Queen’s University & The Academics

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One of my fellow Queen’s students told me that apparently in Canada there was a system in place similar to the American Ivy League universities. Queen’s University belongs to that list. Queen’s University is an amazing university, also besides the great school spirit. It is not that big of a university, like University of Toronto, and so even throughout faculties there is a lot of sense of belonging. 

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Queen’s has a beautiful limestone campus (Kingston is also called the limestone city), many limestone buildings hosting many lecture and seminar rooms, Stauffer library (for many students their “longest relationship”), the ARC (a health and recreational centre with swimming pool, fitness centre, Tim Hortons, and some other small food places), and then all the residence halls for 1st year Queen’s students. Oh, and I forgot to mention the Harry Potter reading room in Douglas library!

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As I mentioned in my previous blog, I am taking some very interesting courses. I love my Canadian history course, which focuses on Aboriginal peoples’ history and French Canada. I also have a course on ethnicity and nationalism which is quite interesting, especially when taught in Canada, a country with supposedly two(/three, if you include the Aboriginal people in Canada – although it is patronizing to refer to them with a Western concept such as ‘nation’ – yes, we’re being very politically correct in Canada!) nations. Thirdly, I have a course on the Politics of Rights, analyzing whether judicial review and an entrenched bill of rights are valuable instruments in a polity (this actually inspired me for my Capstone!) – again, also very interested in the context of Canada, since Canada only got her bill of rights in 1982, and so it is still ‘fresh,’ and a lot of scholars write about it. Finally, I have a course on theories of identity politics (political theory – yikes!), which is very theoretical, and something I really had to get used to in the beginning. Now I have found however, that the course is really good, very well-structured, but I have also found that political theory is not my thing. But nonetheless, it is a good course, and I am learning a lot, and it adds to my interdisciplinary learning experience we have at LUC. Because this exchange agreement is with the faculty of Arts & Sciences (or by Queen’s students referred to as: ArtSci), it would have been very hard for me to take courses from the law faculty (here in Canada, law is a graduate degree, so, if one wants to pursuit law, one would first have to finish a random undergraduate degree, take a huge exam, and then would hopefully enrol into law school). I’ll look forward to taking some global justice courses again when I get home!

Like at LUC, many courses here are seminars, meaning that only 20 students can enrol for that class, which is then based upon discussion. However, there are also some lecture courses – mainly courses that are mandatory for the entire year. For instance, my history course is a lecture course, where we listen to a professor speak for 1,5 hours (oh, and the seminar courses are all 3 hours – and on Thursday I have 2 3-hour seminars back to back!), who we feel we sort of know, and then you meet him in the hallway, and he doesn’t even recognize you. At times like those, I am very happy I go to a relatively small university college, where people actually know you!

Time has gone by so fast, and I would love to stay so much longer in this beautiful country, at this amazing university, with these lovely people. However, I do look forward to walking around in the college building at the Lange Voorhout again, and being back in The Hague. I just don’t want to think about that just yet – I am having too much fun in Canada!

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First Impressions of Canada: The Land of Maple Syrup, Moose, Beavers and Indian Summer

I arrived in Canada on the 5th of August, waking up to 30 degrees Celsius, Canadian flags everywhere, a Canadian English accent (NOT to be mistaken by an American accent – seriously, Canadians don’t like you if you generalise Canada and the US), and very kind, polite people. Our family trip consisted of travelling from Toronto, via Kingston (hometown of Queen’s University), to Montreal, Quebec City, Tadoussac (whale watching!), and back to Montreal. From here on, it was time to say goodbye to the family, and for me to visit New York City.

I enjoyed my last days of the holidays, since my introduction (NEWTS week) week started on September 3rd. This was simply amazing – our Newts week was especially for exchange students, castle students (Queen’s owns a castle in England, where students can do their 1st year, and return to Queen’s afterwards), and transfer students. We did however, get the full Queen’s Frosh experience – we had our own cheers and yells, and had our own coveralls in which we experienced a real paint party, attended the tamming ceremony which made us “real” Queen’s students, at which we were welcomed by the Queen’s Band (Queen’s was established by the Scottish, being the oldest university in Canada, and thus the bagpipe and Scottish kilts are not so rare), learning the Oil Thigh (again, Scottish influence, being the Queen’s school song, and sung whenever the Queen’s Football team scores a touchdown), and just experiencing Queen’s amazing school spirit!

The next week however, really was the end of the holidays, and so classes started. The first 3 academic weeks at Queen’s are called “Open Enrolment,” which means that students can still switch their courses until the end of that period. And since I had not received all the courses I mostly preferred, this was quite a hassle to make right. In the end, I ended up with 4 courses: Introduction to themes in Canadian history (amazing course, focusing on the history of the Aboriginal people in Canada, and French Canada), the politics of ethnicity and nationalism (similar to the LUC course – I think – analyzing different theories of nationalism), the politics of rights (interesting course on the functions and (dis)advantages of having an entrenched bill of rights and judicial review), and theories of identity politics (a VERY theoretical course on political theory, and its relation to identity).

 

Even after classes have started, and the library on our beautiful limestone campus is cramped with people studying, school spirit is still very much present. Every 2 weeks at the football games, Queen’s students wear their tricolour (being the colour of Queen’s: blue, red and gold) outfits to cheer their team to the top, or all the events organized by the various clubs Queen’s supports, or even Halloween, where there’s an entire week of Halloween parties. Although I try to travel as much as possible during the weekends – Niagara Falls, Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, Algonquin Park, Frontenac Provincial Park – I also try to spend as much time as possible with all the exchange students in Kingston and at Queen’s, since it’s simply amazing!

For Queen’s school spirit, see the following movie on Youtube:

For an impression of Newts Week, see the following movie on Vimeo:

This was written by Hilde

First week of adventure

A dream. That’s what it looks like. Having been in Taiwan for over two months now, I can still hardly believe that I am here. I still remember the day I departed:

I took the evening flight straight to Taipei Taoyuan International Airport. After having checked in my baggage (22, 9 KG … 23 KG is allowed) I went to drink some coffee with my parents and little brother. It was hard to say goodbye, but with the knowledge of 5 months of fun in a foreign country, I said goodbye to them and went to the customs. Now all by myself, I went to find my boarding gate. After having boarded the plane, it took approximately 11 hours to arrive in Taipei.

 

Airport Pick-Up Service

At the arrival hall in Taoyuan Airport it was not difficult to find NTU students that formed the Airport pick-up service. One of the students helped me to buy a Taiwanese sim card, which was much appreciated. After an hour of waiting the bus departed to my dorm, the Prince House ShuiYuan dorms (the newest NTU dormitory). Upon arrival, I needed to register for my room; thankfully there were other NTU students who were more than willing to help me with all the forms. After signing all the official documents, I bought a mattress, pillow etc. at the reception and went up to the 4th floor. My first day in Taipei was officially over.

 

ShuiYuan Dormitory

The next day, we had an orientation day. I was placed in the last group, group 20. It was very hot: that’s what I remember the most. NTU organized a campus tour for foreign students and I could see that everyone was sweating. But it was very successful as we had the opportunity to meet other students.

 

Front Gate NTU

 

Orientation Day International Students NTU

The next few days were reserved to finish all the official things. Registration for NTU needed to be done, rent needed to be paid… Unfortunately, I cannot say that it all went smooth. Being a college level agreement exchange student, I had to register differently than all the other (university wide agreement) exchange students.

However, I eventually accomplished it and officially became registered as a NTU student :)!

           

Student Card

This was written by Marianne

The Boys from the Bush are Back in Town

Three months ago, I first set foot on Australian soil. Since then, so many wonderful things have happened that I can hardly remember life in The Hague. And honestly, once you had a taste of the “Melbourne experience” you’d rather not think about anything else except what your next day in southern Australia is going to be like.

Let me propose to you a few activities you can undertake on such a day:

  • You might want to start off by exploring Melbourne’s Central Business District (CBD) near Yarra river. Make sure you don’t spend too much time in the laneways where you will see so many great coffee places that you might just end up spending your dollars on nothing else (yes, Melbourne is incredibly expensive…).
  • Make sure to check out Fitzroy, Brunswick and Carlton, three trendy neighbourhoods just a ten-minute bike ride from CBD. You will find the most stylish/alternative Melburnians in Fitzroy, having lunch at the Veggie bar (most amazing pizza!), strolling down the Rose Street Artist Market, spending their evenings in the Cider House or dancing to salsa gigs in random fashionable cafes. For some downright alternative folks, ride on to Brunswick, where you might find me watching a Footy (aka Australian Rules Football, better than soccer!) game at The Sporting Club. Then grab some Lebanese food (24/7) on Sydney Road. You will find that most Italian migrants have settled in Carlton, opening up dozens of chocolate venues that are all too good to be true. Once you’re all filled up, pay a visit to the Queen Victoria Market for a wine tasting in the moonlight.
  • By then you’ve probably figured out Melbourne is all about the food. This is the time to pay some more attention to sports. Melburnians are the craziest sports people you’ll ever meet. Footy is more than huge here, as are horse racing (the Melbourne Cup day is a public holiday) and cricket. Discount tickets available for students!
  • Visit one of the major art galleries for a different taste of culture. The NGV displays beautiful works of contemporary Indigenous art (I especially admire the work of Tjuruparu Watson, http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/ngvschools/TraditionAndTransformation/artists/Tjuruparu-Watson/
  •  If the city is not big enough for you (or you just want a weekend out of town), there are plenty of great escapes in Victoria. Rent a car with some friends to drive the Great Ocean Road where you can enjoy the spectacular coastal scenery, see whales and kangaroos (the first one is exiting, but the next 200 are rather similar…), camp on a stormy beachside and yell along to some Australian bush music while driving through a rainforest, check out:

 

Speaking from experience, all the above ventures are highly recommended!

This was written by Wendy

Taiwan Chronicles

My name is Jules van der Sneppen, third-year student at LUC The Hague, with a major in World Politics and a minor in Chinese Language. Currently, I am to be found in Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, where I am an exchange-student at National Taiwan University. My main reasons for going to Taiwan on exchange are wanting to improve my Chinese, a general interest in the cultural and political developments of the Asia-Pacific region and wanting to live in a completely different culture for a longer period. Oh, I forgot to mention my insatiable craving for Taiwanese and Chinese food.

 

I’ve already been in Taipei for two months now, and was actually supposed to write this blog a lot earlier. Nonetheless, here it is! My first months here have been truly amazing, and my choice for Taiwan has so far proven to be a good one. The people are kind, the city has everything you need but has a relatively laidback vibe to it (consider the fact that it has 8 million inhabitants!) and the nature on the island is stunning. The weather in Taipei for the first week was excruciatingly hot,  and the air-conditioning in my spacious apartment was working over hours. After that jetlag-dominated week, the weather of Taiwan has been great(except for the occasional rainy days).

The courses I am taking here are generally quite interesting. Especially Chinese Intellectual History, in which we study Chinese philosophy from Confucius to Zen Buddhism to Mao Zedong, has been truly enlightening. The instructor is really an amazing person, and I must admit he reminds me of Master Yoda (Star Wars fans, I know you’re reading). For three hours long every Tuesday, he gives an amazing lecture for the 10 attending students, during which he can cite page-longs passages of Confucius by heart, but also intellectually  challenges the students to approach the concerned philosophers critically. The best part is that the instructor also has an impressive knowledge of Western philosophers, and manages to put Chinese philosophy in a thought-provoking and modern global context.

Travelling has also been a great experience, given the natural beauty of Taiwan. It is very nice  being able to sometimes get away from the hurry and chaos of the city, and be in the middle of nowhere within a one hour bus ride from Taipei. Ranging from relaxed beaches in the south to amazing jungles, Taiwan is a place where you really want to take your time to travel and explore. Absolute highlight so far has been a hike through the middle of the jungle, with the amazing climax of being able to swim in natural pools between beautiful waterfalls at the end of the trail. Next week, I will be doing a 5 day cycling trip on the east coast of Taiwan, the region where Taiwan apparently got its nickname Formosa, or Island of Beauty, from.

For now, that will be all. You can expect another blog post in about a month from now!

Cheers,
Jules

P.S.: For those wondering: yes, Taiwanese nightlife has been superb, but given that this website is a public space, I’d better not share that part of my adventures with you here.

The Long Road to Michigan

KISS. One of the first and most important rules on writing a good blog. It means either Keep it short & simple or Keep it simple, stupid. Although I like to KISS, I am not good at it – we’re still talking about the writing. I really like to keep writing about all the different impressions I get, all the interesting people I meet and to share all my views. This is also very common in our present-day my-opinion-counts society. Every one wants to share his or her views via blogs, twitter, facebook, etc. Often, no one is interested in your view, but it just feels good to write an opiniated story. So, it will be my task to update all the LUC-students – who have, of course, lots of time left to read my blogs – and family – hey Mum – on my experiences at the University of Michigan. The good thing is though, that I was asked to write these blogs, so it really feels like people are interested.

My name is Martijn Otten, 18 years old. I just finished my second year at LUC, in which I only retook DAI because I liked it that much. One might know me as this very young, sometimes funny – I have my moments – always smiling, active but chaotic student, who is very active in politics. I am doing a major in World Politics and my minor in Michigan will be on Political Philosophy. In the LUC-community I was the chair of ‘Beyond Arts’ during last year and although it didn’t went as well as I hoped, I was very glad I could produce LUC’s first play, The Mousetrap, and organize LUC’s contribution to the Arts-section of the Inter-UC tournament. Outside of LUC, I was the political secretary of a political youth organization in The Hague and Leiden, I play in the national chess competition and I played in LUC’s football-team as a goalie.

On August 22th, I will fly to Detroit, Michigan, to start this exciting journey, but this whole process started a year ago. I wasn’t planning on going on a semester abroad, but a friend of me convinced me that it was an opportunity I should take. I already knew that I wanted to do a minor in Political Philosophy and since LUC only offered introduction courses, I thought it would be nice to take more courses abroad. I started to look into the courses that were offered at universities in Europe that had a connection with Leiden University. However, at universities like Manchester or Bologna, I couldn’t find any suitable courses. Then, Cissie suddenly sent me an e-mail saying that I had to look to the courses at University of Michigan and University of British Columbia (Vancouver). Both universities offered many courses in political theory – Americans use this term, where British people use the term political philosophy. Michigan had one advantage, I could study American politics too. As my uncle, who teaches at Northwestern University, Chicago, explained: “Canadian politics is utterly boring, even Canadians think so.”

After I chose Michigan, I made a very risky decision. One can always give three different universities when applying for an exchange, but I only wrote down one, University of Michigan (UMich). You need to hand in your application in November and in December I got the letter that I was accepted by Leiden University. Then, I needed to send all my information – personal information, motivation, financial statement, etc. – and then they take a few months to decide whether they are letting you in. Then, there are still several things to arrange: you need to book a flight, to arrange a visum, to get housing, to get a scholarship, to take a TOEFL-exam, to leave your room at LUC, to choose your courses at UMich, to fill in thousands of silly forms and to reply to thousands of e-mails. A hell of a job.

Picking courses is also quite a challenge. After a careful selection I picked 5 courses – which might be a bit too much, but I didn’t know how many courses I would need – but when I applied for them, only one course was granted: American Political Thought. For a second course, The Politics of Civil Liberties and Civil Rights, I needed to be a Junior-student (3rd year) which I am, so I needed to send e-mails to make sure that I could get that course. A third course, Democratic Theory, required ‘Instructor’s permission’. So, after sending an e-mail to the instructor, I was put on the wait list, but she promised me: “It is likely that students will drop the class during the first two weeks.” I still wait for ‘Department’s permission’ for my fourth course, The Morality of Capitalism, and I am on the wait list for my fifth one, Persuasive Politics: Voters, Campaigns and Communication Strategies.

As you can see, I did not manage to keep it short & simple, since going on exchange isn’t short and simple to arrange. It starts as a nice opportunity and ends as a big organizational challenge. When I was moving out of my room, I felt that it had been very stupid of me to leave everything that was familiar and start to live and study abroad for the first time in my life. But every day it comes nearer, I get more excited. This was the path I needed to take, leaving everything that I am used to do and starting with something new and unclear. I wanted to show you that one must not underestimate what needs to be done in order to go on an exchange. In six months, I hope that I can tell you that is was worth the trouble.

Second Spring Down Under

Hi there!
My name is Wendy van der Horst. I am a third-year student, majoring in Human Interaction. I have currently completed courses in the History track, Religion track and Diversity and Integration track; I also followed a Development track at the ISS last year on ‘Global Poverty, Local Solutions’. In this blog I’ll keep you updated about my exchange at the University of Melbourne in Australia, where I’ll (hopefully) be completing a minor in Gender Studies.

During the past two years at LUC, I noticed Gender Studies ties in with many of the subjects I have been studying and I am eager to learn about it in more depth than is currently possible at LUC. I applied rather late for an exchange programme; Melbourne was one of the few universities left providing courses in Gender Studies.

This was not at all a problem for me: having travelled around Australia before, I’ve fallen in love with the country and its relaxed atmosphere. I am genuinely excited to experience a new study environment and very grateful for having been given such an amazing opportunity!

Going to Korea!


I’m Lieke Bos, in September 2012 a third year student of LUC. My major is Global Justice and I’m on exchange at Seoul National University in Seoul, South Korea. I’m currently nineteen years old and for all my life I’ve lived in The Netherlands, I’m also 100% Dutch. However I have been to several countries around the world and learnt to appreciate different cultures. As Asia is again totally different from what I have experienced until now, it seemed like a good idea for me to go there. As more and more people are going to China and Japan, I thought South Korea might be more fun. Also the really interesting culture (the separation of North- and South Korea for example) it has, and the rapidly growing economy made it very interesting for me to apply there. Another very important aspect is that South Korea’s universities are among the best of the world.

The preparations I have done until now is really applying there, which means filling in the documents yourself, but also asking people for recommendations. I booked my flight already to and from South Korea, which was a little difficult as I wanted a return flight that is still changeable for not too much money. I have applied for accommodation in Seoul. My university has a big campus a little outside the city where you can live with several people in a “house”, or you could find something yourself. I have chosen for the campus, and will hear in a few weeks time whether I can go there. I have also been busy applying for my visa and the same goes for getting my vaccinations, as you need them if you go to South Korea (and many other Asian countries) for more than three months.   
 
 

Maple Syrup, Indian Summer & Queen’s University

My name is Hilde Woker, and I’m in LUC’s Class of 2013. I’m planning to major in Global Justice, and hopefully a minor in World Politics. Ever since I started looking for universities for my bachelor degree, I’ve wanted to go abroad for a semester. My first thoughts were Rome (then I found out that that will never happen as I don’t understand a single world of Italian), after which I started investigating England or Scotland. In the beginning of our second year, we were asked whether we wanted to go on exchange through a university wide agreement, and I did consider Canada for a moment, but chose not to apply. I then started looking into a university in Scotland.

However, when having a drink with some other girls who were going to Canada, I simply realized that I had to go to Canada. I was telling them what best airlines to use, and how amazing Canada was (having been there twice, and even having a Canadian Passport). So, I applied for the second round for university wide agreements, and was accepted to my first choice, Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario! As I said, I’ve been to Canada twice, and have some family friends living there, all of which in Ontario and Quebec. Because my mum was born in Canada, I officially have Canadian citizenship, and once I decided I was going to Queen’s, I applied for a Canadian passport.

I now have a beautiful navy blue Canadian passport to take with me on my trip. Once I got my official letter of acceptance, there were many things to deal with: scholarships (I only became aware of one scholarship 2 weeks in advance of the deadline), subletting my room, course registrations, transferring a residence deposit in Canadian Dollars (not as easy as simply transferring money to a Dutch bank account!), etc. I am now awaiting the result of the scholarships and my residence application, so hopefully that all works out!

Alongside all this administrative business, I still have a holiday to plan, as I’ll be travelling together with my family through Quebec with an RV before they’ll fly back to Holland and I start my Canadian study experience. In the following weeks I hope to focus on the fun stuff, such as planning the camping trip, but also focusing on Canada itself, instead of dealing with administrative issues in Holland.

Now off for some travel planning!

The Island with Delicious Food, Taipei 101 and Scary Typhoons!

On May 26, 1992 a little girl was born in Beijing, China. Not even 1-year-old, that little baby girl came to the Netherlands and spent the next 18 years of her life in Almere.  In September 2010 she started her student life at LUC the Hague. Two years later, she is writing this first blog entry about her exchange experience that will start in less than two months.

Hi, my name is Marianne Ng and at the beginning of this semester I will start my third and last year at LUC the Hague. I am majoring in World Politics,  minoring in Chinese  and I have chosen to go abroad because I have always been interested in travelling, meeting new people and Eating ^^.

And now I will welcome you to my blog where I will be keeping updates about my life as a student at the National Taiwan University in Taipei, Taiwan.

If you would like,  Subscribe, and I will be spamming you about my fun moments, hardships and eating habits while living on this beautiful island in the eastern part of Asia. 🙂

Researching the “best” agricultural land in the world

At 6:30 I woke up in a tent on a farmers camping in the Hoeksche Waard. The average Dutchman may not know this area South of Rotterdam, but according to its inhabitants it harbours the best agricultural soil in the world. I doubt it, but the farmers there are definitively well off. Yields are huge, all tractors are steered by GPS-signals, the newest crop breeds are used and the area is subject of a lot of research at the University of Wageningen. That week, 30 fellow students and I were there to study the effectiveness of flowers in field-margins to suppress pests in agricultural fields.

The excursion was part of the course Agro-Biodiversity. The first three weeks of that course, we had spend the mornings in classrooms, listing to lectures about “functional biodiversity”, “inter-cropping” and statistical significance. The afternoons we had spend on the university’s experimental farm to practice setting out seed-predation experiments and determining insects.

Waking up at the camping in the Hoeksche Waard

After waking up that morning, my three group-mates and I cycled to our research farm “Scheele”. Cycling through the fields in the morning sun, I wondered how you could ever give a course such as Biodiversity and Society, without ever going into the field. Four of the five courses I followed in Wageningen, included excursions, which formed a vital part to the program. In this way you get to see theory in practise, and the best part is that the reports you write, are actually used by the people and farmers involved. Our report on the Hoeksche Waard concluded that farmers can enhance natural pest control by planting flowers in their field margins, thereby reducing the need of pesticides.

We woke up that early that morning in order to be ready with our field work by midday, but we didn’t manage, so we had to dig soil samples and determine worms while the sun was high and burning. The week was intensive, but definitely worth it. I had a great time with my fellow students, and I am sure that if you go to our farm Scheele next year, you’ll see the flowers flaring along the fields.

A fellow-student asks advice about the determination of plants

A fellow-student asks advice about the determination of plants

Written by Fabian

Discovering the S(e)oul of Asia!

Last month: Busan.
Two weeks ago: Jeju.
Last week: DMZ & North Korea
Last weekend: templestay in Incheon.

My time here is South Korea is absolutely hectic, most of the time I’m running around between super interesting lectures, such as ‘North and South Korean Unification’ or ‘Theories of Humanitarianism’, or im busy planning what my friends and I will be doing in the weekend.

Before I go on, let me tell you a little bit about where I am and what its like at this University. I’m on exchange in Seoul, the capital of the Republic of Korea – most commonly known as South Korea, at Yonsei University. The University is the second largest in South Korea and has about 36,000 students. The campus itself, is massive and gorgeous. It has old picturesque buildings, super high tech touch screen libraries and is located at the foot of a mountain. The classes are quite different from at LUC, for one, there are mostly Korean teachers – sometimes with such heavy accents, that you have no idea what the class is about. But the main difference is that there is barely any interaction between students and lecturers which really makes me miss the close community that we have created at LUC. On the otherhand, the fact that the University is so large, does allow there to be thousands of extra-curricular groups and provides the opportunities to have large University festivals.

My weekends here are never spent preparing for classes, and as you can see from the short overview of places I’ve recently been, I spend most of my time travelling and getting to see more of South Korea. Last week I went to the DMZ, the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. It was a truly impressive experience. Your faced with the last remainder of the cold war, and it makes you realize that your living in a country that is technically still at war with a country that is completely isolated from the rest of the world. Furthermore, being in the Joint Securty Area (JSA), and crossing the room into North Korean territory is an eery feeling – your one of the few people who is able to say they have technically been to North Korea. It is also really interesting that your standing in sole place that gives entry into North Korea from the South. Also, the visit was really useful because the relationship with the North and the DMZ it is constantly referred to in all of your classes. It makes you realise how much you also start to learn outside of the classroom while being on exchange.

This weekend, I went to a Buddhist temple which was about an hour and a half away from Seoul. There I spent time talking to Monks who explain a lot about Buddhism and Busshist traditions. It’s really interesting because you begin to recognize a lot of concepts, values and traditions that are still really present in common Korean culture.

The next couple of weekends Im going to be going to a Music festival and visiting one of the national parks in the West. – I cant wait to see how Korean people organize and enjoy music festivals!

As you can see, my time here is absolutely crazy, I spend every minute of the day doing something; whether it be for my classes or for discovering more of Seoul and South Korea and it’s extremely kind people or whether it be experiencing an array of different foods!

Speaking of new food, an exquisite Korean dish is moving octopus legs. Here is a short Youtube clip where you can see me trying it for the first (and last) time!:

It was quite the experience!

Written by Marline

After I Lost the Boardgame

I planned to have finished this blog by now, but when I asked my housemates about the development of Wageningen University, they lured me into playing a board game. It’s typical for my new life here. Since three months I’m doing the minor “Sustainable Food Consumption and Production” at Wageningen University and it has been great. Not only are the subjects exactly what I was looking for, it has given me a new look on life: much more relaxed.

I chose to go to Wageningen, because I wanted a new student experience besides LUC, but I had not expected it to be so different. I was lucky to get a room in an alternative housing community called Droevendaal, which is famous for its many vegetable gardens, chickens and parties. It consists of 33 barracks, scattered in forestry, with each 6 students. Being one of those students, I immediately became part of a lively group of friends, which facilitated my integration into the city and university. One of the things I like most, is that all my housemates are in different phases of their study, which gives me an idea of what it means to write a master thesis or apply for a PhD.

During the game just now, two of my housemates told me how the university has changed since the five to seven years they have been studying here. In 2000 the university was renamed from Agricultural University to Wageningen University. This change embodied more than just a name, as it symbolized a transformation in culture and status. Previously, it was known as a left-winged farmers university, with 400 Bachelor students entering each year. Nowadays, it is known as one of the best Life Science universities in the world, praised by our right-winged government for its ability to attract private funding. Last year over 1000 students started their Bachelor here.

Overall, the university has managed this growth quite well. There is a severe housing shortage, but student flats have been erected all-around and an American-like campus spreads out fast onto the previously cultivated farmland. Luckily however, you still have to take the bus from the nearest train station to the university and we are surrounded by farmland and nature-reservoir the Veluwe, which is a nice contrast to the busy Randstad. As holidays are minimal, the workload is considerably less. So I actually have time to work in the garden, walk in the surroundings and play a game now and then. It still takes some effort to give in to this, as I was used to the more demanding working pace at LUC, but every day I manage better and learn to enjoy the moment.

Not that I don’t study at all, so next time more on the academic side of my life here in Wageningen.

Written by Fabian

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