They have to do everything perfect and at the same time looking perfect while doing everything that needs to be perfect. And if it is possible, even better than perfect. Still following it? Good, because you will never be perfect. Prevent stress. Is that even possible?
Perhaps not, but it’s a mentality so it depends on the person. Obviously, you are more likely to get stressed out working 60 hours a week than someone going to college for 2 days per week and doing absolutely nothing more than that. And I believe you have to allow yourself to not get stressed out. The easiest way to do this is to speak up, and tell the people close to you what you are up to. You’ll be surprised how other people will cope differently with your problems. Secondly, one of the most important things is to get real. Are you making a problem out of nothing and are you yourself the biggest contribution surrounding the problem? Then; write everything down. It helps so much to actually see activities on paper. What also turns out to be a great ‘ stress-preventer’ is; positivity. Again, write down the things you did well today. What things have you finished today and needed to be done? Be proud of yourself and… reward! Pick a day a week to do something nice with your best friend. Maintaining your social
contacts is a way of preventing stress; because people without any people actively involved in their lives, are more likely to get stressed out. For you, that might be spending hours on Facebook, to others it is an actual conversation or partying. Again, everyone copes with stress differently; but for ways to prevent it; we are kind of the same. We need people around us pulling our brakes when we are about to freak out. We need relaxing moments and precious ‘alone-time’ and we need structure in our busy schedules to oversee our (possible) problems. It’s not a culturething, it’s a person-thing. Prevent stress forever? Forget it! I guess we can never kiss stress goodbye.But we’re just too hard on ourselves sometimes. You can even end up sick in bed from stress, and then you’ll never be able to get everything done. Golden tip; don’t push yourself and be positive!
International ways of relieving stress Sports against stress Rogier Happell
Stress isn’t limi- ted by cultures or national borders, it is a mental and physical inconvenience known all over the world. Despite this, the ways to relieve stress do differ per culture and country. There are ,however, some similarities, but still many different methods are used globally. For example sports. From Argentina to Japan and from New Zeeland to Norway, people practice sports in order to relax. But the kinds of sports that are being practiced are often not similar at all. For example, in The Netherlands, soccer is definitely the national sport. Many children play this game on the streets after school, or play official matches in the weekends. At this age, it is just a fun and social happening, not consciously a method to relieve stress. When growing up however, many Dutch men, and women to some extent, consciously plan a couple of hours of this sport into their busy agendas each week. The main objective of this is relaxed recreation. Besides this, many Dutch adults watch lots of soccer as well. This is called the ‘plate on lap model’. A typical Dutch habit, whereby many Dutch families have dinner in front of the television
No matter where you come from, stress can affect us all at one point or another, particularly when we have important exams coming our way, deadlines to meet, work, personal troubles and many other aspects of our lives that can put strain on us. Worrying about things can lead to a stressful state of mind, and then we can feel unsettled which can lead to an effect on our re-
lationships with family and friends and work mates. Sometimes the best way to diminish stress is to just get away from it for a while and take some time to relax and recharge the old batteries. Stereotypically people think a stress free environment would be a quiet beach somewhere, with the sun shining, the waves lapping, palm trees blowing, and nothing to worry about, except maybe what’s on the menu for dinner. However, the sole reason this is relaxing is because it is away from the trials and tribulations of everyday life. Taking a trip somewhere can form a sense of escapism, a chance to straighten out one’s mind, without distractions and interruptions.
A quiet walk over the canals in Delft can be the perfect answer to relieve a stressed mind, away from the hussle and bustle of the city. Travel doesn’t mean you have to always go somewhere far away...
each Sunday at 7.00 pm, to watch the highlights of the matches played in the national league. Fifty minutes of pure relaxation. Moving southeast to Bhutan, most people haven’t even heard of soccer. Their national team has the 202nd and therefore lowest ranking on the FIFA world list of soccer teams. However, sport is still an important way to relax in Bhutan as well. But instead of playing soccer like we do, they practice archery. On the rough countryside it is still played in a very traditional way, using selfmade equipment. In the capital, high-level competitions exist, professional equipment is used and many people support their favourite archer in big stadiums. These examples show that the same kind of activities, in this case sports, are used all over the world, in order to relieve the international phenomenon of stress. Fortunately there is a great diversity in the kind of sports that are practised globally.
Of course not all of us have the funds to jump on a plane to a paradise beach
somewhere! This doesn’t have to be the only option – a city break could be equally effective.Places such as Bruges, Paris and Venice are all known to be relaxing places to visit. A trip somewhere away from home can be a chance for our intuitive and curious mind to explore and experience something new and different, giving us a chance to forget our worries. For a student living in The Hague, Dutch or international, even a day trip to Delft, Haarlem or Scheveningen could be the answer to relieve stress. A change of scenery can give the mind a distraction from our main worries. Also the fact that these towns are much more quiet and picturesque can be a nice breath of fresh air to our busy heads. Wherever you come from, the key to eliminating stress sometimes is to just take a day off and escape. Allow yourself to simply let go of the worries troubling you and let yourself explore something new.
Stressed out? Have a party! Jasmin Singh
Going out for a party, dress to the nines, having some booze and hitting the dance floor can serve definitely as a welcoming method to relieve stress for many students. After an exhausting period of full-time studies (and where applicable: maybe all night long?!) you just long for a moment to release the built-up stress.
The night begins with three big questions
But are party methods similar in different countries? Is the same scheme revealed? Well, I interviewed some international students about their way of partying to get an impression. Trevor, a classmate of mine, now 24 years old, originally from New York state had an interesting story to tell about his time at college. What were Friday nights like at your American College? Since all first year students must live in the dorms, the night begins there with three big questions: Where is the party? How am I getting to the party? What else can I do if I don’t get into the party? The answer to two of these questions:Fraternities. A fraternity is a group of all male students who have secret hand-shakes and rituals. They live usually far away from school. These members meet you outside of school.They would pick up the students in groups by car and drive them to their houses where usually huge masses of students gather in order to have a big private party. Those parties have two purposes: to meet women and to gain new members. Since a “little” get-together amongst under-aged people (younger than 21) combined with the sometimes bad influence of alcoholic drinks is illegal, the students would cover up the windows with black garbage bags in order to hide from the police. Thus it becomes a sweat house because you can’t leave for fear of alerting anyone interested in stopping the party. If the police do come, students have to follow a strict evasive procedure: hide and be quiet in the back of the house. Police are not allowed to enter houses but you must open the door for them. Once the police see that the front room is empty, they
usually issue a warning and leave knowing allthe-while that there are 100-150 under-age drunk kids in the backyard. Getting caught serving alcohol to under-aged students is considered a serious offence and can end in jail-time for those responsible for buying the booze. Unlike the Netherlands, those parties involve usually drinking games which are very common amongst students in the United States. While American students have to hide their parties, Romanian students ,for instance, like my classmate Raluca are able to party all night long in often music genre based clubs. Those parties start around 9 p.m. and can last until 7 a.m. in the early morning. If the club also serves as a café during the day, there is, let’s say one hour left for cleaning up and then the daily business starts all over again with serving breakfast and coffee. Charlotte, originally from Germany, has witnessed party life both in London and Frankfurt, two exciting cosmopolitan cities. As she compares the way of partying in both cities, she really enjoyed in the London party scene that you could wear what you want in order to access a club there. In Frankfurt though, the bank city of Germany and Europe, you have to meet certain dress criteria in order to be able to enter the club. For instance, sneakers are a no-go. Even though parties might take different shapes due to the various cultures and laws of particular countries, the main idea is the same: We all want to experience an awesome party and forget about our stress. Sometimes you just have to be a bit creative or try out different ways of partying ;) After all, should you ever get too stressed from stressful parties, just keep it like a friend of mine who currently follows studies on Iceland and chill in a jacuzzi situated right on university campus and enjoy the silence ;-)
News from abroad Mark Braber
Helloâ€Ś My name is Mark and I am currently on exchange in the beautiful city of Valencia. I am going to inform you about how you have to prepare for an exchange, things you should not forget and what kinds of things happen when you are on an exchange. Why? Because all of you of European Studies students need to go on an exchange. Why? Because it is a great experience that you will remember for the rest of your life and, thatâ€™s the main reason, you would regret it every single day if you would make the choice to stay in the Netherlands.
What is essential for preparation of going on your exchange? START EARLY. Make sure you know what to do and start doing those things on time. I am a bit of a lazy person, and therefore I started pretty late. That ended up going to the University in the last days before departure because I had to take care of the final preparations for stuff like learning agreements, trying to get signatures from people that are not there, and stuff like that. The best is to make a to do list from the moment you start preparing for your semester abroad and start on time. Things like cell phone contracts have a cancellation period of 3 months (I cancelled mine a month before departure). You have to take care of subletting your room (if you have one, the ones that still live with their parents are so lucky). Make sure you cancel your ov-contract with DUO on time. There are special ways in which you can stop it for the duration of your time, so that you can get a fee instead of your ov-contract. That will give you about 90 euros a month. Another thing is that you should arrange your ERASMUS SCHOLARSHIP on time. Do not forget that. Get everything done in time, because you will receive a substantial amount of money from this very kind organization. Another thing I made a mistake in to take a good look at your flight schedule. I flew with Vueling to Valencia, and they sent me an email in December with a change in the flight itinerary. What I forgot to read is that my flight went two days later. The date was really small and almost unnoticeable. I do not want to say that Vueling is a
Valencia bad organization, but read everything you receive from the organization very carefully, because I noticed a day before my initial departure that I had two days more in the Netherlands. That is something you do not want to happen.
Leaving everything behind to go on an exchange is difficult. But it is different for everybody. Students from any other country than the Netherlands have already done that moving to the Hague. But it still remains difficult. You go on this great adventure, sometimes on your own, or with a friend from the University. What I did is we (Tessa and I) planned 5 nights in a hostel to figure some stuff out and to find a room. This is a good way to start because you have the possibility to find friends (I found two friends in the hostel that are now two of my roommates), you can explore the city and ask everything you want to the hostel staff. One of the most important things to do within these first days is to get a sim-card of the country you are staying in. Get that as soon as possible. That way you will avoid a very high telephone bill. A hostel in a big city normally offers tours of some sort for the day and pub crawls during the night. During the first couple of days it might be a good idea to go on one of those. This way you can get to know a part of the city without wondering where you are going. For the rest, hope for good weather and start walking around the city yourself during the day, being all touristy and just explore by yourself. If you are lucky you are in a lot warmer place than the Netherlands, but you can be unlucky as well. Well, I hope you can have use some tips from this story. In the next one I will tell some more about my experience. Have fun in the Netherlands, good luck if you are preparing for your exchange and good luck with all the exams.
Lisboa My name is Denise Delgado and my host university is Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Faculdade de ciencias sociais e humanas. I was very excited and curious to see the university. The first things I noticed were the palm trees in the courtyard of the university. I was quite impressed, because this was something I do not see in the Netherlands. It looked cosy and welcoming. The next thing I noticed was a high building which consisted mostly of glass from the front. It made me curious and I liked to see how it looks like on the inside. Basically, when you go study abroad, you immediately start questioning what the school looks like, what the teachers and students are like. At first I was a bit scared about how the classes would be, because they would be given in Portuguese. I already knew some Portuguese, but still this was an environment I was not accustomed to and people will be talking really fast. When I got my timetables I was shocked that one class lasts two hours. This meant that on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday I will be sitting in the same classroom for 4 hours! Luckily, these teachers arenâ€™t that strict. So actually after between two and three hours the class would finish. But in the beginning even two hours was too much for me and I was fidgeting on my seat. After a while, the talking fast was not a problem, and if I had any doubts about the homework the teachers would gladly explain it to me in English. The first two weeks I was confused, because some of the teachers would not show up and I did not understand this. There was not even a notice in advance, so it would make me wonder if I was the one that did not do something right. To be honest it annoyed me a little bit. In these two weeks students look if they are going to keep the classes they choose or not. After the two weeks all the teachers just showed up and there were normal classes. Now everything is alright, I like the teachers they are very kind, I am used to my timetable and I just adore the shopping centres in Lisbon. I did not really have expectations, because I know life manages to throw curveballs. So I just let it all come down to me. And I have to say I am quite satisfied with my exchange here.
Photoshoot Romain Basly
“I would have sent to you a more beautiful picture. But everybody here agrees to say that a picture would not be enough to represent the beauty of the Netherlands, or the beauty of Dutch cities, and its depth. To make a beautiful photoshoot, it would mean reducing the way of living here to the landscape and we would not learn anything about your country. My picture tries to represent what I learned here, and what France should do, in its own future. It tries to represent the gap between our cultures, a gap that France should catch up quickly. “What you see is a bell of a bicycle. Why? It represents my own experience of living here. For a French person, the first steps are dangerous steps. Dutch cities are a bit dangerous : between trams, bicycles and cars, we have to be constantly watching out where we go and when. In order to survive to that cultural shock, Dutch people invented an important instru-
ment : the bell. The first thought which comes in a French mind about this tool is its annoying part, when everywhere you hear the sound. “Come on! I have a priority, because you can hurt me : I am a weak pedestrian, you are on your bike” You might say that it is typically the French attitude, constantly living in opposition towards its fellow citizens, everywhere the impression he/she to be a king. You might as well say that it is the wrong way to comprehend your way of life. It means simply that you are not in your place! And that tool simply saved your life. From a bicycle, or even more importantly from a tram. It is a tool of prevention, and help for the foreigners, instead of a tool of intolerance towards them. Why do I think that it is something that France has to imitate? First, because we don’t use that many bicycles in my own country : the road are (for most of them) not appropriate for bicycles, instead of considering them as fragile users of the road, most of
the French car users simply don’t care : bicycles users are annoying. Then because when you are a pedestrian in the Netherlands, you have to constantly ask yourself “Am I in the right place? Am I bothering somebody right now?” That is to say, to live with its fellow citizens, and care about them, care about their own happiness. In one sentence : a Dutch lesson to all the French Inhabitants.
“The sunset at Acropolis Hill with Erasmus people in Athens” by Wadik Vadym Arinchenkov
Winners Patricia del Coso and Konstatinos Galanis have won the Photoshoot contest for Introduction to Dutch Culture, showing the differences between Netherlands and Spain/Greece. Congratulations!
The Netherlands as a multicultural society Wieke Buisman, Anke Terdu, Mee-Di Chau, Rebecca Ploos van Amstel, Margo Wijngawds, Ilona Rotteveel
Let’s be honest, the first thing that pops up in your mind when you think of the Netherlands are windmills, wooden shoes, tulips and the liberal drugs policy. You are probably not the only person that thought of these things in the first place. Each year, thousands of immigrants come to the Netherlands and are confronted with the Dutch norms and values that differ from their own. After WWII many people came to the Netherlands, due to the many job opportunities the country had to offer. After a while, they were not willing to return to their home countries and their families came over to live in the Netherlands as well. At first, the Dutch citizens were pleased with these immigrants, because they fulfilled the jobs the Dutch did not want. Nowadays, immigrants decide to come to the Netherlands for many different reasons. One of these reasons is that the economic situation in their country is less prosperous and because of this, they are facing difficulties in finding a job. Also, many Dutch citizens decide each year to leave for another country to find happiness abroad. In 2008, the number of people who come to the Netherlands outnumber the number of people who leave the country. Some political parties in the Netherlands believe that this small country is becoming overcrowded. The governments of member states within the European Union are increasing their cooperation to handle the number of immigrants in an appropriate way. This is why minimum standards, measures
and procedures for people applying for asylum are being developed. The Netherlands used to be a popular country for immigrants, but due to new legislation it is rather difficult for foreigners to settle here. The consequence of this new legislation is that not only immigrants who came here with economic reasons may have to go back to their home country, but also people who are living in the Netherlands because they are married to a Dutch citizen might have to leave. Besides Denmark, the Netherlands is the only country within the European Union with a very strict immigration policy. According to the study ‘Migrant Integration Policy Index’, the integration policy of the Netherlands is one of the best within the EU. The Netherlands is trying hard to decrease the unemployment of immigrants, increase equal access to higher education and to increase immigrant’s language skills. Areas of improvement will always exist. The Dutch legislation is also strict concerning integration. The integration process is not only about learning the Dutch language, but also focused on every citizen’s participation in society. To achieve this, education and employment are the two most important factors in the integration process. The government wants to reduce the performance gap, create more internship possibilities and also create more diversity in companies with regards to employees. Besides education and employment, the combat of discrimination and the responsibility of raising the children are very important as well. More than 3 mi-
llion people living in the Netherlands do not have a Dutch background. When immigrants arrived in the Netherlands, they lived together in minorities of people with the same nationality. Nowadays, this has not changed a lot. As a result, immigrants keep their own habits, customs, norms and values and speak their own language most of the time. Because of this, they are not adapting well to the Dutch culture. The government sees this as a problem for the process of integration, because the immigrants do not contribute well to the Dutch society, but are creating their own societies. This applies to about 90 percent of the immigrants over the age of 65. Integration courses were not obligated when the first immigrants arrived in the Netherlands. Nowadays, after immigrants have lived in the Netherlands for two and a half years, they are obligated to take a ‘Dutch language’ and a ‘Knowledge of the Dutch society’ exam. To conclude it can be said that norms and values play a major role when one wants to become a Dutch citizen. An example of these Dutch norms and values is that in the Netherlands freedom of sexuality is important. However, in other countries this is a total taboo. Also, there is freedom of religion and opinion. Some people say that a real Dutch person is someone who has adjusted to the Dutch norms and values. But is this true?
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