Photo Bennett Dubrow

Internationals about Utrecht (2): Bennett

Body: 

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'.  

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Name: Bennett Dubrow
Age: 21
Studying: Economics
From: Texas, United States
First studied: at the University of Oklahoma
Lives: At the International Campus

‘Cycling connects you to the city’
“I love riding my bike. Where I’m from, you rarely see them, even though it’s the perfect way to get somewhere fast. Plus, it’s better for the environment, people become fit, and last but not least, you feel connected to the city. You see more, you hear more, you’re not stuck in a metal box. A car is more like its own world. By bike, you participate in Utrecht. When I’m riding my bike, I really feel like a local – even if it was terrifying at first.
“Before I came here, I already knew Utrecht was famous for its beautiful canals. But I didn’t know they brought nature into the city. Water, ducks. It’s a change of pace from all the activity; when I look at the canals, I feel relaxed. I didn’t know they played such a beautiful role in the city.”

‘Risking my life’
“I have to admit: the cycling is also a downside when you haven’t ridden a bike in ages. Or, like some foreign students, when you simply never learned, but are still going to try. At first, it’s truly dangerous. Everyone races past each other in a dazzling pace, close to each other, and everyone’s so self-assured on their bikes. I am too, now, but it definitely took time. And yeah:  I’ve fallen a few times as well. That makes you feel like such a tourist.
“Another disadvantage is that living on campus means you don’t really experience much of student life. That’s a shame sometimes. Many people think that everyone on campus is friends with each other, because it looks so cosy and you live close together. But even there, it’s not easy to make friends. You have to make an effort.”

When my family visits…
“The Wilhelmina park is one of my favourite spots. It’s close to where I live, it’s so relaxed to sit there and watch the birds. In the United States, there are parks, but you really have to hop in the car to get there. Here, I can just walk to the park. And I think I’d let my friends and family cycle through the city. Let them experience what it’s like to be a Utrechter, and to be a part of the city life. It’s an amazing experience.”

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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