Between internationals, three laptops and a lot of beer
By Anja Gehring
“Sorry, guys. Just one more minute! Can I maybe borrow someone’s laptop? Would be nice, man!” One of the students hands his laptop to the guy with the microphone, the rest of the bar is still waiting for the night to start – the first ones are getting impatient. It’s 20:50 now, the quiz should have started at 20:30. At least the music starts playing again. And the beer never stopped flowing.
It’s Tuesday night, the ISN Pubquiz takes place in Amstelhaven, a small bar on a boat near the Campus of the Hogeschool van Amsterdam. The Quiz was meant to start at 20:30, pretty early for the Amsterdam nightlife, so the bar is not too crowded – at least not if you compare it to other Erasmus activities. And, of course, there are a lot of different nationalities. Some Spanish girls are sitting next to a Canadian boy and one from Sweden, comparing the prizes of beer in their home country – a famous activity for Erasmus students. “Wow, you really pay 5 Euros for one beer in Stockholm? That’s so crazy!”, Maria can’t believe it. “Yeah. When I am in Amsterdam, at least I have some money left to invite beautiful girls”, he blinks, she follows him to the bar.
At about 21 the guy with the microphone, he turns out to be the organizer of the whole quiz and a member of ISN, is asking the crowd for another laptop – apparently, he can’t open the document with the quiz. “Oh, come on, why do they even call themselves organizer? It’s always the same!” one boy from Italy mumbles, adds one second later after a German boy passes by with two pinches of beer “never mind, at least there’s enough alcohol”.
The International student network of Amsterdam organizes a lot of activities for the, as the name says, international students – “to make your semester abroad the best time of your life” it says on their Facebook page. Each semester, there are activities like disco bowling, karaoke nights, visits to Rotterdam or Utrecht, maybe even Prague. And of course a lot of parties. ISN is organized by different Dutch students, mostly by the ones who love to party themselves.
As the third laptop turns out to be the hero of the night and the quiz finally appears on one of the walls, the crowd cheers. Martin, the microphone-boy, interprets a song of P!nk: “Let’s get this party started…”. You can tell he’s a good entertainer – obviously, you have to be when you want to manage hundreds of drunk Erasmus students. “Before it starts, I want to make one thing clear: if you’re Spanish, don’t scream the answer around like crazy, just write it down like everyone else”. A Spanish girl looks disappointed, the others are laughing. Meanwhile, another ISN student gives every group a blank piece of paper to write their name on and later the answers to each question. The teams are usually made out of four to five people, some knew each other before, others didn’t.
“Hey, so where are you from?” a girl asks the boy who just got part of her group.
“I’m from Ireland”
“Oooooh, I can’t believe it, me toooo! Let’s go have a beer, boy”
Apparently, it doesn’t need much to make new friends when you’re an Erasmus student. As the Quiz finally starts, around one hour late, some of the students are already drunk.
“Okay, wow. Can someone please read the first question? The letters are moving” Martin is asking for help. He really seems to enjoy his job.