martes, 25 de abril de 2017

How to get a bicycle

If you are going to live for a while in The Netherlands, the bicycle is going to be essential for you to go anywhere. It doesn't matter how much it rains or how cold it is, the bus or the cab will be your last choice. Thereby, here we show you the most economic ways you can get a bike:
  • Second hand shops: it is not too recommendable to purchase a new bike if you are an Erasmus student. Besides, bikes thefts are quite common and the better your bike is the more likely it is to disappear. Therefore, there are many second hand shops where prices can vary from 70€ to 160€ aproximately. This kind of shops usually buy students' bikes for a low price, then fix them and sell them again. If you keep the bill ticket, you may return it to the shop when you are leaving The Netherlands, you will earn more selling it to another student though. This is the shop in which I bought my bike in Nijmegen:
  • Bikes for sale by other students: at the end of every semester students who finish their stay at The Netherlands generally sell their bikes to other students. Prices are very economic, from 40€ to 90€ aproximately. You can find advertisements in international students Facebook groups and in the entrances of student residences. This is definitely the cheapest way to get a bicycle, although you will assume the risk of buying a stolen bike. 
IMPORTANT: don't purchase the cheapest lock, it is worth spending some money on it. And make sure you ALWAYS lock your bike, even if you only have to buy some bread.  

Cómo conseguir una bici

Si vas a vivir en Holanda durante una temporada la bicicleta te va a resultar imprescindible para ir a cualquier lado. No importa lo mucho que llueva o el frío que haga, el autobús o el taxi van a ser casi siempre tu última alternativa. Por eso, te dejamos a continuación los medios más económicos en los que puedes conseguir una bicicleta:
  • Tiendas de segunda mano: no es demasiado recomendable comprar una bici nueva si eres un estudiante Erasmus. Además, los robos de bicicletas son muy habituales y cuanto mejor sea la bici más probabilidades hay de que desaparezca. Por lo tanto, abundan las tiendas de bicicletas de segunda mano donde los precios varían desde los 70€ hasta los 160€ aproximadamente. Este tipo de tiendas generalmente compran las bicis que han usado los estudiantes a un precio bajo, las reparan y las vuelven a vender. Es posible que guardando la factura puedas volver a vender tu bici a la propia tienda al finalizar tu estancia en Holanda, aunque ganarás más vendiéndosela a otro estudiante. Esta es la tienda en la que compré mi bici en Nijmegen:
  • Bicis en venta por otros estudiantes: generalmente al final de cada semestre los estudiantes que finalizan su estancia en Holanda venden sus bicicletas a otros estudiantes por un precio muy asequible, desde los 40€ hasta los 90€ aproximadamente. Puedes encontrar anuncios en páginas de Facebook de estudiantes internacionales y en las entradas de las residencias de estudiantes principalmente. Este es sin duda el medio más barato de conseguir tu bici, aunque correrás el riesgo de que te vendan una bici robada. Abajo se encuentra un ejemplo de este tipo de anuncios.
IMPORTANTE: no compres el candado más barato, compensa gastarse un dinero en él. Y canda tu bici SIEMPRE, aunque solo vayas a comprar el pan.

jueves, 6 de abril de 2017

The Netherlands by train

Spanish version of the post

As we mentioned in previous posts, The Netherlands counts with an important transport network. The train (NS Netherlands) is generally the main transport mean the Erasmus students travel by. There are different ways of getting train tickets, although we show the most common ways for either students or tourists here:

Resultado de imagen de ns netherlands train

  1. Individual ticket: if you are visiting The Netherlands for a few days, this is the simplest option. Individual tickets can be purchased at train stations. A single individual ticket usually costs a bit more (about one more euro per ticket) than one bougth with the OV-Chipkaart.
  2. Group tickets: there is also the possibility to buy tickets even among 10 people. These tickets are way cheaper than the others and also the most economic and recommendable for Erasmus students (Dutch students usually have a special student card). In order to create 10 people groups there are Facebook groups where someone with a DUTCH BANK ACCOUNT purchases all the tickets once the rest of participants has sent him/her a screenshot which confirms the transference is made. These tickets are for a round trip and you MUST print them, if you do not the fine is of 50€.
  3. OV-Chipkaart: you can purchase this card at NS at train stations, as well as at other places as Albert Heijn (supermarket) etc. and its cost is about 16€. You can charge the card at the machines located at train stations and the minimum balance you need for the train is of 20€. Besides, you can use this card for the bus too and in this case, the minimum balance available has to be of 5€.

So as you can see the difference among tickets price, here we show the prices of a round trip ticket Nijmegen-Amsterdam (march 2017):
  1. Individual ticket: 19´90€ to go + 19´90€ return = 39´80€
  2. Group ticket (being 10 people): 7€ round trip
  3. OV-Chipkaart: 18´90€ to go + 18´90€ return = 37´80€
Don't worry about the time your tickets are available, you can use them at any time of the day. However, do bear in mind that at rush hours (6 or 7 in the evening) the wagons are usually full and you might have to make your way either stand up or sit down in the stairs. Anyway, no supervisor will tell you to leave the train. 

As a couriosity we would add that the organization NS Netherlands is the first railway company that has accomplished the goal of making its trains work a 100% with the wind power. This is a fact Dutch people can be proud of, because this is a measurement that reinforces the country's responsibility with the environment.

sábado, 1 de abril de 2017

Estudiantes y ancianos / Students and the elderly

La residencia de ancianos "Humanitas" en Deventer, Holanda, ha encontrado la solución a la soledad que pueden sentir los residentes. Tal y como se ve en el vídeo, los ancianos pueden disfrutar de la compañía y vitalidad de jóvenes estudiantes con los que comparten la residencia.

The residential care facility "Humanitas" located in Deventer, The Netherlands, has figured out how to avoid the loneliness that the elderly can feel. This video shows how the elderly can enjoy the company and vitality of the young students with whom they share the residence.