Life Hacks in Rotterdam


Now that all of you students have arrived, have sorted things out with your accommodation and are living your first months as University students, it is time to gift you with a few insider tips on how to hijack life in Rotterdam and start living by your own rules. My own – and millions of others’ experiences – have given life to the following list of life hacks that you are invited to follow and not underestimate.

#1 Kruidvat: Buy two for the price of one

Beauty products/toiletries are definitely one thing you are going to spend money on at least once a month. Why pay extra money when Kruidvat offers good deals every other day – do not waste such opportunities AND the numbers of zeros in your bank account.

#2 Is that Starbucks line on campus really worth it?

My advice would be to just skip it and trade your pumpkin spiced latte for a delicious caffeine bomb – the double espresso offered to you by the Segafredo machines for only 0,85.

#3 Commodity Market Rotterdam group on Facebook is the only online shopping you should do.

#4 Grocery shopping on a budget

When it comes to grocery shopping, Markthal might be the most appealing place to go to – especially for internationals who just began discovering Rotterdam. Although the quality of the products is undoubtedly one of the best and the architecture of the place mesmerizing, prices there might not exactly fit a student’s budget. Instead of this touristy place, the market organised in front of Martkhal every Tuesday and Saturday will definitely satisfy all your cravings for a much cheaper deal – 5 Avocados for 1, 3 Mangos for only 1,50 and 2 doos aardbeien voor 2. Have I convinced you yet?

#5 Staying dry on rainy days – beware, there will be many

I guess that by now we all know what Dutch weather is like. The only way I could describe it is bipolar – it is all the seasons in one day. Thus, no matter where you go, 3 things should never be out of your reach: a pair of sunglasses for when the sun decides to shine bright, a warm scarf for the sharp wind and an umbrella – and not just any kind. Don’t settle for a cheap version, you’ll wind up spending more money on umbrellas in the long run. Look for solid models like the Senz one, 25 will be worth staying dry and decent looking.

Biking in the rain? Oh well, that is a whole other story. Checking Buienradar for an upcoming storm won’t always save you from one so it is better to be prepared for a not-so-dry ride. Thankfully, Rotterdam is full of shops that can offer you diverse rain coats – Tiger has ones for only 3.

#6 Exams on, Netflix off

Dear fellow students, my 6th hack is one of the most important of them all so listen carefully. The goal of passing an exam can only be reached when your Netflix subscription has expired.

#7 Dutch honesty is 99%

Last but not least, keep in mind – international students especially – that Dutch people like telling it as it is. Developing thick skin might as well be the hack that will save you from many heartbreaks.

Now that you have learned a few life-saving tips, go out and live the Dutch life and remember – act like you know what you’re doing and no one will question you.

Humans of IBCoM – Sophie’s Story

It was a very windy day when I sat down with Sophie after our joint journalism
seminar, where we had just received notes on how to interview someone, perfect
timing! Immediately, she told me that she was very excited, as she had wanted to be a Human of IBCoM for so long.


Sophie Boender, an IBCoM second year from the north of The Netherlands,
has had a few ups and downs in order to get where she is today. This is her story.

“When I first came to Rotterdam, I was a Business Administration student
(BA). But I soon found out it was not for me, when I had study very hard for an exam
and received a 0.7 on it”, Sophie explained. She had studied at Erasmus prior to
IBCoM, as she had been very interested in economics and topics such as
management and organization in high school.

“I was more excited about going to Rotterdam and leaving home, than actually
experiencing my course. So, looking back on it now, I didn’t explore enough to see
what courses were available,” she tells me.

Sophie dropped out of BA and started exploring other courses. “I was pretty
certain I was going to study law, but then one of my friends recommended IBCoM to
me and I realized that it was exactly what I wanted. So, I applied and wrote my
motivation letter two days before the deadline, as I had only just discovered the

When asked if she struggled when changing to a different course, Sophie told me
that it was mostly the difference in language that made it hard for her. “BA was a
course taught mostly in Dutch and I was still insecure with my English, so even in
that course I had to switch between English academic articles and Dutch lectures all
the time.”

However, when she switched to IBCoM, she truly realized what classes in
English actually meant for her. “I remember so clearly in my first few tutorials
thinking: ‘oh my god, I’m going to have to speak English for the next three years and
I have no clue how I’m going to do that!’”.

I asked her what helped her overcome these struggles, and she explained
that in the beginning, she still translated everything to make sure her sentence made
sense, but because there are English speakers constantly around, she got used to it.

“It was also scary sometimes, as I was around quite a few native English
speakers, and so I felt nervous to speak up, as I thought I’d might mess it up. But
then, through having to write papers in English and getting good grades for them
helped in boosting my confidence.” She managed to get over that nervousness,
passing into her second year with flying colors!

Next to IBCoM, Sophie is a really busy person. “I’m part of the sorority here in
Rotterdam, so that takes up a lot of my time. But I also like to write (her passion, she
says) and writing a book is a dream of mine, which I have sort of already started.”
IBCoMagazine exclusive right there, you heard it here first, folks! Sophie Boender is
your next J.K. Rowling world-renowned novelist!

“My comfort food is typically Dutch, called kibbeling”, she excitedly told me
when asked. For the internationals: it is small chunks of deep fried cod bitesize like
chicken nuggets. “The reason why is because it’s not very easy to get hold of, so I
have to make the effort to go get it and then it’s so much more special.”

Thank you to Sophie, for sharing her story!


Meet the team of 2017 – 2018


All great experiences begin with the usual introduction circle during which you go through an existential crisis trying to find the most concise way to describe yourself without disclosing too much. Here’s the IBCoMagazine team’s version of it.

The Core

Name: Fabiënne

Position: Editor-in-Chief

Hi all! My name is Fabiënne, I am a friend, sister to three annoying siblings and an awesome girlfriend 😉. When my schedule allows it, I like to watch series such as Gilmore Girls and Modern Family. I spend way too much time on social media, and I have a passion for fashion and make-up. I can be lazy at times but I am also very busy. I hope that the IBCoMagazine reaches higher levels this year and I am confident that it will.

Name: Clement

Position: Copy Editor

I’m a third-year IBCoM student, 20-year-old Venezuelan. This is my first time working with IBCoMagazine. I love writing and taking pictures, and watching The Confession Tapes on Netflix. When I’m not on campus, I like to go to museums and thrift shopping. I enjoy looking at Sassy Socialist Memes and Nihilist Memes on Facebook.

Name: Anaelle

Position: Managing Editor

Hey! I’m Anaelle, a second year IBCoM student from Ivory Coast. Last year I was a blogger for IBCoMagazine and decided to take on the challenge to be the managing editor for this year. Together with the editorial team we have come up with many new ideas for IBCoMagazine that we’re excited to share!


The Visual Artists

Name: Myley

Position: Creative Director

I am 18 years old and I am Dutch/Indonesian. Editing and fashion are the things I am probably most excited about in life. I am currently in year one of IBCoM and hopefully I will make it to graduation. Lastly, I am excited to be a part of this team!

Name: Liv

Position: Photographer/Videographer

This is my first year of IBCoM, I’m 20 years old, and I originally hail from the United States (but am also half Dutch). I’ve been making videos and taking photos professionally for the last 6 years, and am excited to work with the IBCoMagazine team this year!

Name: Alejandra

Position: Graphic Designer

Hello! I am Spanish, in my first year of IBCoM and I love Visual Arts. I enjoy working out, watching Netflix and hanging out with friends. I am really excited for this upcoming year and to work with this team!


The Writers

Name: Mona

Hey, there! My name is Mona Abdou. Just a humble writer here, searching for inspiration under her carpet while sifting through piles of rehashed topics and controversial nonsense. Pretentiousness aside, I like dad jokes a lot and I also make them pretty often; that alone should give you enough insight about what kind of person I am (i.e. a local mess).

Name: Chi Mai

Hi there! I’m from Vietnam, which is really, really far away (9000-kilometers-sort-of-faraway) and I decided to come to the Netherlands because of the great education system, the food, and of course, the fantastic weather (not). My hobbies include eating great food, reading, and, you guessed it, writing!

Name: Steven

Hi! I’m a first-years bachelor student who is eighteen-years-old. I enjoy writing (yes, guys do this too), playing volleyball and I surprised myself with the fact that I joined theatre this year as well. I hope that my articles will be somewhat inspiring or at least enjoyable to read. Cheers!

Name: Flore

I am a 20 year old ‘senior IBCoM citizen’ from Berlin. I love Grey’s Anatomy. I follow mainly houseplant accounts on Instagram and treat myself by buying expensive tea and more fairy lights. I’m a proud airplant momma. I prefer mechanical pencils, and like Greek yoghurt. I will believe in astrology if the day is bad enough. Win my heart with Ferrero Rocher and romcoms.

Name: Judith

Hello everyone! I am in my second year and enjoy the typical student life. I cannot live without coffee, and I am always up for great parties and discovering new breakfast spots in Rotterdam. Writing is my passion and I really hope to write some amazing articles this year!

Name: Sara

I’m Sara, I’m 20 years old and I’m originally Palestinian however I’ve lived in Qatar the majority of my life. I would describe myself as enthusiastic and spontaneous, I like to go with the flow and just not think too much. I’ve always loved reading and writing, so being part of the IBCoMagazine is really exciting for me, looking forward to a fruitful year with my team!

Name: Leyla

I’m a 2nd year IBCoM student, I’m 18, and I’m from Azerbaijan. I laugh a lot, love the color blue, and my biggest dream is to travel the world. I speak two native languages: Russian and Azeri, in addition to learning English, basic Turkish and French.

Name: Temi

My name is Temi, and I’m a 19 year old IBCoM student. I’m from Gouda, but despite that I’m not a great cheese fan… I do however, love bright colors, yellow specifically, New York Pizza and vintage shopping. I’m super excited to start writing for and contributing to the IBCoMagazine.

Name: Sandra

Welcome back, readers! This is my second year in IBCoM and at the magazine and I’m very excited. My interests varies from politics to entertainment, and I like movies and (rock)music. In both areas, there are many interesting secrets agendas at play. I hope you’ll enjoy all the articles in our new issues this year!

Name: Francis

I’m Francis and i’m a second year IBCoM student. I’m from this little town near Utrecht and I’m fully Dutch. I have always been interested in journalism and that’s why i want to gain some experience by joining the IBCoMagazine team. My dream job in journalism would be to become an editor for National Geographic Traveler.


The Bloggers

Name: Cara

Position: Blogger/Writer

Hello! I’m a BA-2 student and also second year IBCoMagazine blogger! I’m half English and Dutch, but I was raised mainly over here in holland 🙂I’m very excited for the coming year and hope it will be a fun year for you to read all of our issues and blogposts!

Name: Dana

I’m Dana! I was born and raised in Germany. After my graduation I spent one year in Nicaragua volunteering in a primary school and in a foundation that supports children and adults with disabilities. In my leisure time I love meeting friends, travelling, doing sports and travelling.

Name: Nicoleta

I’m Nicoleta and I am 20 years old. I might be the most international person you will ever meet and a fashion victim with no chance of being rescued. Apart from fashion – which I worship in my personal fashion blog – I love traveling, photography and definitely food because, who doesn’t?

Name: Ayesha

I’m Ashe (because ‘Ash’ is too basic) and I’m an IBCoM first year student. I’d lived in Thailand for almost my entire life before moving here. If you haven’t met me yet, it’s probably because I’m really short and in an unhealthy relationship with my bed covers. I love writing, photography, and sunrises. I have a favourite song in almost every genre of music. I’m sarcastic, critical, and addicted to memes and Netflix.

The IBCoMagazine looks forward to become more diverse in both content and members – especially to producing great content for our readers. So be sure to tune in each week for the blog posts – and stay updated for the first issue this November!