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Univers nightlife guide.23

Always running into someone

text Malini Witlox

you know

New city, new friends: how did an international student experience her student years in Tilburg? Univers asked German student Jule Bellingröhr, who took part in the Liberal Arts bachelor program from 2009 to 2012 and participated in the university’s Outreaching program.


ancing at Studio, drinking beers at t Buitenbeentje and Kandinsky, and amazing parties at Cul de Sac; when Jule Bellingröhr talks about her memories of Tilburg, her voice is imbued with laughter. “t Buitenbeentje was the philosophers’ favorite haunt, the beer was cheap and it wasn’t too busy. The nice thing about Tilburg is that it’s small, so you always run into someone you know.” Sure, it did have some drawbacks. The Dutch bread did not appeal to her; being German, it was something she could not get used to. “My statistics classes also bring up bad memories, I eventually completed the course after spending lots of time and energy on it.” Apart from these minor issues, Bellingröhr had a great time in Tilburg. Germany and the Netherlands often seem alike to the outsider in language and in culture. Yet, Bellingröhr says there are small, but noticeable differences. “First of all the variety of desserts, I wasn’t familiar with them but really grew to love them. Dutch students were also more focused compared to their German counterparts, who study for seven or eight years and often don’t know what they want to do next. Germany is also characterized by a culture of bureaucracy, while the Dutch lecturers were more accessible and often know the student personally. I get this personal attention in my current Master, Peace and Conflict Studies, in Marburg, but this is a small-scale program.”

Quite Picky At first, Bellingröhr lived in a house with Dutch students in the Tilburg city center. Before she found it, she went to be interviewed at ten student houses. “I was quite picky, I wanted to live somewhere nice. Some houses didn’t accept international students. My roommates were great though, I’ve met a lot of Dutch people through them. We went to Cinecitta cinema and the May market together. I would go shopping at the market with friends

on Saturday and then cook and eat for hours. They helped me with my Dutch language classes, for example the times when I had to order a pizza on the phone in Dutch. We also partied a lot, our Mexican-themed party is still the stuff of legends. Not many people knew each other, but the atmosphere was fantastic.” Bellingröhr went abroad for some time during her studies. She found a room in another house after returning. “It was much smaller, just girls. Two came from Curaçao; they taught me Papiamento and were good Spanish speakers as well. It was a quieter place to live, which was just as well as I had to focus on my thesis.”

Our Mexican-themed party is still the stuff of legends Off-campus Choosing her program here was easy. Bellingröhr wanted to study something to do with social issues in English. “In Germany, English courses focused exclusively on economics or on teaching English. I looked at various universities outside Germany, but the presentation in Tilburg was great and you could live offcampus. I always felt drawn to the Netherlands as well, having been on holiday there as a child. I had a great time in Tilburg, lived in two very different student houses and met a lot of inspiring people from different programs. I still see some of them, we live across Europe but meet up from time to time in London or in Amsterdam.

Univers 18 augustus 2014

Always running into someone you know  
Always running into someone you know  

Univers Magazine, 18 augustus 2014. Uitgeverij: Tilburg University. Auteur: Malini Witlox