Jesler in Freiburg

Hello everyone and herzlich willkommen to the documentation of my year-long Germany-adventure. I’m Jesler van Houdt, 20 years old, UCM, and currently experiencing all the ups-and-downs of doing a Double Degree in Freiburg. I am passionate about sustainability/environmentalism and all the fields they are intertwined with, as well as writing. Join me on this adventure to find out all peculiarities and ingeniousnesses of our neighbours to the East (or, with regards to Freiburg, to the South). 

Everything is ok

Everything is ok

The first deadlines have come and gone. The first final examinations are silently knocking on my door, whispering, in the true UCM spirit, that everything will be ok. I look down at my phone. The train ticket back to the Netherlands, back to my ot...

Glühwein time

Glühwein time

The inner city lights up with bright red stars and large, white fairy lights. Groups of small children pass me in the morning, singing German Christmas carols from the top of their lungs. I spend the rest of my ride to uni continuing the songs under ...

“Is this a protest?”

“Is this a protest?”

It’s a cold, dark Tuesday night. A group of six theatre geeks wrap up their conversation in front of the bar in which they’ve been talking about their upcoming production, gender and hierarchy in theatre, and the future in general. Time f...

“Here I stand, I can do no other!”

“Here I stand, I can do no other!”

“Hier stehe ich, ich kann nicht anders.” It’s the infamous quote by Martin Luther, allegedly said with pride and triumph in 1521. Here, in the university library of Freiburg, these words gain a whole other meaning. You might have...

German Unpunctuality

German Unpunctuality

Secret agent Jesler vH, ID 6152144, reporting for duty. Strange behaviour has been observed over here in Freiburg: all classes start exactly fifteen minutes late. Everyone seems to willingly go along with this delay - even the most punctual among the...

Sleeping under the stars

Sleeping under the stars

Sleeping under the stars - singing around a campfire - learning to juggle by a cold lake It seems like a shot from a movie. One of those movies where people just eat one bite of their croissant and then leave the beautifully laid breakfast table. ...

“Just 30 cents - she didn’t do that much, after all”

“Just 30 cents - she didn’t do that much, after all”

“Germany and The Netherlands are basically the same.” Secretly, I used to think that too. Oh, how wrong I was. Just one example: the legendary German Trinkgeld. Whenever I ask a German about the tipping culture over here, I always g...

Confusion is great

Confusion is great

“Moments of confusion - great!” This is how the academic director of University College Freiburg (UCF) welcomed all first-year and exchange students during the official welcome week. And I, the good student that I am, am already following...

Old Town Road to Freiburg

Old Town Road to Freiburg

I’m gonna take my horse to the old town road, I’m gonna ride ‘til I can’t no more. Well, instead of a horse, I had a big car that was so fully-packed that I had to create a small cave for myself to sit in, surrounded by all...

Death by Lady Bureaucracy

Death by Lady Bureaucracy

I’ve never been a fan of Kafka’s work. It always seemed too dark, too negative and too whiney. Now, I won’t claim that I’ve grown to like Kafka - I have not and will not attempt to reread his stories any time soon. But I have ...

Goodbye lah, you Crazy, Rich, Asian Metropole

Goodbye lah, you Crazy, Rich, Asian Metropole

A long, ocean-blue canal in the middle of a gold-plated shopping centre. Hop on a gondola and enjoy your journey past Dior, Chanel, Prada and anything else your heart desires. Though you don't need to enter to know what is being sold: posters at ...

Love Letter to UCM’s Curriculum Planners

Love Letter to UCM’s Curriculum Planners

My dearest UCM Curriculum Planners, Forgive me, for I have wronged you. For two years, I have failed to acknowledge your love for my academic career and your insufferable effort to allow me to take the courses I desire. At times, I have even cu...

Beach Clean-Up: Once upon a time?

Beach Clean-Up: Once upon a time?

They hatched! A hundred hawksbill turtles hatched and crawled their way into the sea at Sentosa’s Tanjong Beach one week ago! I’d like to think that I contributed the most modest of shares to this miracle - after all, once upon a time ...

An opportunity, not a threat

An opportunity, not a threat

I've always prided myself on knowing my languages. Until I went to Penang, Malaysia. While enjoying my delicious banana pancakes one warm morning, Sandra, the (Indian) woman in charge of the restaurant area of the little hotel I was staying at...

You’re also still in Singapore, Bob?

You’re also still in Singapore, Bob?

Bob is still in… Singapore? I thought this was going to be a blog about your exchange to Freiburg, Germany? Also, who is Bob? Bob is a lizard - you’ll get to know him later on. And regarding the first question: universities ...