Written by Sebastian Peichl

Everything started in July 2017 when -completely unexpected- on a sunny Friday afternoon I got an email from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam stating that I was admitted to the master’s degree I applied for. Shortly after I received the announcement that I could apply for different housing options without knowing the adventure that was waiting for me!

First of all, and while studying the different housing options I frightened my mother by showing her pictures of bathrooms with one sink next to another that were shared between twelve people and reminded of a prison. After tranquilizing her, I had to apply online for the place that I wanted to get: a cosy room right in front of a small canal, which was shared with one other roommate.
Nevertheless, when the moment of truth came I was shocked, because the housing website was not working. As housing was assigned on a “first come first serve basis” I already started asking myself if I would end up sleeping under a bridge. Sleepless and tense hours later, the website finally started working again and I could reserve a room. But, let’s say that it did not work out as planned. I did not get the room I wanted to, but, guess what? I did not get the cosy room in front of a canal, but the very room with the prison like shared bathroom with which I frightened my mother!

When I finally arrived in Amsterdam I had to orientate myself within a giant residence for 3,400 students (one if the biggest in Europe!) that has everything from its own supermarket, bars and a barbeque place up to a cultural centre. Later, I found myself in front of a big brownish building that did not precisely boost my confidence. But, when I entered the flat and, especially, my room all the worries were suddenly gone. I was standing in a brand new renovated room with everything that I needed, even an own fridge. Even more astonishing, was my view from the sixth floor on the campus of the residence with its canals and green areas. I was so happy that not even the shared bathroom discouraged me anymore.

Next, my eleven roommates as well as the ones from the other floors started arriving and an unforgettable time began. When you are abroad it is incredible how many people from how many different countries you get to know in just four to six months. But, it is even more incredible how many of them go from being a complete stranger to being most intimate friends or even “family”. Without even noticing it you go from a casual chat to having joint dinners practically every day and exploring Amsterdam and The Netherlands together.

Coming to an end, I must say that this non working website is the very best thing that could have ever happened to me and that I could not have fallen more in love with this flat and its prison like looking bathroom. It was not only the starting point to so many new friendships and unforgettable moments, but to the very best time of my life.