The ESN is one of the best things about studying at Hogeschool INHolland! It consists of a group of students (most of whom are Bulgarian, doing their whole degree in Amsterdam) who work together to make sure that our exchange semester is packed with lots of fun and cheap social activities.

 During orientation week, I payed 5 euro to sign up with the ESN, which was definitely worth it! The ESN not only organises activities for us, but they get us huge discounts wherever we go. We always have a lot of fun and it is always cheaper than if we had gone by ourselves.

So far the ESN has taken us to:

• An Erasmus party with all the other exchange students from other universities in Amsterdam. We got cheaper entry to the night club and got the chance to meet all the other exchange students, which was fun!

• Zaanse Schans Open Air Museum, a museum of Dutch culture. Apart from getting a discount on the train ticket (Zaanse Schans is about 40 minutes out of Amsterdam), none of us would have even known about the place had it not been for the ESN!

• Ice-Skating, where we got a half-price ticket and I got the chance to show off my ice-skating skills, much to the surprise of every one of my friends, who thought I was kidding when I said we had rinks in Australia!

• The Ice-bar in Amsterdam, where even the drinks are served in glasses made from ice! The bad thing about the ice-bar, however, is that it is quite unpleasant to sit, since the bar stools are also made of ice and you cannot stay in there for longer than 45 minutes without causing serious illness, as it is so cold!

• An exclusive dance party, where we were put on the VIP list and got free entry!

• Laser Gaming at Zwanneburg, which is the biggest centre in all of Europe! We only paid 1/3 of the price and had so much fun! I did however cause serious injury to myself, due to running into a barrel in the dark, in an attempt to avoid getting “killed” by a laser beam! Was still a lot of fun though!

The ESN still have many more activities planned for us, especially once the temperature gets warmer and we can stand outside for longer than 5 minutes without whinging!

This week there is a karaoke party in celebration of St Patrick’s Day, with free drinks for those who are brave enough to get up on stage. Should be a fun night! It really is an awesome organisation, as it is totally run by other students, purely for our enjoyment. It’s the best way for us to make new friends and see things that we probably wouldn’t have on our own  🙂