The Annual Introduction Days (AID) started on 16th August 2008 and it lasted for 5 days.
This was great to get all kinds of useful information about my study and the city of Wageningen and, most of all, to make new friends and to have a lot of fun! And, unfortunately, to gain a sprained ankle.
I met my “mothers” (the mentors) and my “brothers” and “sisters” at the Administrative Centre (Costerweg 50). We formed the group 104, a very international group of 16 people coming from 13 different countries (the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Czech Republic, Greece, Lithuania, South Africa, Mozambique, India, Japan and Philippines).
We started by playing a game that helped us knowing each other. We had to throw an object to a person and say his or her name and country.
Then we had an open-air dutch lunch, followed by the official opening of the Annual Introduction Days, when the official song of AID 2008, untitled Rock this city, was played.
Afterwards, we explored Wageningen to get to know its facilities (post office, banks, best places to go shopping, etc). In addition, there were some activities planned for us in some parts of the city, such as a mimic game and a giant ball game.
We had dinner at the KSV Franciscus, one of the mensae that serves lunch and dinner. The food didn’t satisfy me, but it was a pleasant place.
Then, we went back to Costerweg 50, where we learned a few dutch songs. One of them was the hit song “Suzanne” (Susanna) from the VOF de Kunst (Art Company). Because my name is Susana, some people started to sing it to me.
I arrived at my room almost at midnight. Immediately after I had turned on my laptop, I found out my mom very worried because it was late and I wasn’t online (on the previous day I had told her several times I would arrive late, but she had completely forgot it) and she also couldn’t contact me by phone (my fault, the battery of my mobile phone had died because I had forgot to check it on the previous day). She had already called the Dutch police saying I was missing…that kind of things.
Before any activity, we had a dutch breakfast. We learned that a dutch breakfast usually includes bread with ham, jam, “kaas” (cheese), “pindakaas” (peanut butter) or “broodje hagelslag” (bread with sprinkles), this consists of sliced bread with butter and “hagelslag” (those chocolate or fruit flavors sprinkles usually found on cakes). “Ontbijtkoek” (lit. breakfast cake), which can also be part of the breakfast, is a Dutch spiced cake usually served with a thick layer of butter on top.
Our first activity was an aerobic class performed by all AID groups. Following that, we played some sports that were unknown for me. The fun for me ended at that moment. I slipped on the wet grass while I was running to catch a ball and I sprained my ankle. I had to spend the rest of the day seated, looking to the others having fun. I felt so jealous of them. The only thing I could do was to take pictures. But even that, I couldn’t do very well, because my camera was taking bad pictures (with some yellow and green shadows).
When we left, one of my “mothers” offered herself to take me on her bike, but the bicycle chain broke and the bike became useless. So, I had to go to Costerweg by foot. It was a veeery looong walk. I was walking very slow and I had to stop several times because of the pain on my ankle. Beside that, the weather had completely changed. It had been a sunny day and, suddenly, it was raining heavily. Everybody went home, had time to take a bath, to have some rest…and me, well, I was walking, or at least trying to walk. But I wasn’t completely unlucky, when I was felling desperate because I still had a long distance to walk and I was feeling too much pain, I saw Margreet, my “mother”, coming by bike (another one) and she gave me a ride to our destiny.
We had a delicious dinner prepared by some students. Afterwards, my other “mother”, Clara, gave me a ride to Asserpark. Finally, I could give some rest to my ankle, which was very swollen.
On Monday I had a nice day for my ankle, we spent almost all day seated.
Clara gave me a ride to Forum, where we spent almost all day. It was a different day because our AID group was split. Random groups between all the AID participants were formed.
The activities prepared for us were all about multi culture.
Afterwards, me and everybody who was engaging the MSc in Food Safety, Food Technology and in Food Quality Management went to Biotechnion building. Elements of the study association for Food Technology students, Nicolas Appert, were there waiting for us and they had organized some activities for us, such as to built the highest tower with spaghetti and marshmallows and to identify the ingredients of some biscuits by its taste.
After that I had to catch the train to go back to Utrecht to attend the final examination of the EILC. Therefore, I wasn’t present on the 4th day of the AID.
We spent the evening at W.S.R. Argo, a student sports association in Wageningen that provides activities that suit all levels of rowing. We had a BBQ, then we were introduced to rowing. Everyone who was able to swim could experience rowing on the “rivieren Rijn” (Rhine River). Unfortunately I wasn’t among the ones who could swim. But I had the opportunity to learn how to play djembe, a drum played with bare hands.
Later, we went to the students association W.S.V. Ceres, where there was a dance party.
And it was the end of the AID 2008, some of the best days I spent in the Netherlands.