Winter AID is coming, new international students are arriving in Wageningen, wondering which associations they should join. I have also been in that situation, overwhelmed by all the different sports and student associations that this university has. Thus, I want to share with other internationals my experience as a member of AQUA, the sailing student association. I’m a Spanish girl, with no previous experience with sailing, crazy enough for joining a dutch sailing association and willing to freeze in sailing weekends in Friseland. I joined AQUA encouraged by a dutch friend I made on a previous exchange, and I’m so happy I did it! These sailors are just so caring, and willing to integrate international students in all their activities. At the beginning, I was a little bit scared that I would not understand anything, that they will be just speaking dutch all the time. Surprisingly, it didn’t happen at all! They even translate everything just for me at the general member meeting! Apart from that, they take also a lot of effort trying to avoid me to freeze to death during the sailing weekends. I’m not used to the cold (it was not really cold for dutch standards, freezing for a Valencian girl!), and there was always someone offering me hot soups, dry clothes and leaving me the best spot next to the heater. They are just super sweet! So, if you would love to try sailing or if you just want to have fun and share beers with nice people, AQUA is your place!

After the Christmas break, AQUA organized a fancy dinner for all the members in a restaurant in the center. It was soooo nice to see everybody again, especially now that the sailing season is over and we have less chances to gather (and a good opportunity to dress fancy, which I love!). We had a three-course meal, with some included drinks and a nice opportunity to update each other and for getting to know each other better. As always, the environment was mainly dutch (we are few internationals in AQUA, but I’m pretty sure that’s going to change soon!). In fact, we were just two non-dutch speakers; however, my Dutch sailors make sure that I could enjoy it, and that I could participate in the conversation, talking mostly in English when I was around. That still amazes me, how can they be soo nice! I come from Spain, so I really appreciate the effort they always make, since I’m 100% sure that the Spanish will not do it (not only because we suck at English, but also because it’s just more convenient for us to speak Spanish among us). After the dinner (which by the way was delicious), we went together to the Doctor to have some beers together. To sum up, it was gezellig!

Om tien uur ’s ochtends (3 juni) kwam ik aan bij watersportvereniging De Viking in ’s Hertogenbosch. Meteen viel me op dat er nog weinig te merken was van de op handen zijnde zeilwedstrijd; blijkbaar arriveerde ik als eerste. Na mijn aankomst druppelden de deelnemers langzaam binnen en ik was blij toen ik na een tijdje bekende gezichten zag. Er waren verscheidene aqualeden aanwezig, niet in de laatste plaats omdat onze vereniging de wedstrijd organiseerde. Toen iedereen was geregistreerd, vond een korte briefing plaats. Daarna liepen de deelnemers richting de wedstrijdbootjes. We zouden in teams van twee rondes om boeien varen, waarbij de teamgenoten elkaar afwisselden. Ik vormde samen met Rik het team Earth, Wind and Fire.