Photo: Jody

Internationals about Utrecht (1): Jody

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New international students have to find their way in Utrecht. But after a few months they cycle along with the mob. In this mini series international students tell how they managed to become an 'Utrechter'.  

Read in Dutch
Name: Jody Metcalfe
Age: 24
Studying: Earth surface and water
From: Cornwall, UK
First studied: at the University of East Anglia
Lives: on the Utrecht Science Park campus

‘When the weather’s nice, the city comes out’
“The nice thing about this city is that people find each other outdoors as soon as the sun comes out. Kitchen table on the street, chairs at the door, bottle of wine, chatting with the neighbours. Or hanging around in the park. Lovely. And you see all sorts of groups come together outdoors. If you’re new to Utrecht, it feels nice to be included in certain communities. For instance, I joined youth centre ACU as a volunteer. I’ve got so many lovely friends there now. They make the city feel like my home. “Moreover, people in Utrecht are truly interested in sustainability, and how to include it in their city life. Cycling, of course, is the ultimate example, and it’s so great to see so many electric bikes as well, much better than mopeds and scooters. But you see it in the UU as well, and the fact that it offers so many study programmes that focus on sustainability. It’s clear that the topic’s much more alive here than it is in England.”

‘We throw away far too much’
“There’s a lot of food waste here. Just look at the garbage cans in parks, or at the Central Station: people throw away so much. Another thing that makes me sad: the fact that they want to cut down trees in Amelisweerd, in order to expand the motorway. I’m so vehemently opposed to that. There aren’t that many spots of unspoilt nature like that in Utrecht to begin with. In fact: there’s quite a bit of green, but everything is so neatly landscaped. Where I grew up, nature is at least a little wild. And another thing I miss here: the sea. The canals are gorgeous, truly, even if I was a little scared at first that I’d fall in. but when I walk along the coast, and I hear the waves and the wind, that’s when I’m truly one with nature.”

When my family visits…
“It’s fantastic to cycle to the Lek river via Nieuwegein. Wind in your hair, you see all these meadows and waters on the way, it’s lovely. In the evenings, to recover, we’ll eat at Manneken Pis – chips with peanut sauce is my favourite. And I love showing ACU to my friends and family. It’s such a lively, cultural spot, with open-minded people. I think the atmosphere there is similar to the rest of the city: relaxed, young, and cheerful.”

In September 2019 DUB publishes the magazine StudentEnStad. With this magazine DUB celebrates fifty years of independent university journalism in Utrecht. The theme is the relationship between the Utrecht students, the city of Utrecht and the Utrechters. The magazine was published in Dutch. Here we present a collection of translated stories and features especially written for our site.
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