Each year thousands of students struggle to make the last week of the summer holidays unforgettable before responsibility takes over their everyday life again. It has to be adventurous, funny, exciting and as a Dutch student might say – simply ‘gezellig’. Whereas not everyone achieves that goal, the 1st year students of the BSC Tourism experienced the whole package in 4 amazing days: the BTO Introduction Week 2014.

Tuesday, August 26th. Twenty-nine future BTO Students from the Netherlands, Germany (including me) and Hungary, were welcomed by 6 of the 2nd years at the NHTV Building. Besides a YouTube Video that revealed the theme of the Intro Week – Western –, we had no idea what to expect in the days to come. Due to the opening days, some of us were already a little familiar with NHTV and Sebastiaan Straatman, the programme coordinator. After a few minutes to get to know each other, he gave us the very first lecture. No worries, it wasn’t necessary to take notes yet. As a matter of fact, those were the last few minutes to actually relax before our intro week really got started. The first thing on our agenda was the scavenger hunt in Breda. 10 small groups explored the city trying to accomplish as many tasks as given on paper. The original idea was probably to get to know Breda. But the publication of the video footage that documented everything really closely will definitely lead to public humiliation. I’ll leave the rest to your imagination until the video is posted online.

To regain some strength before the upcoming pub-crawl, we were introduced to the fine cuisine of Breda. After this delicious meal there was only one thing that got us even more excited: the ‚sophisticated‘ beer tasting (including shots and dancing) in various pubs lasting till late in the night. After a solid amount of 5 hours of sleep, it was time for the 2nd part of the Introduction Week – a Camp in Wenum Wiesel. After a two hour bus ride that some of us used wisely to catch up some on sleep, we reached an amazing accommodation in the middle of the forest.

It was the perfect location for the remaining program. For example the dodgeball tournament with water balloons. The days were filled with fun activities – one might call them exotic or a bit insane. Or how would you describe a game where you eat cucumbers and get dirty from yogurt? However, there was more to this week than “just“ fun games. We had the possibility to connect with other people, develop friendships and even teach the international students some Dutch – such as “gezelligheid”, which in one word perfectly describes the bonfire on the first night.

The Camp was not lacking variety. It was fun, exhausting, different, adventurous, competitive and challenging in many different ways. Especially the recurring beer contests that detemined who had to do the dishes, debunked the real competitors of us. And those who weren’t that ambitious to drink fast were able to enjoy it slowly at the theme party on the last evening. The house was transformed into a suitable party location, everyone put on their Western costume and the DJs kicked-off. We had a blast till the music stopped – and even longer.

The last day can easily be summarized in one sentence: 30 sleep deprived students made their way back home, crashing their beds to catch up some sleep and maybe dream about the 4 amazing days we had just experienced.

The combination of athletic games, challenging (drinking) contest, ‘gezellige’ evenings, and above all the amazing relationships that we developed within a few days; it was a perfect last week of the summer holidays. Only one last thing remains to be said: Thanks for the great organisation by the 2nd year students that made our start of the new academic year unforgettable!

Written by: Nellie