Wondering how international students enjoy themselves here, so far away from home? Wonder no more: Estimator hereby presents you with IntEURnationals. Get to know fellow students from all around the globe. In this episode we interviewed two first-year Econometrics students: Christine from China and Vladyslav from Ukraine.
Can you introduce yourself?
Christine: My name is Xinyu, but people always call me Christine. I’m from Shanghai, an international city. I went to university for half a year and then I did an internship in a bank before coming here. In my free time, I mostly debate and box. I’m a member of the Erasmus Debating Society and I attend boxing classes every week. Many people asked me why I chose to do boxing. I just tell them I want to become a superwoman. I want to be strong both mentally and physically.
Vladyslav: I am Vladyslav, or Vlad, and I am from Ukraine. I am a first year Econometrics student and I live in the Erasmus International House. I like to play tennis and currently I’m also learning Dutch.
What is your first impression of the Netherlands and the Dutch people?
Christine: My first impression is very nice, because I participated in the PENGUIN Weekend and everybody was saying hello to strangers. It’s very enthusiastic. Also, everybody can speak English very well. So, there is no problem for me to communicate with Dutch people, but I started learning Dutch too.
Vladyslav: I’ve visited the Netherlands two years ago on vacation with my family, but I only went to Amsterdam then. I actually like Rotterdam better than Amsterdam, because there aren’t as many tourists. I think people in the Netherlands, in Western Europe actually, are one of the most open-minded people and they’re also friendly, so it is really easy to make friends. That’s what I like here.
What is your opinion on Dutch cuisine? What is the best and the worst food you had here so far?
Christine: Many of my Dutch classmates always eat sandwiches for breakfast, dinner and lunch. To begin with, I really appreciate different types of sandwiches. But after several tries I’m tired. I tried some Italian and Japanese food in Rotterdam and Amsterdam. I really liked it.
Vladyslav: I’ve noticed people here eat way more fast food than in Ukraine. That’s not a bad thing, though, because I like fast food. And stroopwafels! I did discover I don’t like liquorice.
I turned seventeen in September though! Hopefully I turn eighteen before the next FAECTOR Opening party.
Vladyslav, you were only sixteen when you started university this year, how come?
Vladyslav: In Ukraine you have eleven years of school and before that kindergarten. Usually, kids go to school when they’re late six or seven, but since I was quite tall my parents thought, why not just send him to school? So, I started quite early, when I was five. I turned seventeen in September though! Hopefully I turn eighteen before the next FAECTOR Opening party.
Can you cycle? If so, what do you think about bicycles in the Netherlands?
Christine: Yes, I just learned it. I knew that Dutch people always cycle and the transportation fee is a little bit expensive, so I learned it in China because I came here. Dutch people have very long legs, so I think they cycle very fast. The Netherlands has so many bicycle roads; it’s very great. More and more people tend to cycle instead of driving a car in China, because people have more environmental awareness now and they also want to exercise more.
Vladyslav: I didn’t cycle in Ukraine, so I’m not very good at it, but I think it’s really convenient; especially here in the Netherlands. You have bicycle lanes everywhere so it’s very safe. I still need to practice some more, but I like it!
Where did you hear about the university and Econometrics? What do your parents think of your decision to study here?
Christine: I knew that the Netherlands is the place of origin for Econometrics. Especially, Tinbergen is the father of Econometrics. I’m also interested in Philosophy, so I knew Erasmus. I know a lot of his books. I heard of the university and Rotterdam, because of Tinbergen and Erasmus. Because I’m interested in Mathematics and Economics, I chose Econometrics.
Vladyslav: I do think my parents are a little upset that I left, of course, but they did tell me that I had to decide what I want to do with my life in the future and I really wanted to study abroad. So when I decided I wanted to come to the Netherlands, to Rotterdam, they did support me.
I really like both Mathematics and Economics a lot and I didn’t have it a lot in school, but I did a research project in Economics on national level and won third place. I found it so interesting I decided to combine the two subjects.
People have more time to enjoy themselves and their family here.
What do you like the most here and what do you miss the most from home?
Christine: I like the lifestyle in the Netherlands. In Shanghai, it is very crowded and busy. When I was doing my internship in Shanghai, I had to get up very early and come home very late. I could barely enjoy myself. People have more time to enjoy themselves and their family here. I really like this. I realised that I can control my life and I have my own arrangements here. I miss the food from home, but I found some good restaurants in Chinatown here and I can also buy some materials to make myself at home.
Vladyslav: I really like that, now that I’m doing an international Bachelor, I meet students from so many different countries. We have people from South-America, South-Africa, Australia as well and I really enjoy that because everyone has a different culture and character. I do really miss my friends from home, but a lot of them are also studying abroad. We do still keep in touch and plan to meet soon.
Are you planning to stay in the Netherlands after your studies?
Christine: I plan to work in Europe after my graduation, but I’m not sure about the country. I used to want to go to UK, but there were several terrorist attacks. I’m scared.
Vladyslav: I am not sure yet. I might want to do my Master's degree in the United States, here or somewhere else.
If all countries were a family, what would the Netherlands be?
Christine: Mother or grandmother, because the Netherlands is an inclusive country. It embraces people from all over the world. It is very nice, and the pace is great for most people. Just like a grandmother, the Netherlands can comfort you, give you motivation and suggestions.