Monday, 11 May 2015

Joining the Hospitality Excellence Programme part 2

It's now time for our Stenden students to host the HEP second session in Leeuwarden. The 2 day programme was full of excitement. Yes, it is about a project, but a fun party was also part of it :)

Stenden was HEPpening!

How do you feel when you are about to find out your test results? And how do you feel about a Maldives trip that you have booked last year is going to be tomorrow? Perhaps, you might be super excited, a little bit anxious or you cannot even sleep properly because you think too much. Well, that probably describes how I felt before that “moment of truth” finally came! Continuing on my previous writing, it was all about the second session of Hospitality Excellence Programme (HEP) 2015 where Stenden Leeuwarden was this time’s host! This year, we got the privilege of hosting a 2-day session instead on 13-14 March 2015. Indeed, it was a mixed feeling whether my colleagues would love the city, the stay, the food and many more.

Hestia party with excellent people
Spread over an intensive, 2-day session with an overnight stay at our lovely Stenden Hotel, I would proudly say that Stenden owned it! Together with the other Stenden representatives, we were given an honour to organise a night activity for our buddies from the other hotel schools. As part of the preparation, we even had a meeting to discuss, in which we decided to have a gathering at Hestia Student Lounge. For your information, as part of Stenden’s facilities of 1-2 minutes walk from the main building; Hestia (“a home away from home”) is a perfect place for students to have a group meeting, potluck dinner or house party! Overall, this small bonding night gave us the opportunity to get to know each other better as well as to refresh our overloaded brain from an intensive programme of the day.

Enough said about the small party and let’s get back to the real deal of the programme. Day 1 started with a gentle smile and cordial hug welcoming both students and professors to the capital of Friesland, Leeuwarden accompanied by morning coffee and tea. Carried out in Grand Hotel Post Plaza, Day 1 programme went smoothly with interviews with 2 of every team’s target groups as the highlights of the day. As we started with the implementation of design-thinking method, we put the first step of the method called “Empathise” into practice.

Grand Hotel Post Plaza Leeuwarden
For my team, I invited two of Stenden students who own hospitality-related businesses in Leeuwarden, one being the owner of a coffee bar (Barrevoets) and the other being the owner of a shisha/tapas bar (Leeuwarden Lounge). They are really nice places to chill and spend your spare time while you are in Leeuwarden by the way. Since my team’s target groups are young entrepreneurs, we gained a lot of insights into how they create and deliver value to their customers as part of the contributing factor towards hospitality in cities. By empathising with your interviewees, you touched their deepest personal dreams, aspirations, worries, thoughts and passions that can be related to the topic of how they manage their businesses to survive. Those aspects reflected the actions they took or the decisions they made to create value and experience for customers. All in all, it was really interesting to have a completely different approach of interview, which you can have a better understanding of people as well.

Even though Stenden representatives did not get an overnight stay as well at Stenden Hotel, we woke up with full enthusiasm to embrace Day 2 of the programme where this time it was fully conducted at Stenden. After a typical Friesland’s breakfast, Mr Albert Boswijk gave us an interactive lecture concerning “Economy of Experiences”, which again relevant to our project as well. Afterwards, we were split again into team sessions, where we discussed our findings based on the interviews.

These interviews were merely practice to create a framework for the project. Throughout the discussion, we were also exposed to the second step of the method called “Define” by creating personas and guest journeys of the target groups. These two were the representation of a typical person’s characteristics that belongs to a certain customer group. As suggested by the name of the method – design-thinking method – yes, I learnt how to draw and illustrate things as well. Besides the team’s professors, my team was also guided by a Master student from Delhi who already had experiences in using the method at Delft University of Technology. To wrap it up, we came into a consensus of the research plan that we could bring up in the next session. To sum up, Day 2 was filled by enriching, eye-opener sessions that were wrapped up with farewell snacks and drinks at the Bar of Stenden Hotel before everyone’s departure back to their home schools.

Everything might sound so heavy in terms of content and workload for you, but believe me; all the lectures, workshops and team sessions provided were very fun and interactive. I bet the professors also learnt a lot from them too! Speaking of next session, it will be held in NHTV University of Applied Sciences Breda. Besides another long journey from up north, I really hope that there will be another interesting, new thing to be obtained as well! To conclude, while Stenden was already HEPpening, Breda, you are next! 

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Joining the Hospitality Excellence Programme part 1

Two students of Stenden University Bali were selected as representatives of Stenden at the Hospitality Excellence Programme 2015. The proud students, Joshua and Gaby  are working together with other students from 4 reputable hotel schools to create a research paper in hospitality. Here is just the first article about their contribution to the programme. Check it out! 

It’s HEPpy Time!

Feel honoured to join the HEP
As quoted by a famous American football player/coach, Vince Lombardi (n.d.), “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” This quote has inspired me to apply for Hospitality Excellence Programme 2015, or HEP in short. Initially commenced in 2013, HEP is a co-creation between the Association of Dutch Hotel Management Schools with Koninklijke Horeca Nederland (KHN) or Dutch Association for Hospitality Entrepreneurs. 

Fellow HEP representative students 
In other words, this is also a collaborative networking programme where 5 ambitious students from 5 different, reputable Dutch hotel schools work in teams, dealing with a real-life, wicked problems within the hospitality industry.

It is of my great honour and enthusiasm that I was selected as one of the 5 students who represent Stenden University along with another Stenden University Bali (SUB) student, Gaby. The selection process involved the screening of CV and motivation letter as well as an interview with two Stenden’s best professors, Mrs. Elena Cavagnaro and Mr. Sjoerd Gehrels. 

We are so proud not only because we were chosen for this prestigious programme, but also because we are capable of representing SUB as well. This means that SUB has high academic standards that give us added value compared with the regular students in Leeuwarden.  #BeProud

New knowledge gained, new friends made!
Continuing Stenden’s legacy from past experiences, Stenden is, again, the only university represented by international students, while the other hotel schools are mostly Dutch. This year, Stenden send 2 Germans – whom one of them recently won the European Mise en Place Cup 2015 (, 1 Honduran/Swedish and not to forget Gaby and I from Indonesia. Interestingly, this has always been Stenden’s value where all international students get equal opportunity to attend various events and programmes offered. It is, in fact, unity in diversity!

Networking lunch
So far, I have attended the first introductory session hosted by Saxion University in Apeldoorn on Friday, 13 February. 2 hours away by car from Leeuwarden, the journey was truly worthy as I have learnt a lot of new, interesting things such as the design thinking method. Besides, I have also met my fellow (future) young hoteliers and professors from the different schools in which we share about how the education differs amongst the schools. As the only guy in the team, I feel so privileged working with friendly and intelligent ladies from Hotelschool The Hague, Saxion University, NHTV Breda and Hotelschool Maastricht respectively. 

In the next four monthly sessions, my team will mostly research on the future of hospitality industry in cities under the supervision of Dr Karoline Wiegerink from Hotelschool The Hague and Dr Albert Postma from Stenden University. At the end of the day, the final product of this programme will be a research paper as well as a presentation, which adds value to the hospitality industry. Overall, new knowledge gained, new friends made!

Student giving presentation at HEP
At last but surely not least, we as Stenden representatives are looking forward for the upcoming session on Thursday, 12 March and Friday, 13 March, which we will host it this time! With an overnight stay in our beloved Stenden Hotel, I am so excited to welcome these people and show the arts of hospitality in Leeuwarden, which might include party as well J. All in all, it was, is and going to be a HEPpy time!

For further information:
KHN Official Website:

Association of Dutch Hotel Management School Official Website:

Thursday, 12 March 2015

My Stenden Journey of a Thousand Miles - by Wadzanayi Chitambo (part 5)


This time Wadzi tells us about her first ever 'White Christmas', exploring Eastern Europe and having her first snow experience!

At last the long awaited white Christmas...

All my life I dreamt of a white Christmas just like any other kid out there would, and finally now that I was in Europe for the festive holidays I had the chance to experience it. There really is a distinct difference of one’s Christmas spirit when living in warm climatic conditions in December when compared to those in cold climatic conditions. I suppose a white Christmas is just a norm which has been imbedded into our heads by the society and other influential things such as television. Without further ado, I will let you walk down memory lane with my to Christmas holiday of 2014.

Traditional European advent's drink
It was all well planned by my dear friend András from the time we were still in Bali, we spoke about spending Christmas in Szombathely, Hungary with his folks. This has to have been the best excursions of my life, with my feet touching the ground in 6 European countries in a space of 2 weeks. During the course of the trip we drove through Germany, Hungary, Austria, Slovakia, Czech Republic and lastly Poland being the final stop whereby we would commence the New Year.

On the first night of our journey we stopped over in a small town in Germany for the night and to get into the Christmas mood, we went to the Christmas market in the village. This was something I had not experienced before, families wondering around outdoors having a jolly good time, with a live orchestra staged to sing Christmas carols and anyone was welcome to join in the carolling. 

Christmas lights at the German market
There were stalls selling all kinds of antiques, decorations, and most importantly foodJ. From the famous German currywurst, to Finnish cuisine to even Chinese noodles. Hot beverages were also on sale to keep everyone warm as it was still a cold winter night, with the likes of hot chocolate, tea, coffee, mulled wine and hot beer, yes! HOT BEER! That also took me by surprise, never had I thought such a thing existed. The ambiance in this place was astounding, from the sound of the violins and trumpets, the Christmas lights and decorations on the olden day German architecture, the smell of all the delicious food, children running around and the sound of families coming together and having a splendid time.

Thereafter we headed back to the hotel to rest and were off early in the morning as we still had a long journey ahead of us. After a couple hours of driving we finally reached Hungary and were in András’ hometown. It truly is a nice feeling to see where your friend grew up. After long awaited rest and seeing as Szombathely is located alongside the Austrian/Hungarian border, we drove to Vienna the next day for some final gift shopping.
Ready to explore Vienna's Christmas market

Sunset in Vienna
Vienna is a beautiful and very clean city, the architecture again was beautiful and the shopping street with all the crème de la crème brands you can think of. There was of course a Christmas market in Vienna as well, and this was much fancier than the previous with very extravagant decorations and lights. It was great to try the famous Wiener schnitzel in one of Vienna’s fine dining restaurants as well as some Vienna sausage. It really is mind-blowing how you can grow up eating something then finally get the chance to eat an original version of it from the place it originates from. With that being said I was then on a quest to try or the famous traditional meals in the places we visited, meals such as the famous Hungarian Goulash, Polish dumplings and the likes.

After all the Christmas shopping was done, then came Christmas itself. Nothing more heart-warming than being surrounded by loved ones on such a special day, although I was not with my family, it really did feel like family regardless of the DNA, A home away from home I would like to call it. A big feast was made with wrapped Christmas presents around the tree. Almost started to believe in Santa again. Being surrounded by people from all different nations, Indonesia, Zimbabwe, Hungary, and Poland, this way getting to know how one holiday can be celebrated differently in other parts of the world. It truly was a moving experience.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Gifts galore
It didn’t snow on the 25th, so I was feeling sad that I wouldn’t get to experience snow. However on the 26th the tables turned and it began to snow. It was a dream come true, it felt like a Christmas miracle. When we noticed it had begun to snow I quickly ran outside with so much excitement. And all I found myself saying was WOW, WOW, and WOW! It was absolutely sublime, I had the biggest grin on my face as it was my very first time seeing snow. To my surprise I found myself crying tears of joy, most definitely the best and most cherishable moment. As the other people I was with had experienced snow before they were amused by my reaction. We then began to play in the snow, throwing snowballs at each other, I really felt like a kid again. This is an experience I will treasure for the rest of my life. 

Enjoying Christmas

My first snow!!

Snowballing at night

The Danube river
The best of Hungarian spa

In the following days we did some sight-seeing in Budapest, walking through the royal palace, fisherman’s bastille, crossing the Danube. We found that in Hungary most of the towns have hot thermal water, and this is a big trend in Hungary after having 150 years of Turkish occupation to take advantage of these thermal baths for body treatment purposes. With that being said we visited the Szechenyi spa one of the most famous spa’s for body treatment purposes.

After Christmas was over we continued the journey to Poland and visited a town called Wroclaw – the city of a hundred bridges which is a town with a lot of German influence in terms of German architecture. Thereafter we moved on to Warsaw the capital whereby we spent our New Years. It was of opinion that a very small portion of the old town city survived, and the remaining being metropolitan. This making it one of most modern European city with an enormous amount of skyscrapers. It’s been really interesting to see that part of Europe and being able to distinguish differences between the several European countries. This has just been an insight of the many opportunities I have been granted by going to Stenden. The ability to have a multicultural lifestyle, study as well as see the world. So go ahead, embark on this journey and also begin walking through your Stenden journey of a thousand miles.

Budapest by night

Photo credit to Andras Szemes, follow him on Instagram (@szemesa) for more beautiful pictures of our journey.

Downtown Warsaw

A charming Polish café

The mandatory road trip selfie

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

My Stenden Journey of a Thousand Miles - by Wadzanayi Chitambo (part 4)

Studying in the heart of Europe, in the student town of Leeuwarden in the Netherlands, gives our blogger Wadzi many opportunities to discover more of Europe. In this blog she describes her trip to Paris, accompanied by her fellow 'Bali' students. Mile by mile eventually all European roads lead to Paris....

All European roads lead to Paris

There is an expression that you can not say you have been to Europe without having visited Paris. That seems like a cliché, but like many others I had always dreamt of going to Paris. It arguably is one of the most famous and monumental cities in the world. Lucky for me, I am so blessed to have my beloved friends Shantika and Andras, who took the courtesy of making this dream come true by surprising me with a trip to Paris on my 20th birthday. The ability to travel freely in and out most of the countries in the European Union also happens to be one of the many perks of having a Schengen visa.
Casual blending at Notre Dame

The great thing about studying in a first world country is that there is an abundance of modes of transport one can make use of, for instance train, car, bus and plane. With that being said we found it to be most feasible to travel by car, plus it would make an awesome road trip. To be honest, I actually had no clue what this journey had in store for me or where exactly we were headed. I had just been instructed to pack my bags for the weekend and was told that we were going on an adventure. So it almost felt like a kidnap, but the good kind, if there is such a thing. It took me by surprise to finally arrive in Paris and could not believe that I was really there in flesh. Words alone can not explain the feeling of excitement and how overwhelmed I was at this moment and time. It really did feel like a dream come true.

Eiffel Tower. Beautiful by day, beautiful by night
As a perfect way to start off our little excursion, we took a visit to the Eiffel Tower right after having arrived. It was just as beautiful as I had imagined, but much more elevated, as if it would scrape the stars in the sky! It looked as though it was made of a tonne steel laces. It is an unwritten rule that one must visit the Eiffel Tower should they ever find themselves in Paris. I myself can relate to this, as it is one of the monuments in the world that should be at the top of your to-do-list and /or bucket list.

French architecture at its best

The school timetable and workload from Stenden is not so hectic. It still gives you a little bit of room to squeeze in some leisure activities as a way to loosen up and get some time off from the books and enjoy. That way you can make the most of your university life. A wise man once told me that there is no point of studying in Europe if you are not going to explore it whilst you are there. Which is indeed a valid point as it also becomes part of the World of Opportunities that Stenden offers. What better way but to study and explore the world at the same time. Such exposure will also be of great use in the future, as a person who has seen more of the world is most likely to be familiar with working and adapting to all sorts of different cultures and backgrounds. Being culturally intelligent is a quality that is increasingly becoming a necessity in today’s hospitality industry.

Some say the grass always looks greener on the other side and it certainly did look great in Paris, if I do say so myself. The architecture alone was mind-blowing, all the inscriptions and carvings on the buildings show the artistic culture of the city. The weather was also great, as the colours of autumn were starting to show on the trees, with some of the autumn leaves already falling. This makes the walk down to the Arc de Triomphe even more enjoyable. It was like brands galore walking down Champs-Élysées, a street full of all the brands one can imagine. This would make a perfect illustration of a shopaholics  heaven.

It is such an extraordinary feeling to be able to witness and explore these national monuments that you once learned about in history classes, read about in novels or seen on television. It was as though history was being awakened, being able to walk through the Louvre museum, which happens to be one of the world’s largest museums. The Louvre is situated in Paris’ first district and exhibits nearly 35,000 objects from prehistory to the 21st century. It is also famous for being the home to Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, as well as for being the humble abode of King Louis XIV. It was such a great opportunity to visit this monument and to thereafter enjoying a picnic in the Louvre Palace’s garden.

This trip to Paris was just a glimpse of Europe and I honestly cannot wait to travel more around Europe and explore all the other monuments out there. That experience will most certainly be shared in the upcoming blogs, as a tribute to my Stenden journey of a thousand miles. Till then…

Photo Credit to Andras Szemes, follow him on Instagram (@szemesa) for more stunning pictures like these.
Raspberry selfies on the road.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

My Stenden Journey of a Thousand Miles - by Wadzanayi Chitambo (part 3)

Just one month after her arrival in The Netherlands to study there for one year, our blogger Wadzi had the unique opportunity to meet and greet with the Dutch Minister of Education to talk about a subject that's top of mind at Stenden as well; internationalisation of education. As being the forerunner in the field of internationalisation in The Netherlands, Stenden had the honour to host this important event at the Leeuwarden campus.

Rendezvous with the Minister

Meeting the Minister
On Monday the 6th of October the Dutch Minister of Education, Science and Culture - Jet Bussemaker – visited the Stenden campus in Leeuwarden as a first stop on her tour around the country to gather input for her strategic agenda of the coming 4 years (HO tour). The theme I was questioned about was ‘Internationalisation and Regionalisation’ amongst the students fulfilling their tertiary education. A handful of students were invited to join these discussions as what better way to know more about the students than to ask them for their thoughts and ideas in regards to the Dutch education system. Rainer Prasetiya (Stenden Bali student), Daniel Zents (Stenden South Africa student) and I ,Wadzanayi Samantha Chitambo (Stenden Bali student) were invited to join this special event and pitch our ideas as well as give testimonials about our experiences in regards to Internationalisation.

Stenden's competent rebels attentive to the panel discussions
This event was a great honour and opportunity to be a part of, as I highly doubt I have ever seen such a person of high authority like a Minister face to face yet alone be given a stand to pitch ideas to as well as converse and have lunch with. Furthermore, the day was opened up by the Chairman of the Stenden Board of Directors ‘Mr. Leendert Klaassen’, and thereafter a speech from Minister Bussemaker talking about her aim to aid and enhance the education given to the students in the Netherlands who she referred to as ‘competent rebels’ - rebels, who are able to respond to future problems of the world by thinking critically and being creative.

It's my turn!
Although it was nerve racking to address the hundreds of people that were seated in the Auditorium it was indeed a great privilege to share my experiences with all of them. I opened up my testimonial by saying, “Humans were made to travel and not to remain stagnant as if that was the case we would have roots instead of feet”, which is also the same quote I used in my very first blog. This quote seems to have deemed meaningful to some of the audience. The audience consisted of a few students from other Universities, the Stenden Board of Directors, General Managers form all Stenden campus sites, Academic Deans and teachers from other Dutch educational institutions. Additionally, I shared to the audience that I had chosen to study in an international environment and so far away from home as I wanted to step out of my comfort zone and become a more independent young lady as well as learn about different cultures thus resulting in become more and more cultural intelligent.

Rainer went on to say that he wanted to be a window to two different cultures so that as a foreigner he can learn a thing or two from the locals and vice versa. This way he would also be able to share his experiences at home and urge others to go out into the world and follow their dreams.
The Indonesian Ambassador visiting the campus
This is indeed one of the unique attributes Stenden University possesses as students have the opportunity to learn in a multicultural environment as well as the chance to study abroad in the 5 campus sites around the globe. Another aspect is the ability to be able to meet with people of high authority which is always a good once in a life time opportunity. My fellow Indonesian students studying in Leeuwarden for example had the opportunity to meet the Indonesian Ambassador who visited our campus some time ago.

Extra all about it!

Many interesting discussions were made on this day with topics such as Student inbound and outbound mobility, Internationalization and Regionalisation and 21st century skills. These discussions led to the conclusion from the Minister that, “the opportunity to self-explore and to experiment motivates students to take courage and to step out of their comfort zone which is a very important part of higher education and one of the 21st century skills students need to possess.” 

Furthermore, it was a great honour for Stenden and those involved on the day to have been the first to host the Minister and assist with giving relevant information that could be useful for her strategic agenda for the education system in the upcoming years. This event also made headlines the next day on page 4 of the national Newspaper which was a great achievement for me to make headlines as well as be quoted in the text, which really was a once in a lifetime opportunity and all thanks to Stenden for making this possible!

Saturday, 18 October 2014

My Stenden Journey of a Thousand Miles - by Wadzanayi Chitambo (part 2)

Are you wondering where you will be staying when you go to The Netherlands for one year? Our blogger from Stenden University Bali, Wadzi, is currently studying there and explains all about her new house in Leeuwarden, a home away from home, again illustrated with lovely pictures from Andras. 

My humble abode in NL 

The student accommodation where I am staying
Oftentimes I wondered, where will I stay during my one year of study in the Netherlands? This was something that I couldn’t get off my mind during my preparations for my stay in Leeuwarden. Although Stenden had provided a website by which we could seek accommodation, it is indeed much harder to rely on just pictures as opposed to something you have seen first-hand, which was my main difficulty of finalising my accommodation. Some say looks can be deceiving but I am here to tell you that that is not always the case. 

Selfie time!

 Hereby, I present you a glimpse of what you can expect from the accommodation in Leeuwarden. As you can see in the picture, we are all smiles in a selfie taken from my neighbour’s bathroom. Currently we are living in a brand new building across the Stenden campus which is developed in close cooperation with Stenden to facilitate the international student community. It is in a very convenient location as it is no more than a minute walk from the campus as well as the gym and the campus café which are also located across the Stenden building. Being 50 metres away from the gym gives one no excuse to not work out and keep fit, and being so close to the campus café is great for meeting up with friends for a nice coffee as well as a cosy place to discuss group module assignments.

A gorgeous sunrise - a sight to wake up every day
Not only is this student accommodation located near the campus, thus making it easier for you to attend those early morning lectures, but it is also just a 15 minute walk to the city centre as well as a 5 minute walk from the local supermarket Albert Heijn. This being very convenient as you can always squeeze in a little grocery shopping before or after classes. Waking up early for an 8 am class is not always ideal but there is almost always a perk to those early morning classes as you get to experience this spectacular view of the sun rising from your window. This is one of the most beautiful views I have experienced during my time here as the colours that come before the sun breaks through the clouds are astonishing.

Peaceful canal and park just a few steps away from the campus
In addition to the great location of this student accommodation, there is also a park just next to the building where you could go for a picnic on a nice sunny day, a walk or even to read a book. It is a great place to clear your mind and there are also many ducks that swim in the canal nearby as well as the ponds that are in the park. As rare as it is there are also two very beautiful black swans that are always swimming in the canal beside the student building.

There is a wide range of accommodations available in Leeuwarden, but it is the general opinion that our place is the best start up accommodation for all the newcomers in Leeuwarden as it is so close to all the places you may find yourself visiting in the first few months of your stay. More so, 6 of the Bali students are currently living in this building as well as other students from the Stenden Qatar and Thailand campus sites who are also doing their 60 EC programme (which means that they need 60 European credits in the Netherlands to get their Dutch BBA). There are also many other nationalities that live in the building such as Finish, Hungarian, British, Romanian and many more as it is an international student housing which will make it easier for you to make many more friends and adapt to the multicultural environment.

The bike shed
As biking is one of the biggest trends in the Netherlands there is a bike shed in the building where by you can park your bikes. There are also other modes of transport that you can use in Leeuwarden such as the bus or trains to travel to the other towns. However, the bicycle is always handy for when you want to pop into the city centre or visit a friend’s place. There are also a few bikes that they rent out to the inhabitants of this building.

High tech in-house laundry room
Even though doing your laundry is in general not the most fun thing to do, it can still be very entertaining at this student building as they not only provide a well equipped laundry room, that has more than enough washing machines, dryers, irons and ironing boards available for your use, but also a television set for your entertainment whilst you do your chores, thus making it more fun and enjoyable.

Additionally the room that I live in at the moment is a furnished studio apartment which has an en-suite bathroom and a private kitchen, all set in safe environment. This building is also paying attention to sustainability – it’s one of the most sustainable student accommodations in The Netherlands – by using solar panels as well as vacuum toilets like the ones onboard in aircrafts which do not use as much water. Furthermore you can also rent a television if you wish to as well as some equipment for your room such as cutlery, pots, plates towels and all the other necessities you will need during your stay. I am truly happy that I have found a nice home away from home where I can spend my year in the Netherlands comfortably and secure close to my fellow Bali students and international student community.

My gorgeous studio

For more information on the accommodation feel free to email or visit the accommodation website I will now enjoy a week of holiday, till next time!

Photography credit to Andras Szemes (Follow him on Instagram for more amazing pictures like these @szemesa)

Thursday, 25 September 2014

My Stenden Journey of a Thousand Miles - by Wadzanayi Chitambo (part 1)

Enjoying Garuda Indonesia’s in-flight hospitality on the way to Amsterdam
Wadzanayi Chitambo, or Wadzi in short, is currently in her second year of the International Hospitality Management programme at Stenden University Bali. Originally from Zimbabwe, she moved to Bali in 2013 and is keen to explore the overseas opportunities offered by Stenden. This September, she took off to The Netherlands where she will be studying for one year. This article is just the beginning of her exciting journey, her ‘Stenden Journey of a Thousand Miles’. Her story will be illustrated with pictures taken by Andras Szemes, our 2nd year student from Hungary with a passion for photography and traveling. You can expect an update on a regular basis. Enjoy!

It’s just the beginning…

Stenden campus building - student cafe

Humans were not made to remain stagnant and stay in one place. If that was the case we would have had roots instead of feet and with that being said we should travel and see more and as much of the world as possible. Fortunately enough for us, the Stenden University Bali students, we have been given this lifetime opportunity to travel and study all at the same time. As required by the Dutch government that if one should attain a Dutch degree, they should complete 60 Elective Credits in the Netherlands which represents a full academic year. This rule is what marked my and my fellow peers’ Stenden Journey of a Thousand Miles as I would like to call it.

My very personal airport pick up service by my besties from Stenden Bali. Next stop is Leeuwarden.
It's me in the middle!

It’s funny how quickly time goes by, it feels like just yesterday I was commencing my studies in Bali and now already a year has gone by and here we are doing our second year in the city of Leeuwarden, which is located in the northern part of the Netherlands. It was a breath taking experience moving to Europe for the very first time in my life. What better way to have started my stay here other than being picked up from the airport by my two closest friends and Bali classmates Shantika Yusuf (Indonesian) and Andras Szemes (Hungarian).

Sports day in Leeuwarden sports stadium

Study Start Week ON!
With this in mind I already felt at home and knew that I would enjoy the rest of my year here. More so, my arrival was just a few days before the Study Start Week which was a mandatory introduction programme for all the new students to attend, which also included us, the Stenden Bali students. Although we weren’t knew to Stenden in general (as being 2nd year students) we were still new to the Leeuwarden campus and had to familiarize ourselves with it. Luckily enough we were placed in the same group for the Study Start Week. It was a mind-blowing experience to enter this beautiful and enormous campus as well as seeing several hundreds of students. I found it very hard to believe that these where students who were starting their first year yet alone that these were the ones in the Hotel Management faculty only! I was mesmerised to even begin to imagine what a normal day at school would look and feel like with all the other second year and third year students from all the other faculties such as International Business and Management Studies, Travel and Leisure management and so forth.

Togetherness with Thai, South African, Dutch fellow students
It was great meeting all the students from Stenden’s other campus sites (South Africa, Thailand and Qatar) who were also studying for one year in the Netherlands or joining the Grand Tour for 1 or 2 modules. With the Bali students being the biggest bunch within the group it felt just like being at home and being reunited again at a new destination. Words alone could not explain the joy and excitement that was in the air. In addition the hosts of our group had been students we had met in Bali before as they had done their Grand Tour there in previous modules (Felix and Rutger). Initially we were the biggest group in the Study Start Week with over 20 people and a variety of different nationalities. It was a very multicultural bunch with people from all across the globe (Indonesia, Hungary, Romania, Finland, Germany, Thailand, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Qatar, Syria, Tunisia, Russia and The Netherlands). It was almost as if everyone was from a different place, which made it interesting to get to know each other and share our stories.

The Study Start Week was packed with so many fun-filled activities that made us bond and come together as a unit. Activities such as the Sports-day, Barbeque, Red Club Party, Introduction games, Lunch, City Tour, Into the Wild festival, Master-classes and many more. Although the Study Start Week came to an end and we are now divided over different classes and modules (not to mention being busy with  assignments and school work), we are all still in touch and occasionally meet up for dinner and all. 

Feeling homesick for Bali – but a yummy nasi goreng with abon 
and tempe goreng allways takes us back…and keep us happy

Talking about food, recently we have discovered an Indonesian supermarket that sells all the typical products such as tempeh, mie, nasi, sapiabon and many other ingredients that are needed in the Indonesian cuisine. This is great as when we are missing Bali we can still get some umami for dinner, a nice homemade nasi goreng with some tempeh or beef rendang and anything else you may be craving on that day. This is really heart-warming for all those cold and gloomy days that we often feel home sick, there is this always a nice and spicy Indonesian dish to turn the frown upside down.

A windy day in Amsterdam


Warm summer day by the canal

          It’s already almost a month of being in Leeuwarden and many memories have been made and still so many to come. We have had some entertaining days in the city centre, walking around and shopping, having a coffee and so on. Even making the best of every moment, although the weather is not always the best but we still manage to have fun and keep a smile on our faces.

Andras just purchased something very prescious in the local supermarket

There are also many activities to keep ourselves occupied such as travelling to other cities, countries, gym just across the campus site, sports hall with a wide range of sporting facilities from futsal, basketball, swimming etc. for all the sport lovers out there, cycling or walking in the park or by the canals, cinema’s and many more.

I honestly cannot wait to see what more my Stenden Journey of a Thousand Miles has in store for me and I look forward to it. It really is a blessing at my age to have such a great opportunities and such awesome experiences. Thank you Stenden University Bali for making this possible. It’s just the beginning, tot ziens! (which is Dutch for ‘see you later’).

By Wadzanayi Chitambo 

Photography credit to Andras Szemes (follow him on Instagram for more amazing pictures like these @szemesa)