ESE en het Lustrum: International op Skadi

In samenwerking met de ESE interviewde het Skadi Lustrum Alestair over hoe het is om als international op Skadi te zijn.

“I joined Skadi in the first year of my Bachelor degree in IBA at EUR. I  became a member mainly because I wanted to continue practising sport at a high level, but also because I wanted a ‘full immersion’ experience of the local culture. Previously, I had competed as an elite cyclist, but I wanted to try something different. Rowing is a sport where you can make a lot of progression very quickly and it is a great team sport, so joining a rowing club made perfect sense. I quickly got involved in the competitive section of the club and took part in the selections for the freshmans’ heavyweight crew. On being selected, I took part in national competitions around the country and abroad, rowing amongst others in the USA, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Australia and the UK.

Joining Skadi was a culture shock as you are thrown into a world of, occasionally bizarre, traditions. As I couldn’t understand most of what was being said, I stayed very open-minded and got stuck-in to as much as possible (one of the traditions is throwing a pineapple as far as possible into canal to settle arguments). All of the traditions are well intended and added a fun aspect, after a while you get used to them and even start trying to create your own!

As an international moving into a new culture, it’s very easy to stick to people in the same situation as you and create an ‘international group’ which you don’t go outside of too often. By joining a club like Skadi you meet ‘locals’ who can help you with all kinds of practical things and who can become great friends you wouldn’t meet otherwise. The friends I made at Skadi are still some of my best friends now.

Joining Skadi also gave me the opportunity to learn Dutch. On arriving in the Netherlands I didn’t speak a single word of the language and trying to learn it is difficult just because almost everyone speaks English. A short while after joining Skadi I was invited to move into one of the club ‘houses’ with eight other Dutch rowers. They all believed that I had to learn Dutch so I spent many hours at the dinner table taking it all in, and by the end of my degree I was able to communicate relatively fluently.

The rowing club gave me the opportunity not just to practise sport, but to take on responsibility and organise a number of interesting events. I organised the first official cycling holiday for Skadi as well as a rowing regatta in the middle of the city during the annual Wereldhavendagen. During these days 500,000 people come to Rotterdam to see activities taking place on the water and this experience prepared me well for my current profession.

I would recommend joining Skadi to any international student in Rotterdam. It’s great for both your athletic and cultural education, it provides you with great opportunities to take on responsibility and it is generally a great place to make some very good friends!”

Foto: Alastair Carr. In samenwerking met de Erasmus School of Economics (ESE).