The ESN Utrecht Blog is there to keep you up to date about all the upcoming events within ESN, festivities in Utrecht, and everything you should know to live as a true Dutchie in Utrecht. From where to buy your first bike to how to date a Dutchie, you will read it all in our articles. The writers of the blog consist of 5 talented members of the Journalism Committee of ESN Utrecht who post around one article a week, but also give the floor to enthusiastic guest writers once in a while. We will make sure you won't miss out on any great event or piece of information to make the best of your exchange in Utrecht!

Do you love writing and would you love to share your experiences in Utrecht as a guest writer? Don't hesitate to send an email to pr@esn-utrecht.nl and maybe you'll see your article appear on our blog soon!

Learning a new language from scratch as an adult is not always easy. For some, learning Dutch may be quite difficult given that some of the sounds aren’t common in other languages. However, luckily, there are several ways in which you can learn this new language during your stay in Utrecht! 

Before you leave to go on exchange, you read all of the articles, and you talk to those around you who have been on exchange themselves. Everyone says it’s the greatest time of your life, and there is nothing to say that it won’t be, but this can also create an immense amount of pressure.

Have you heard about or perhaps already tried the typical winter dish Boerenkool but you have no idea on how to cook it at home? ESN has the secret recipe to cook the old-Dutch Boerenkool that will get you through the cold winter months! The other good news? It’s not expensive at all!

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As an international student you’ve probably already seen a lot of different sides of Utrecht (or you’re going to). And as a local, I have to say, there are some pretty fun activities in this beautiful and vibrant city. That includes concerts, playing pool, bowling, escape rooms – and not to forget all of the amazing restaurants this town has to offer. But what about museums?

My father visited me last week, so I wanted to do something that was special to Utrecht. I haven’t had a chance to climb the Dom Tower, so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to do it.
 
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Here is the theme of Dutch art again, but this time painters vs. movies. There are several artists or works of art that became an inspiration for a script… and there were a lot of them. I will give three proposals, which may also convince those not particularly interested in this topic.

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Did you ever ask yourself why the traffic light near Neude looks like a bunny? Well, I asked one of my fellow Dutch students and the answer I’ve got was: “It’s not just any bunny, it’s Nijntje!”. So who or what is Nijntje?

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Just like with every other country, the idea that internationals have about the Netherlands is often based or at least influenced by a lot of stereotypes. Some are cruel, some funny and some are just complete nonsense. But quite a lot of them are (kind of) true and they can be explained.

"Time’s a bitch and your days abroad are numbered, so it’s time for some reminiscing!"

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When I arrived in Utrecht, I must say that I was very lucky with my housing situation. I was able to nail a "reserved accommodation" room from SSH, which is part of a limited amount of furnished rooms that the University books for their international students. I booked it in April, to start my studies in September. And it was one of the last ones.

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A lot of the exchange students you will meet, will do kind of the same thing. If you want to stand out, here are some tips!

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Spending a semester abroad is one of the best things you can do in your life. You’ll see and do a lot of new, fun things and you’ll make friends from all over the world. The ‘abroad experience’ is different in every country and in every city. Nonetheless, there are always a few very recognizable types of international students you come across with. Have you met one of them already?

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It is almost that time of the year again: the time to dress up as anything and go out on the street to celebrate! It is almost Carnaval! This weekend the streets will turn multi-colored and you won’t recognize anyone you might have known. That is… if you are in the south of the Netherlands.

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You might pass or cross the Oude Gracht every day and you may love it for its little terraces and restaurants, but you might not know that much about the Oude Gracht. Like the Dom Tower, it is just part of the image of Utrecht: the Oude Gracht is supposed to be there, it was always there and you can’t think of it in any different way. 

A seemingly simple question is a bit difficult to answer. And this difficulty comes from its simplicity. Dutch cuisine is limited to a few recipes from the time when farmers had a limited number of ingredients at their disposal. When it comes to the ‘dinner-like’ dishes, the very first thing that comes to my mind is stamppot.

An exchange semester or year in another country is always described as “the best period of your life”, a period which you will never get back and that you will forever remember, but it’s important not to forget that even while on exchange, life is still the same; it has its ups and down, plus a rollercoaster of emotions that only people who’ve moved to another country to study can understand.

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Oh how much do I love the tiny city centre of our Utrecht, always busy as a bee. Students on bikes working one’s way through the shopping crowd, flower sellers barking their best prices and the gypsy street musicians providing the streets with music. Still, sometimes you crave for a quick get-away to catch some breath. Lucky enough, Utrecht has some hidden gems left for you!
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I truly think that the Netherlands is a nice country to live in. The friendly people, the beautiful countryside, the charming houses in Dutch cities… When it comes to the weather though, things get a bit more complicated. It seems as if we would get 50 shades of grey – in terms of weather! Although it is fair to say that the Dutch weather topic can get quite dramatic!

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While studying abroad, among the other priceless possibilities that lie before you, the
chance to make lifelong friends from around the world is one of the sweetest. Afraid to end up all alone and wondering how you get those friends? Fortunately, many people are interested in new friends, just like you. So heads up, find them and show that you are one of them!

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As the Intro week is at its apex, it can be nice to remind to all of you who just arrived – and why not, also for you long time Utrechters or Utrechters-wannabe like who’s writing – why choosing this city as your destination was possibly the best life choice you could have asked.

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