Friday, 22 August 2014

Arrival in a new home...

View from our temporary apartment
(was able to catch a stretch of good weather)
So, on Monday evening we finally arrived in our new home city - later than we had planned, thanks to the Deutsche Bahn which as usual did its best to present us with a variety of excuses why we had accumulated yet another hour of delay.

These first days have been quite busy and it is only today, with the rain pouring down since the early morning, that I manage to find some quiet time to write down some first impressions.
Ah, the rain, I guess I'll have to get used to it: with more than 200 rainy days per year in Amsterdam we decided that our strategy should be to be happy every time the sun is shining instead of complaining about the weather. Buying a rain-cape is on our list as well. The last days have been rather Irish, with fast changes between sun, clouds and rain...while today it's just rain and thunderstorm and I don't feel compelled at all to leave the apartment (not even to check out the cake store around the corner someone on Twitter recommended!).

On Tuesday I went to see my university for the first time (yes, I applied to VU without having ever been to the campus!), and got enrolled at the International Students' Office Arrival Days. Finalizing my enrollment, a short chat with a faculty advisor about choosing my classes and signing up for the ESN was all I could do there unfortunately: In the dutch system, a lot of official things (creating a bank account, mobile phone contracts, ...) require you to have a burgerservicenummer (BSN), which is obtained during the registration at the municipality (Gemeentelijke Basisadministratie Persoonsgegevens/GBA). This registration is only possible with a valid adress and a rental contract - since we haven't found an apartment yet, I'll have to sort out the bank account and some insurances myself, and couldn't profit from having all the companies and the municipality officer there at the Arrival Days. But the important thing is: I'm enrolled and now officially a student again!

Wednesday passed quickly as well: Introduction day at the university, with several welcome presentations by university faculty and alumni, a campus tour (of course) and a short dutch language class. Among the international students, Brazilians, Germans and Italians seem to present the majority, but that might be just my personal impression. I was able to find several of my classmates for the MSc CS, from what I was told we will be about 80 students all in all, distributed over several specialization topics. And I was told that (although I'll only believe this once I see it myself) there will be around 40% girls in the Computer Science Master, ha!

Iamsterdam logo in front of the Rijksmuseum

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