You have already noticed that it isn’t easy being a student. Whether you just moved thousands of kilometers or are still going back and forth from your parents’ place, every situation has its own challenges which are undeniably a pain to face. When I moved here some time ago, I was faced not only with having to get used to living alone, but also getting used to all the terms used in daily student life. Going against the ‘I suffered so you suffer too’ culture, I would like to give you a few terms that may be useful to have in your arsenal. Also, that’s not all, I will also be including some helpful tips to get through your 1 exam week after partying for 7-8 weeks straight. Let’s all take a moment to be honest with each other and admit that we do this, we’re students, it is normal, just don’t tell our parents.
So, let’s start off with the useful terms!
First up is ‘adten’, this is a term you will hear very often at parties and at events called cantus where you will hear ‘ad vundum’. It means ‘to empty your glass in one go’. This is your signal to show that you mastered the art of the shot, any amount of volume can and will go down in one breath. Show everyone what years of chronic liver damage really looks like!
Up next is of course ‘cantus’ or ‘biercantus’. This is something that as soon as you read it, you should sign up and prepare yourself for an amazing night with everyone singing beautiful classic music by artists ranging from Beyonce to Billy Joel (feel free to guess my favorites). However, it’s not only a singalong with a ton of beer, but the Dutch student culture has also transformed this into a whole show, with mini events that involve the most hilarious of challenges. Just do your best to ask the rules of the game/night so you aren’t the one doing the challenges.
Next is what will 100% happen the day after a cantus and that is being ‘brak’. Maybe you are wondering “hmm, sounds like broken”, well you would not be wrong. ‘Brak’ is your status the morning after a night full of drinking and partying, but you can still function well. Truly it means to be ‘hungover’, but still able to be social. To be hungover is to have a ‘kater’, a result of being dehydrated, this can be solved with a lot of fluids. ‘Brak’ captured the essence which is that broken feeling you have after such a night, still having some alcohol on your breath and everyone around you asking, “are you okay?”. This is one of my favorite words to use as it encompasses in the nicest way the emotion that is “please, only mild requests today”. Feel free to use this after a night out and enjoy the benefits it brings regarding peace and quiet.
Lastly is a small list of general words/abbreviations which are good to know. “UB” is short for ‘universitaire bibliotheek’, so, uni library. ‘Tukken’ or ‘dutten’ is to nap, so you tell people ‘ik ga even dutten’ or ‘ik ga een dutje doen’. This translates to ‘I am going to take a nap’. Also, a good one to know is when something is very ‘zuur’ or ‘naar’, this translates roughly to something being ‘unpleasant’. The final one which you may hear is ‘sjaars’, this means ‘first year’ in English commonly called ‘firsty’.
The words above are just a few of the many you may use in your daily life, probably all of them on Friday after going out all night Thursday or after one of MSV Pulse’s famous biercantussen. However, this article is not to only help you with the Dutch language, but also the student life. I reached out a few of my closest friends and some random people on the train who are also students and asked them what advice they could offer to the sjaars of 2021. This was the result.
Party as much as you can in year 1 through 3, cuz after that it is waking up at 6:15 for the rest of your life. – FP. 5th year
Almost as if complimenting FP.
Year 1 is for making mistakes, there is never gonna be another time with so little responsibilities so don’t be afraid to see what works and what doesn’t. Also: the fries at Gouverneur are the best investment in town. – RC. MD Since 24th sept 2021
This is one I often say to people myself and realize where I got it from.
It’s not a competition. It’s okay to say “I don’t know” and learn new things. You’re all in the same boat and no matter how much better other people seem to be doing, they have all doubted themselves at some point. Make mistakes and learn from them, because that is a perfectly fine reason to make mistakes! – LS. Soon to be MD (Dec-2021)
LS also adds; I have spent almost six years believing that everybody would be a better doctor than me before realising that literaly every medical person I know deals with similar thoughts.
LS would like to add as well; Also I second this (fries at Gouverneur)! And get your burrito at babs with extra nachos!
A simple yet very strong piece of advice comes from this wonderful person.
Find a study group for accountability and motivation. – JS. 4th year
We also of course have the brutally honest one that just had a 14 hour day whom says
Sint Pietersberg has some pretty high rocky cliffs to accidentally fall off… Ohh also, i don’t know if anyone said it but it’s okay to fail something, that doesn’t make you any less of a future doctor. It’s better to learn from your mistakes now so you become the best version you can be– CvW. 5th year
I personally love to go for walks at St. Pieter and it is beautiful, so pick a nice day to go for a walk AND watch your step.
Personally, if I could add anything to the already good advice given above would be to;
Put yourself out there and don’t be afraid of making everyone a friend. It is fine if some people end up being less nice than you expected and you don’t become the best of friends with them. However, for those who you do find that fulfil your expectations and are there for you. They become your family, who are there to encourage you through thick and thin. – SS. 5th year
To end this piece, I would like to wish you the BEST of year, the BEST of friends and the BEST of wishes. We started last year with a piece about how COVID will change the way we face university and student life. Now is the time to reclaim some of that time and double down on experiences. See you at a Pulse cantus or even sooner at the Pulse GALA!
PS. Congratulations to my two family members RC and LS and best of luck with your solicitations. Don’t forget how awesome you are. Also, congratulations to all other graduates of 2021, please feel free to drop some wisdom in the comments.