Wageningen is a small town of about 35,000 inhabitants in the region of Gelderland. It is about half an hour by train from Utrecht and one hour from Amsterdam. The town is cozy, without traffic jams, full of green areas, and very international. Cycling is definitely the best way to get around the town, especially because University buildings are widespread around the town and often students have to move quickly from one part of the town to another in order to follow classes held in different places. The Wageningen UR web-page “What’s going on in Wageningen?” is a good starting point to familiarize with food, shopping, associations, sports, language courses, Science Cafè, etc. Besides that, the on-line journal RESOURCE keeps students and employees updated about living and studying in Wageningen.
The Academic year is divided in 6 periods and attending 2 courses per period is common. There are 4 periods lasting 8 weeks (6 weeks of lectures, 1 self-study week, and 1 exam week) and 2 shorter periods in January and February consisting of 4 weeks of lectures followed by exams. Students are supposed to read in advance the material lecturers are going to explain, take part actively to classes, and performing individual and group assignments. All exams are written and grades are out of 10. For the academic year calendar, public holidays, deadlines for courses registration and graduation schedules please refer to this link.
Although Wageningen does not have its own railway station, it is well connected to the one located in Ede (a larger town 6 km north from Wageningen) by an efficient bus network (frequency is about 4 bus per hour).
For those that are reaching the Netherlands by plane the best options are:
- Amsterdam International Airport (Schiphol) for flight operated by the main Airlines (KLM or Alitalia) and by some low-cost airlines (Transavia and Easyjet);
- Eindhoven and Weeze (Düsseldorf) airports for other low-cost companies (mainly Ryanair).
Amsterdam airport has its own train station just outside the terminal from which it is possible to take trains to Ede-Wageningen station (direction Arnhem/Nijmegen). Eindhoven airport is connected with the railway station by bus 401 leaving just outside the terminal. From Eindhoven station it is possible to reach Ede-Wageningen station in about 80 minutes (change in Utrecht needed).
Weeze airport is connected to the Netherlands (Arnhem trains station) by bus lines.
Wageningen University (WU) provides (through Idealis), accommodations for Double Degree students, but not for Erasmus students who should look for themselves (although WU gives them a list of possible places to go to).
WU has one of the best Sport Centres in the Netherlands in which is possible to perform any kind of sport from squash to yoga classes. A Student's Sport Card can be bought at the Sport Centre and costs about 60 € per year. About 70% of the students, as well as professors, hang out the Sport Centre.
In Wageningen there are some students' associations (KSV, SSR-W, Unitas, Ceres) that organize party's and social activities, mainly on Thursdays. Each of those students' association has its own canteen in which it is possible to have both lunch and dinner (although a little bit early for the Italian standards!). In order to benefit of all the advantages these associations give to students (discounts for party's tickets, meals...) it is needed to subscribe to one of them at the beginning of the year.
Associations for international students organizing parties, courses and excursions all year long and welcoming everybody in any moment of the year are: ISOW and the Erasmus students association IxESN. Moreover there are some "Study Associations" that group students taking the same Masters' programme such as Mercurius Wageningen for students studying Management, Economics and Consumers Studies. When looking for second hand staff (bikes, furniture, books,…) it is wise having a look at the Facebook group “Wageningen Student Plaza”, which nowadays has more than 5000 members. Another useful Facebook group for students looking for a place to stay is “Wageningen Room Subrent”.
Twice a year (August and February) Wageningen UR, with the help of the students' associations, organizes the so called "Annual Introduction Week" that is a week full of fun activities that help new students to get familiar with the University and all its features. Participation is highly recommended! At the beginning of your adventure as new student you have to perform a lot of things: bureaucracy, enrolment papers... and if you came only few days before the start of the lecture you will not to be able to do anything in the right way. In this week you will learn where facilities are located, where to buy what, where to ask for and you can do it enjoying yourself!
Of course AID is a great chance to make new friends: each student is assigned to a group led by two senior students who will shepherd you during all the activities.