Our Blog

Welcome back (!) to the ISN Amsterdam blog. We hoped you all enjoyed a well-rested Christmas break because us reporters were definitely seeking a few weeks of relaxation. However, we’re back this week with a mega edition to continue the blog.

For the new exchange students joining us this semester, it’s great to see you here. We will keep you all posted about everything from what’s been happening at ISN Amsterdam, to upcoming events, to what’s going on in the city itself, and much much more! The best thing for you all out there is you can get involved, and we’d all love you too! Please reach out to the team via the ISN socials (below) if you’d like to appear on our blog!

The start of the year is all about new beginnings and setting goals, as well as a new semester! Let us know what your goals are for the upcoming semester in our Instagram story! We will showcase what your goals are in our upcoming edition!

A bit chilly out there?

This weekend Amsterdam saw a snowstorm (by Western European standards) descend on its streets and canals. Despite being my second year in Amsterdam, this was my first sight of significant snow.

Once the snow fell, settled and started clearing a little bike, I took my bike and traversed the icy cycle paths towards the canal belt. The city did a great job at clearing most of the cycle routes. However, the search for ‘hidden gems’ meant sacrificing a smooth cycle ride. I would need to borrow at least another pair of hands if I was to count the number of times my bike got stuck in the snow, on a bridge or skidded because of icy roads.

By day 3, the sun was already beaming across the city. The combination of sun and snow made it a great recovery from the ‘beast of the east’.

The best views were definitely over the water. Overlooking the Amstel, you can see the snow-coated roofs of the houses overlooking the river, as well as the riverboats. A calm day on the river, totally unlike a summer’s afternoon in Amsterdam!

Students and New Year’s Resolutions

It’s a new year, and hopefully a new beginning… Whether we realize it or not, we all kind of make New Year’s Resolutions. Truth is, we don’t know much about 2021 yet, but we sure do hope it’s going to be better than 2020. Out of curiosity, I asked five of my friends who study here in Amsterdam about their New Year’s Resolutions in the form of a survey. Their responses were not surprising: everyone wants to do more this year…

The first question I asked was: How excited are you for 2021?

Sophie, Cultural Heritage student at Reinwardt Academy; Nienke, student Service Desk Assistant, and Maurits, who studies Software Engineering all answered that they were excited about new things. Don’t get your hopes up too high, guys.

Yiyi, who studies Economics like me,  feels neutral towards 2021, she answered a plain “Meh”. 

On the other hand, Pauline, Law student at VU, clicked on the option “Bro, I’m scared.” (aren’t we all..?). For some of these five friends, this is their first year, for others, it’s their last year studying – and it has become a little more difficult for both of us. From lack of social interaction with university classmates to having hard times finding internships and failing courses because of online crashes..2020 sure was not an easy year for us, so it makes sense we’re a little scared- however, we’re still hopeful.

Lastly, I asked them to describe their New Year’s resolutions. 

Sophie: “Spend more time with family and friends when rules allow for it (we all need it), get my diploma, be less stressed about life.”

Pauline: “Use my time effectively for school, friends and myself. Also, be less strict with myself and go through life proudly.”

Nienke: “Dye my hair a new colour and try to get accepted at a dancing school.”

Yiyi: “Stop being lazy, start working out.” 

Maurits: “Be more active with current and new hobbies, contribute to open source software development.”.

That concludes the end of the survey, and early all of my 5 friends seem to crave more social interaction. We’ve all missed out on festivals, concerts, birthday parties, holidays and so much more in 2020 that we are so ready for 2021 to give that back to us. But, let’s not forget we also have university work, so one of our new year’s resolutions could also be to have higher grades…

Committee Experience!

By the way, if you’re looking for something extra to do in 2021, ISN is looking for new members for 8 committees! Being a part of one of our committees, will broaden your (social)network and give you the opportunity to work in an internationally oriented network. It’s even more exciting this time because there will be a brand new committee you can join: the Audit Committee. If you’re interested (in a career) in Accounting and Finance, being in control of ISN finances will give you hands-on experience and boost your CV. 

For the Buddy Committee, you will ensure that newly arrived international students and exchange students have the best time in Amsterdam. But, not only will they want to have a great time here, but they would also like to get to know the Dutch culture better and go on cultural exchanges, which will be your responsibility to organize if you’re a part of the Dutch Culture Committee. Similarly, the International Culture Committee also organizes cultural exchanges and activities but is not limited to Dutch culture, and allows for internationals to show off their culture to other international students. In the Social Committee, you will organise small scale events, but also help out with large scale events like the Introduction Week for ISN.  

For the Social Erasmus Committee, you will participate in projects that are aimed at giving international and exchange students the opportunity to volunteer in the local communities they are (temporarily) part of. Acquiring and maintaining partnerships with various companies that ISN will or is working with is also very important, so ISN is also looking for Partnership Committee members.

Lastly, If you like sports and are interested in organizing sports events, then do not hesitate to join the Sports Committee!

On this LINK, you will find more info on the committees and a form to apply (make sure to do so before February 14th!).

Don’t forget that Valentines is coming up!! So if you want to have an anonymous message sent to your loved one, please send it our way! We will make it look great for friends, family, or even your crush.

This is a joint event with ESN VU Amsterdam, and we want to be able to spread the love to all the students in Amsterdam!

Thanks for reading yet another edition of our blog! We hope you would join us again. If you yourself want to want to write something on the blog, then feel free to ask! See you again later!

10th December 2020

The holidays are coming up and ISN wants to bring Dutch traditions to you! You might have already seen some Dutch traditions of Sinterklaas or even joined our Pepernoten Baking event, but we want to tell you more in-depth of how people have experienced the ‘Dutch Christmas’. So give this blog a read to know more about the great Sinterklaas and how our local students know him to be.

Battle of the Clauses

Did you know ‘Sinterklaas’ is not a Dutch misspelling of Santa Claus? When I first came to the Netherlands at six years old and was introduced to Sinterklaas, my first thought was that the Dutch simply preferred a more sophisticated kind of Santa Claus. Later I came to understand that, yes, they are in the same month, but they are two entirely different ‘Clauses’. To be honest, I was confused as to how most of my classmates in primary school didn’t realize it was a different man dressed up as Sinterklaas every time, but I just played along. I really liked the ‘pepernoten’ (a small dutch cookie) the Piet’s (Sinterklaas’ helpers) gave us when they randomly showed up to our classroom. Seriously, if you haven’t tried pepernoten yet, go buy some now! But after you have finished reading this! 

Sinterklaas, pictured left on his famous white horse, is originally named after Nicholas of Myra, a bishop from Myra (in present-day Turkey), who lived in the fourth century AD. The bishop was worshipped in Eastern Europe, but after the thirteenth century, the worshipping also started in Western Europe. The name day of the man who was canonized after his death is December 6. It is the anniversary of the death of Saint Nicholas.

Since the fifteenth century, shoes were placed around the name day of Saint Nicholas. This happened at church, where the rich gave money and presents and they were put in the shoes of the poor, but later it was also placed at home. This was a perfect opportunity to tell children Sinterklaas put these small gifts inside their shoes. What does this remind you of? That’s right, the Christmas sock. Santa likes socks, and Sinterklaas prefers shoes. Together, they’d be perfect. Dutch kids call this “schoentje zetten”, and they always sing: “Sinterklaas kapoentje, gooi wat in m’n schoentje!” (translation: Sinterklaas, throw something in my shoe!).

Then, there is “Pakjesavond”, the evening on December 5 when presents are opened up. The celebration of this day arose on a large scale after World War II. Nowadays, this is the evening families come together, have dinner (e.g. gourmet), play board games, and open up the presents from “Sinterklaas”. Overall, it is a less formal, less fancy Christmas Eve that is definitely more catered to children.

Also, a tradition at primary school was the ‘surprises’. I remember doing my first ever surprise when I was around 7 years old. Everyone in class writes a wishlist on a paper, and then they randomly draw a list from a classmate. Of course, they have to keep secret who they got. The classmates receive something from their wishlist but not only that – if the classmates know that particular classmate they got likes dogs, they would, for example, make a dog out of paper-mache and put the presents inside, accompanied by a printed or handwritten rhyme. The surprise itself is not the present, but the ‘paper-mache dog’. This surprise tradition is often also done with family members, usually on ‘pakjesavond’.

Although my experiences were different, my parents were a bit lost with this tradition. They just gave me some presents (they didn’t even pretend it was from Sinterklaas). They made up for it during Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. So even though I never really got to celebrate Sinterklaas the ‘right way’, I was still excited to see him and his helpers in the shopping mall every early December as a child. Not to mention, they always handed out free candy, which even adults love.

Even now, seeing so many children, including my two younger brothers, happy and working hard on their surprises is heartwarming. Sinterklaas is embraced by many people in the Netherlands, and its celebration is a big part of Dutch culture. And for those who thought the Dutch are frugal, maybe they are – but not in December (R. I. P. bank account)!

Interview: What’s Sinterklaas like for Bas?

(Meet Bas, a local Dutch final year Communication Science student at the UvA. We speak to him about what Sinterklaas is like and what it’s like spending the festive season with students.)

Hi Bas, nice to meet you! Tell us a bit about yourself!

Hey – nice to meet you too! I’m currently studying at the UvA. I do Communication Science, and I’m in my final year. I come from a town that you may know, near Amsterdam, called Amstelveen.

So we’re approaching the peak of the build-up to Christmas and the festive season, but in the Netherlands, you also have Sinterklaas, which is orientated around children mainly. How did you use to celebrate this?

That’s right! Everyone’s super excited in the build-up to Sinterklaas, especially the week before the 5th December. For me, it was the atmosphere that made it for me. When I was younger, all of my friends were also looking forward to it. There were Sinterklaas themed shows on TV, lots of food like pepernoten, speculaas and much much more going around. The best, however, was looking forward to the presents on pakjesavond. I think that it’s different for everyone how they celebrate it.

Sounds like a lot of fun! I definitely wish I had this when I was younger. Growing up, does Sinterklaas still feel a special time of the year for you?

It was definitely a lot of fun as a kid! Usually, I would, indeed, spend the time with my family and I would get presents during Sinterklaas. As I grew up, it became less special compared to when I was little. The atmosphere is definitely still all around me though. During student time, I’ve met a lot of people, and we actually celebrate Sinterklaas amongst us, but with a student twist!

Exactly! Last year, it was my first year at university and I spent the weeks before Christmas in Amsterdam with my friends. Tell me more how you spent Sinterklaas last year with other students.

Just like at Christmas, my friends and I did a ‘secret santa’ style gift exchange with each other. I feel we all know each other very well as we spend a lot of time with each other. This can call for really funny gifts! For me, I love the personal touches on presents. It adds a great amount of intrinsic value and have been some of my best presents. In addition to this, we do a ‘Sinterklaasgedicht’ (Sinterklaas Poem) for each other. Since we didn’t know who wrote them, it was super funny to hear these read out by everyone!

That sounds like you had a great time! I agree that at student time, we can still make the festive season fun for us all + it gives us all a real laugh! To round this all off, are you ready for Christmas?

I think the time with my friends last year was one of my favourites! Of course, everything’s not quite the same this year, so it’s all a bit different. I’m looking forward to spending it with my family, but also for next year! I think we will throw a huge party with everyone, but nevertheless – this time of year is always great fun regardless of the situation.

Thanks very much! Have a Merry Christmas + Happy New Year!


Don’t forget to follow us for upcoming events starting in January!

We might host a Christmas Event! So keep your eyes peeled!

ISN Amsterdam’s Blog is taking a break for the holidays just like you should. So see you in January, and we hope you all stay safe and have a great holiday!

26th November 2020

Welcome back to the ISN blog! The theme of this post is all about ‘getting creative’. With the holidays fast approaching, we start to get into a festive atmosphere and get creative with gifts and presents. However, students have also been busy in the last few months thinking about ways to occupy the time. We’ll talk about the recent ISN events, some top-notch ways of spicing up your room, and other ways we can get creative.

Comedy Show! – Daniel

Comedy Show, hosted by the Comedy Undergratz was a great relief to the everyday routine. Hearing some fun jokes and finding humour in the current situation we are in. Even though this comedy show was hosted over Zoom it still felt nice, of course, it was tough to tell when people were laughing due to everyone naturally muting themselves during Zoom meetings. Though I can assure you that I heard myself laughing.

Origami and Wine!

…and to continue with activities to get your mind off uni and work, Origami and Wine was able to put all my concentration on a little piece of paper. It’s amazing how intricate origami can be. Even when we made an origami heart, I was confused to the fact why there were so many folds to make something that you can cut out in a few seconds, but I guess that is where the fun of origami is. I believe that origami can be a fun activity in these times of corona to keep us creative.

Broaden your horizon – Sol

Being creative is not only painting, drawing, or making films; being creative is actually doing something different than you’re used to and making it your own. Essentially, creativity comes from an idea and vice versa. Regarding the current situation, we have more time to generate new ideas and try them out. So, what better time than now?

Learn a new language

With apps like Duolingo, it’s very easy to start learning a new language.  Even better, apps like Speaky and Tandem can easily help you find a language exchange partner. You don’t even have to put a lot of effort into it; it’s not a course you need to pass, it’s an experience. As long as you are consistent, you will definitely see progress. Little things can help you learn new languages, like adding some music in that language to your playlist, reading children’s books before going to sleep, and watching movies with subtitles so you get familiar with the pronunciation. And lastly, (when it is possible again) travel to that country and put your knowledge into practice!

New Hobbies

Now that there are limits to social interaction, it may be a good idea to broaden your horizon and get involved in your friends’ interests. Do they like something that you could potentially like as well? What book or artist have they been recommending you for the past weeks, and you just have never really given it a try? Also, this works the other way around. Encourage your friends or family to practice your hobbies and get to know your interests. You can also get a lot of inspiration on Instagram, Pinterest, and Youtube – but it’s just not the same as learning interesting hobbies that you never knew your family and friends had.  Of course, the best thing about that is that you can do them together!

DIY up your room

Your room is a canvas, paint it however you like. Even if you’re not that into DIY and being creative, simply changing the position of furniture and cleaning it out a bit can have a big effect and make it feel like it’s a whole new room. But if you want to really be DIY, for example during the Christmas break when you have more time, go to Pinterest and dig up some ideas to change up your room or just make it a little more personal. Since you’re spending quite a lot of time in your room right now, James will give some tips on how to customize your room in the next section.

‘Room Renovation’ – James

Thanks Sol! This time is a great way to embrace the opportunity to brighten our rooms up a little bit. Having personally lived out of home for the past 5 years, my room has always looked slightly different but over time, there are certain things that stick with me.

First thing, the ‘background’. This is the permanent addition to your room which you will see every time. There are two things here which do the trick for me – posters and LED lights. Posters are a great way to add some colour to your room, especially if you have plain walls. Posters can be of whatever you want and can be something you’ve seen of Pinterest, a childhood memory or a great picture that you’ve taken. During the evenings, when you can’t appreciate the posters as well, a set of LED lights can make your room look exciting. I’ve had rooms decorated with multi-coloured LED strips, as well as standard white LEDs. The coloured ones are the best, as you can make your room look from a sci-fi film to very romantic.

Secondly, we aren’t always looking at all of our posters, or sometimes we are so engrossed in our Zoom meetings that we just can’t appreciate them. Despite our eyes looking away from the beauty of bedroom walls, our other senses continue to take in our surroundings. The next item on the shopping list should be a nice diffuser. These come in all different sorts of smells and in shops, are situated close to each other. You can really pick out which one takes your fancy. If you want something more delicate, a candle (or two, or three) can also add a nice mood-setting in your room. As I live in a studio, I have a diffuser near the entrance every time I return home. Back home away from Amsterdam, I light a candle in the evenings to also warm myself up on a cold winter’s evening.

We’ve got the smell, we’ve got the sights. To finish it all off, we need the atmosphere. By atmosphere, I mean decorating it with some seasonal additions. As you’re reading this, I’m going to be putting up my decorations for the festive season. Whilst the Christmas tree may be located in the living room, there’s no excuse for not brightening your room up with some tinsel. Other times of the year can be Halloween, where a trip down to your nearest Halloween shop can inspire you towards all sorts of different creations. Finally, flags are a great one to show off certain national holidays! For example, an Irish flag for St Patrick’s Day through the middle of March!

Here was just a combination of a selection amongst the multitude of things that are possible for renovating your room a little bit. Perhaps you have a room full of posters and have now found your missing thing, or maybe you have found a place for an old gem hidden in the back of your cupboard. Let us know through our social links below if you decide on learning a new language, hobby or renovating your room. We’d love to see what you will come up with!


Don’t forget to join us in our upcoming events!

Friday (November 27th) – Game Night! (18:00 – 20:00)

Join us tomorrow where we will play several online games with fellow ESN members around the Netherlands

Thursday (December 3rd) – ESN Christmas Pub Quiz (20:00 – 22:00)

Friday (December 4th) – Writing Letters to Elderly

Blog 2 – Students in Quarantine

12th November 2020

Welcome back to the ISN blog! Our second post will highlight what to do during quarantine, bringing you the latest on what we’ve been getting up to during our ‘Online Wednesday’s’. Also, Sol and some of her friends share some stories about what life as first-year university students is like for them this year!

The ISN blog gets a new post every two weeks – stay tuned on our social media platforms (which you can find below) to be alerted when our next post is up, which will be on the 26th November!

Online Wednesday’s: Pub Quiz (4th November 2020) – By James

ISN Amsterdam’s ‘Online Wednesdays’ continued with a monthly PUB QUIZ. Originally founded in the UK in the 1970s, a pub quiz is a great way to find out who your smartest friends are, but also – the opportunity to learn an interesting thing or two. I took my seat and joined Daniel’s group, our very own PR coordinator, for the evening.

What makes a pub quiz good? Well, my benchmark is set quite high as I’ve had many pub quizzes in the past. Many things contribute to the quality of a pub quiz, and I can surely say that this one was ranked highly by an experienced ‘pub-quizzer’. Let me tell you more about it. 

The categories of the quiz and the backbone for every quiz. No pub quiz is a pub quiz without the ‘classic rounds’. The quiz kicked off with a ‘General Knowledge/History’ round by one of our Introduction Coordinators: Bora. He is an extremely competitive person but has kept the social atmosphere up since activities were moved to online activities. I knew this was going to be a tough round! The great thing about general knowledge rounds is that we always know one or two answers for sure, and the others can be determined by a good guess. 

Feeling confident, Janine took the stage to add an ‘ISN Amsterdam’ flair to the evening. This pub quiz wouldn’t be an ISN Amsterdam pub quiz without a ‘Dutch Culture’ round – do you know how many bridges there are in Amsterdam? Well, the lowest option was 223 which left us all bamboozled!

What pub quizzes remind me of are the history and geography lessons in high school. All the knowledge buried deep inside our memory is brought back to daylight such as the capital city of Australia (always a trick question!). These questions are somewhat nostalgic but also pick your brain a little.

Pub quizzes are super easy to put together and each one of your friends can chip in a little to make a pub quiz an evening to remember! If you couldn’t make this ISN event or miss out, then there are many more fun activities each week to get involved with! Follow our social media channels below to get the latest news on what events and when we have them.

First-year students vs. Corona – by Sol Cristina

While I am a first-year Economics student, this is not my first year as a student at university. I have experienced student life before corona, albeit for a short while. But students who have just started studying for the first time ever (and all students, really) have to deal with crushed social expectations, crashes during online exams (*cough*, UvA), and a lack of motivation due to laggy Zoom sessions. I thought it would be a cool idea to interview two of my friends from high school about studying during corona, not only regarding online classes but more importantly about the social aspect (or rather, the lack of… ).

(On the upper left, we have Romy, 18 years old, a first-year student in Communication and Multimedia Design. She is interested in fashion, make-up, and enjoys gaming from time to time. Secondly, we have Amber, also 18 years old, and a nursing student. In her free time, she enjoys walking her dogs in the park and doing all sorts of creative things.)

What were your pre-corona expectations of studying at (Applied) University?

Amber: “Since I graduated this year during quarantine, I expected that there were going to be quite some changes in education. Socially-wise, the student life that is packed with social activities is obviously not possible anymore.”

Romy: “Before corona kicked in, I expected student life to be: going to uni every day, hanging out with friends, maybe some partying, etc. The usual stuff. Well, these things are kind of still happening now, but the social interaction is minimal, and the ‘hanging out with uni friends’ is mostly done online when we have to work together for projects.”

How often do you interact with your classmates? 

Amber: “We have a Whatsapp group where we communicate about our homework mostly. We don’t really have group projects or interactive Zoom sessions. Our interaction is basically when we’re at the school itself (for theory-based- and practice classes), which used to be three classes on three different days, but now it will change to only two.” 

Romy: “We’re quite active in the group chat. I have sometimes hung out with them, like going for drinks or travelling on the train together, but that is not possible now with the new measures. In conclusion, most of our interaction is really done online through Zoom, for projects, etc.”

What about social life outside of (Applied) University? 

Amber: “It has decreased, for sure. I hang out with a couple of friends once a week, but not a lot, especially now with stricter regulations.”

Romy: “I have a good time with friends at my part-time job, and I occasionally hang out with some other friends, but all of my social interactions are mostly done on my phone, haha.”

How much do you think Corona has impacted students and in what way?

Amber: “It has had a very big impact. I‘m at home a lot, and honestly, I feel kind of lonely. Of course, it depends on what kind of person you are, but I think it does affect every student and perhaps even their mental health (this is the case for me). It’s like they have to “build up” their social life again. For example, I used to be very open and talkative, but now I have become more closed. It seems I just kind of ‘forgot’ how to be social, haha.”

Romy: “Yeah, same for me. I also read that these times depression rates are higher because of the minimal social interaction. Personally, I don’t mind being alone too much (I am an introvert, haha). Social life on my phone is enough for me, but I am aware that this is not the case for everyone and that this situation will definitely impact many people, students in particular.”

What tips do you have for students to still be socially active and keep up with Zoom University?

Amber: “Sometimes we can forget why we’re actually doing this, especially now, because we’re in our rooms the whole day, behind our laptops, following all classes. I can understand it can really demotivate some people, and me too. But always keep in mind that you’re doing this for your future! For me, I want to become a good nurse. If you miss social contact, it’s an option to just hold weekly Zooms with friends, or download friend- and dating apps, or occasionally hang out with a friend in calm places, at each other’s place, etc.”

Romy: “Make good planning. I find myself sometimes having to stay up all night because I have so many deadlines, which is why planning is key. And if you feel a little less motivated, remind yourself why you are doing this, like Amber said, think of your goal.”

If you have similar experiences or want to share some of your own feelings on other subjects, free to contact us through our social media and maybe you will find a place on our blog. Don’t feel afraid to contact us, we are always excited to get in touch with you.

Future Events

Corona might still be going on, but that won’t stop us from creating events and content for you! We have many events planned that you can take a part in from your homes. We know that times may be hard to find new people to interact with and discover new activities to do to pass the time. That is why ISN Amsterdam wants to give you all the opportunity to an exciting academic year, even from your bedrooms! So follow us and join our events, we hope to see you around.

Sunday (November 15th) – Comedy Show with Comedy Undergradz (19:00 – 20:00)

Wednesday (November 18th) – Online Wednesday: Origami & Wine (20:00 – 21:30)

Friday (November 20th) – I*ESN Tilburg Carpe Corona Cantus (19:30 – 22:00)

Thank you for reading our blog! We post every other week on Thursday, so keep your eyes peeled for our next addition! Do you want to be featured in our blog? Contact us and we’ll be happy to find a way to include you into our ISN Family!

Blog 1 – ISN in Quarantine

29th October 2020

Welcome to the first edition of the International Student Network (ISN) Amsterdam Blog! We will keep you all posted about everything from what’s been happening at ISN Amsterdam, to upcoming events, to what’s going on in the city itself, and much much more! The best thing for you all out there is you can get involved, and we’d all love you too! Please reach out to the team if you’d like to appear on our blog!

Our blog is run by a team of students – we’ll be updating you with exciting content every other Thursday, with our next post being the 12th November! Keep your eyes peeled!

Sol – Reporter

Daniel – Editor

James – Reporter

ISN Wednesday’s: Among Us (7th October 2020) – By James

With Coco’s Outback no longer being the spotlight for ISN Amsterdam on Wednesday nights, I joined ISN Amsterdam’s first edition of ‘Online Wednesdays’ on the 7th October over Discord. Debuting the event would be ‘Among Us – a game which I haven’t taken my eyes off since it went viral earlier this year.  

What is Among Us? Firstly – it’s a great way for a large group of friends to come together. The game is set on a spaceship and is based off of deduction. At the beginning, each member is assigned the role of ‘crewmate’ or ‘imposter’. The majority are crewmates, whose aim is to complete tasks onboard to save the spaceship. However, in and ‘amongst everyone lie between 1-3 imposters. Their aim is to kill the crewmates whilst they complete their tasks. Players remain silent for the majority of the game, and only allowed to talk during ‘meetings’. These can be initiated upon reporting the death of a crewmate, or by pressing the ‘emergency’ button. 

As an imposter, I would use my favourite ‘sabotage’ in the game: turning the lights off. Whilst crewmates remain in the blind, myself and the other imposter could go off on a killing spree until the lights get fixed. 

As a crewmate, I would follow people I suspect were imposters, and see if they would actually be completing their tasks. You can see this in the task completion meter of the game. Most of the time this worked, but this tactic was risky. I could be dubbed as a ‘third imposter’, where I help the imposter vote innocent people whilst they sit back and win the game! 

Will you be successful as crewmates, or will the imposters get to you? Among Us is a great way to be able to sniff out who the best (and worst) liars are in your friendship group; who can you trust and who you can’t. More so, Among Us was just one of many ways that ISN can bring you together. There is always something going on every Wednesday at 8:00pm, so don’t forget to follow us on social media to find out! 

CoronaMelder: the App that makes the change – By Sol Cristina

Have you already heard of the Coronamelderapp that has been downloaded for over 2,5 million times? If not, you should definitely get it. The app fights against the spread of the coronavirus in the Netherlands with a smart and easy algorithm:

First, you download the app on App Store or Google Play (*links) and set up your account.

If you have been in close contact with someone *(for over 15 minutes) who turns out to have COVID-19, you will get a notification.  You can also find information on the app about what you are then recommended to do. The app itself doesn’t know who both of you are or where you’ve met, it only knows what day it was. 

If you yourself have been tested positive and you know who the people are that you have been in contact with, the app will take care that the GGD (health organisation in the Netherlands) calls these people without mentioning your name if you prefer. But, it’s also likely you have been in close contact (for again over 15 minutes) with people you don’t know. To solve this problem, you can report it with the GGD, so CoronaMelder can give a notification to all people who have been in close contact with you.

Every download of this app counts. Keep in mind that: “Alleen samen krijgen wij corona onder controle” (Translation: “Only together can we get a hold of corona”)

21 Days of Sustainability – By Sol Cristina

Since the 10th of October was the day of Sustainability, UvA Green Office challenged us to participate in the 21 days of Sustainability. You probably have seen stories of people participating in the challenge on ISN’s Instagram (such as growing their own food or picking up trash), and I too have tried my best to follow along. With the following picture, they gave us fun ideas to be more sustainable:

The first idea that caught my eye was “Eat Vegan for a week”. I am already a vegetarian, so I figured going vegan for a week was not going to be that hard. YouTube is the place to be for these recipes: I have found many that were not only easy to follow but also very delicious. I recommend saving some vegan recipes that you can do every now and then to bring more variety to your lunches or dinners. 

While I was working on my vegan recipes, I have also been focusing on zero-waste eating. For zero-waste eating, you can start buying more from organic stores, like I have done in the past weeks; or in general, put more thought into your food and how much you actually need, so that you don’t overbuy. Less waste is less cleaning, so that’s also a great incentive to start becoming more zero-waste. Plus, it will save you money. In short, it’s not only good for the environment, but also good for you. Remember: more does not necessarily mean more value!

It does take some effort to try out these sustainable ideas, but there are also things you can start doing right now. These are, for example: lowering the temperature of your house, taking shorter and cold showers, or using a reusable face mask. And don’t forget to use that free time on your train ride to listen to podcasts on sustainability. Every small change, is a change. 

So, are you in for the challenge? 

Thank you for reading our blog! We post every other week on Thursday, so keep your eyes peeled for our next addition! Do you want to be featured in our blog? Contact us and we’ll be happy to find a way to include you into our ISN Family!