If a year ago someone would tell me I’d be starting university in The Netherlands AND during a global pandemic, I would have thought that was a crazy idea. Yet, here I am, in the beautiful city of Middelburg, between face masks and hand-sanitizing gel, starting a new chapter of my life at UCR.

Going away from home, to an unknown country with an unknown language (for now 🙂 ) and becoming independent (for the most part), it is never an easy job. But with corona measures all over our daily lives, like the 1.5 meters distancing, the no-parties regulations and some online classes, I think we can all agree it’s a bit tougher. Some students even quarantined to prevent any possible contagion (thank you!). Who doesn’t socialize and make friends going in and out of classrooms or at a party? However, the safety of students, professors, staff and all the citizens in Middelburg and The Netherlands comes first.

But let me spark some sunshine in this cold story. We are not at a regular university. This is University College Roosevelt. The community that this involves has somehow managed to make of this new chapter, which seemed even more difficult with the corona situation, a great beginning! Yes, we could not party like those famous ones in Elliott’s basement and we had to stay always with the same group of people, but RASA and all the students involved made the best job in Introweek. Despite the troubles faced and creatively overcome, RASA, parents, godparents, professors and staff – even Middelburg’s mayor – did amazing work making sure that we would feel welcomed and safe in UCR. We were able to make stronger friendships with our families (that’s the name of the group we always were with) and enjoyed some corona-proof activities like a lovely beach walk, a campus breakfast and a weird-but-funny-but-sometimes-nice Got Talent online.

Because of the UCR community, starting university and staying safe at the same time, has been way easier than expected. So I think I speak on behalf all first-years of the Fall Semester of 2020 when I say “Thank you for the amazing job and for making feel us so welcome on this new chapter of our lives!”