During the AID (annual introduction days), new students get to know each other, the university, and Wageningen town. This year’s winter AID takes place from 8 to 14 February. This introduction week will be adapted because of the Covid-19 pandemic, so that students can meet safely.
To achieve this, the winter AID will mainly be online, probably supplemented with activities undertaken in small ‘activity groups’. These are groups of about six students which can split into smaller subgroups to do activities. Currently about 80 people have signed up for the winter AID.
‘Oliebollen’ and Christmas baubles
Lisa Nguyen of the Student Service Centre: ‘Before the Christmas holidays, we asked international students who were staying in Wageningen what we could do for them. The idea of activity groups came out of that.’ Most of the activities for these Christmas activity groups were organized by student societies and study associations. Each activity group was given a bag full of packets containing the things they would need for the activities.
Nguyen: ‘Mercurius Study Association, for example, came up with two activities: sending Christmas cards to elderly people, and a film evening. So the bag contained a packet of Christmas cards, felt pens, and a bag of crisps and a drink for the film evening.’ Other associations organized things like ingredients for a meal to cook yourself; materials for decorating Christmas baubles; a pub quiz; walks around Wageningen; and Dutch oliebollen for New Year’s Eve.
The activity groups help against the isolation and loneliness of coronavirus timesMSc student of Plant Sciences Aarzoo Kohra
The Covid measures in place during the Christmas holidays allowed you to have two visitors and to meet one person outdoors. Nguyen: ‘So for outdoor activities, the activity groups divided into three subgroups of two people, and for indoor activities into two groups of three. And you could divide into different subgroups everyday. That way they all got the chance to meet several new people.’ A total of 180 students took part.
One of those students was Aarzoo Kohra (23), an MSc student of Plant Sciences. ‘I thought it was great to meet new people and to do activities together. It helps against the isolation and loneliness of coronavirus times. My favourite activity was writing New Year and Christmas cards for elderly people in Wageningen. Four members of the group had only recently arrived in Wageningen. It did me good to be able to share my knowledge of Wageningen with them. We started as a team but by the end we were a family. We still see each other, keeping to the Covid-19 guidelines of course.’
The winter AID programme is due to be published around 1 February.