House parties have always held a special place in my student heart. They offer a perfect balance between knowing exactly what to expect and not having the slightest idea what the rest of the evening may be like. One minute, you are singing along with ABBA in a crowded living room. The next, you find yourself in the neighbour’s garden with a burning hula hoop around your waist. And why that is, I have no idea, but house parties are also a breeding ground for conversations that linger in your memory.
When I was invited to a house party in a small mountain village in Bolzano, I didn’t hesitate for a second. Although there was disappointingly little dancing, I went home with newly acquired knowledge. I was treated to a lecture on zodiac signs and how they influence your personality by the campfire. Now, being a down-to-earth Dutchman, I may not be the best audience, but if you fire enough shots, some are bound to hit the target. One thing rang true: as a Cancer, I value my home and housemates.
House parties are also a breeding ground for conversations that linger in your memory
Each student house has its own particular atmosphere and seeing how that atmosphere changes with different housemates. When I had just arrived in Bolzano, I had just one housemate, who was rarely home. I spent a lot of time alone and discovered I really don’t like cooking just for myself. So, ‘suddenly’, I stopped cooking almost entirely.
The needs of my inner Cancer needs have since been satisfied, as I now live with international housemates in an awesome house in the city centre. I can finally practise my Italian every day and indulge in cooking. Coming home to a house after a long day to find things are not just as I left them that morning makes me happy.
The needs of my inner Cancer have since been satisfied
In my experience, you may well learn more from your housemates than from all Wageningen professors combined. In any case, you spend more time with them. I advise new students not to underestimate the value of a solid home base.
Oscar Delissen is a fourth-year Food Technology student. He is currently studying in Bolzano, Italy.