Student Chess Club


Hello everyone!

As the chess tournament has past, it’d be interesting to look at the organization behind everything!

In fact, the process of organization is very similar to a chess game: you need to strategize, think a few steps ahead and be able to clearly know where you want to head to.

So the first step to organizing this event would be to ask oneself: what are the bare essentials to have a chess tournament? The essentials are: (1) chess pieces, (2) a location and last but just as important (3) people!

So with those three in mind, we worked towards attaining those goals.

We contacted the local chess club Onésimus to ask whether they could lend us their chess sets for the event, which they gracefully agreed to. The first pre-requisite has been met, we can play on real boards!

Next was the location: As we wanted a central location on campus to host the tournament, the Erasmus Sport Center (S-building) was a viable option. We had already contacted them for the last chess event in November 2017, so they were willing to help us this time again.

Lastly we would need students, as you can’t have a tournament without people! Students should be made aware that there would be a chess tournament coming up. So we teamed up with CSA-EUR to help us promote this event and make it even better!

Looking back at what made this a fun and informative experience for me, was the fun I had discussing various ideas to further make the tournament successful, realizing my own weaknesses and letting other people complement me on those aspects as well as the realization that it nearly wouldn’t have gone so well if I couldn’t apply the meta-mechanics of chess: to strategize, think ahead and have a goal I want to reach!

Yours truly,

Johnny Yang, President of Student Chess Club Rotterdam

Interview: CSA-EUR Board 2016/2017

The academic year has almost passed and it’s time for CSA-EUR 16/17 Board to say goodbye to their Family. Our Marketing committee member, Khiet Anh Nguyen, had a cosy interview with the Board, where they revealed all fun facts and heart-warming moments from their CSA-EUR life, as well as expectations for the future crew. Discover the Boss side of your favorite Board Member below.

First of all, can you tell me your names and positions within CSA-EUR?

  • Jiaxin Ma (Jiaxin); President and Head of Social events
  • Michelle Yang (Michelle); Vice-President and Head of Business
  • Jennifer van Dulken (Jennifer): Marketing Manager and Head of Marketing
  • Chong Peng (Chong); Secretary and Head of Education
  • Terri van der Zwan (Terri); Internal Relations Manager and Head of Cultural events
  • Xinyi Zhu (Xinyi); Treasurer and Head of International Relations.

Just to warm up, can you disclose your committee’s fun facts?

Terri: Cultural Committee is an advanced meme maker. ⅖ are fulfilling the Asian prophecy (studying Medicine)!

Chong: As you can guess, we are language lovers. Each member of Education can speak at least 3 languages.

Michelle: We are best at having high-class dinners.

As we all know, CSA-EUR is a bridge between EUR and China and its culture. What is your biggest takeaway while leading such a unique organization?

Jennifer: As a Marketing Manager, I’ve learned to be more rational. You should always estimate the feasibility and take all factors into account to implement ideas successfully. Remember that organizational and personal growth lies in your own hand.

Xinyi: I’d say my communication skills has improved. Communication is the key for a well organised association.

Michelle: It has taught me that everybody is different, although we share similar passions.

Can you describe your typical workweek with CSA-EUR?

Jiaxin: As a President, you are expected to pick and manage the projects as they arise and attend the various events of CSA-EUR. The tasks are various, both Board-related and Committee-related. Such examples are to host meetings, answer emails, assist the committees and many other unnamable tasks. One plus is that CSA-EUR is very flexible- you are free to plan your work throughout the week.

Chong: During the week of the language course deadline, you will receive a lot of inquiry emails and process the applications. There are also emergencies popping up, requiring you to be creative and flexible to come up with new ideas, and communicate well with both teachers and students.

Jennifer: A typical Marketing week involves loads of creative tasks (“no surprise but it’s good to mention I guess”). Together with the team, we develop promotion campaigns, plan out social media schedule or content for the newest blog. As a social media lover, the fun part of being in Team Marketing is to take fun snaps and insta stories! Oh, you can expect lots of eating out in CSA-EUR!

Michelle: The connection between managing external relations as Vice-President and organizing business events is very strong, but also very different from day to day. Therefore, it requires a lot of research, calling and meetings.

Now, the practical part of this talk- Board Recruitment. After all those experiences, what will be the characteristics of your ideal Board Member, and what do you hope CSA will achieve next year?

Jiaxin: 3 characteristics I’d say are Rational, Eye for the bigger picture and Attention to detail. I hope to see a strong, big CSA family- particularly, 1500 members!

Xinyi: I value Responsible person. For International Committee, I wish Study Trip Committee to create even more valuable experiences for participants!

Terri: You need to be both a team player and a leader. For Cultural, we strive for big and extraordinary events.

Jennifer: My ultimate goal is people look back happily to their time at CSA. Next to that, a side-wish is 3000 Facebook likes, hopefully when I’m still on board.

“My ultimate wish is that people look back happily to their time at CSA.”

What is the biggest achievement you and your team has achieved during the year 2016/2017?

Chong: During the Eurekaweek, we as the board put a lot of effort for promoting CSA-EUR and attracting new members. We had some difficulties such as very hot weather, not good spot etc, but everyone worked very hard and had fantastic ideas to attract students.

Jennifer: Yes, I agree! The days I will remember as sunny, Panda loving and me busy with breeding new herds of CSA representatives (CSlaves).
As for Marketing, we have set strong foundations for upcoming years. This not only includes social media, website and design, but also data analysis and promotion campaigns.

Michelle: The biggest achievement for Business Committee was definitely China In Focus 2017!

Terri: Probably Moon Festival. That party was a huge blast with a record number of participants. But we still have City Trip ahead, so stay tuned. 

Last but not least- why CSA-EUR but not elsewhere?

Jiaxin: We have the best people. Tremendous board. Best committees.

Chong: You will mingle with people who share the same interests!

Terri: I’d say international connections. You can do business in a family-like community.

Michelle: CSA-EUR is good for your personal development. It is small enough to be able to implement your creative ideas and large enough to have many responsibilities.


Interested in the Board Position(s) and eager to be the next generation of CSA-EUR? Contact us via and shoot your questions. Application for Board Recruitment 2017/2018 is open until Tuesday, 2nd of May – apply HERE.

The beauty of Chinese

If English is the lingua franca for business, Chinese tops the list as the most spoken language worldwide, thanks to the huge number of native speakers. The reasons to learn this language are various- to work, to do business, or just simply to follow the news of your favourite actor. In this article, we state out the simplest reason of all- because the Chinese language is beautiful.

Enriched by history

The Chinese language is the oldest written language with at least six thousand years of history. It uses unique, distinctive symbols, or characters, to represent each word of the vocabulary. China has one of the most fascinating and richest cultures in the world. However, many ancient books, songs, and tales cannot be adequately translated into English. The wisdom of China and its culture thus still remains hidden, like a sleeping beauty waiting to be awakened.

How rich is the language? An extensive dictionary contains 40,000 characters. From this dictionary, you would need to recognise 2000 to 3000 words to read a newspaper. After reading this, you might think that the purpose of this article is to discourage you from learning Chinese. The truth is that it isn’t easy to master this language or any other foreign language, but it is exciting and challenging.

        The language is enriched by history

A challenge worth fulfilling

This beautiful language is an opportunity in disguise, which contains knowledge about the thousand-year-old treasure of China. To learn and understand Chinese to its core is a challenge which reward is well-deserved. Imagine travelling through China without being able to speak the basics or the whole language itself. By mastering Chinese, you will not only be able to comprehend more trends in China but also to travel through the fascinating country with the companionship of the Chinese locals.

A goal worth pursuing, not only to challenge yourself but to find out more about the hidden beauty of China and its people.

CSA-EUR offers Chinese Mandarin Class with the personalised approach on a budget price. Click here to know more and register.

Written by Tamara Sjak-Shie

Edited by Khiet Anh Nguyen.

My new year’s resolutions


2016 was a special year- I was welcomed with open arms to the CSA family. Yet, there are great prospects for 2017. First of all, my Chinese friends Wu Wen en Xing Ya are coming to Ouwehands zoo this year! Together we will portray the symbol of friendship and keep the bond with China tight. Besides that, I have some resolutions to make 2017 even better!

  1. Learn a new language. I have always wanted to master the Chinese language. How cool would it be to learn the Chinese language with your fellow peers in an academic environment? CSA-EUR offers classes with student-friendly price, starting in the week of 17 January.
  2. Work on your career. Although I am quite young, I believe we are never too young to start going to inspiring career events.  Even though you are a first year or master student, there are plenty of activities on campus. China in Focus from 24 to 26 January will invite some interesting speakers and organize networking activities!
  3. Meet new people.  Last year, I met a bunch of awesome people in Blend Me In, Moon Festival and of course on campus. Want to cross this off your list as well? Meet me when you see me walking around campus or at social events of CSA. I would love to meet you!
  4. Become active on campus. Extracurricular activities are a must during your time as a student. Not only will it be beneficial for your career, you will also meet a lot of people. Basically, two resolutions in one! Keep an eye on our social media and website for upcoming recruitment periods. Who knows you will be our next president or marketing team member!
  5. Travel more. This is by far my favorite one. Especially, exploring new cultures even though you are on a tight budget. I cannot wait for this year’s study trip to Beijing AND Shanghai in March for 10 days.
  6. Never stop exploring: Last but not least, I want to make sure that 2017 is not just a year passed by, but it’s an adventurous ride.

Do you find yourself in this list? What are your new year’s resolutions? On behalf of CSA-EUR family, I wish you a happy 2017 and we will see each other soon!


Lots of hugs,

CSA Panda


Christmas Gala- the story unveiled

Festive lights on the streets of Rotterdam and the sight of white-bearded man arriving by boat from Spain marks the beginning of not just the cold Dutch winter, but also the joyful holiday season. At this time of year, the Chinese Students Association of Erasmus University Rotterdam (CSA-EUR) is in midst of preparing arrangements for the annual Christmas Gala.

The program

Catered for details

This year, the events committee of CSA-EUR wanted to take the gala to a new level by adding an after-party to the program, and after scouting a wide range of locations ended up by the river at the upscale Aqua Asia.

“The Gala is a special event that brings together members of CSA-EUR to celebrate the festive season”- Jiaxin Ma, CSA President

So far, the events committee has worked to put together a great menu, prepared a table setting to match, and overcame an initial misfit in the date of the event. But as with any large event, the planning wasn’t without difficulties. Despite the myriad of restaurants situated in Rotterdam, one of the difficulties faced by the events committee was venue selection. To find the ideal location to host the Gala, we listed some of the factors that we thought were of greatest importance, with these being: warm atmosphere, intimate setting and budget.

After coming up and contacting an initial list of restaurants, we fine-tuned our list further by looking at the dishes offered and opted to give preference to Asian-inspired fine dining cuisine considering the nature of CSA-EUR. Finally, after paying a visit to our top choices and negotiating on a final menu, we settled on Aqua Asia. With the approaching of the date of the Gala, the events committee are looking to brush up on the finer details of the event; red carpets, gifts, and ambient music. And as small and irrelevant as some details may seem, the neglecting of such details are what often creates the major issues, and the attention to such details are what makes an event memorable.

The venue, Aqua Asia Club

As Steve Job’s once said, “details matter, it’s worth waiting to get it right”. With hours of planning behind the Gala we expect it to be a night to remember!

Christmas Gala 2016 is hosted in Aqua Asia on the 19th of December. For more information about the prices, menu and program, click here.

Written by Jeffrey Chen

Channel Your Inner-Christmassy Spirit!


Has your ego been bruised by being impossible to pass exams? Has Christmas shopping made you cry over your bank account balance? Has the commercialization of Christmas made you lose your faith in this festive season?

If you’re in that boat, you’re the only one. December is a notorious month for college students- endless assignments, countless hours of studying, and late nights wondering if you even need a degree. However, with the festive season approaching and the days to winter vacation coming close, there is a need for optimism. You need to release the spirit of that inner 5-year-old who woke up on Christmas day running down the stairs to see what gifts Santa left behind! Without further ado, here we provide you 10 oldie-but-goldie tips to get you in that fine holiday spirit!

  1. Find your Ugly-christmas sweater (or grandma sweater) and put it on.

2. Get a Christmas tree up and decorated! Afterwards, turn the house lights off, the tree lights on, and follow through with step 3.

My all-time fav! What’s your Xmas movie?

3. Watch a holiday movie! From older titles like Home Alone, the Peanuts Christmas Special, or newer ones such as A Christmas Tale, anything holiday season will do. Or for those Sherlock Holmes fans, re-watch seasons 1-3 in preparation for Season 4!  

4. Learn about the seven types of Christmas trees (yes, there are 7 of them!) and show off to everyone how much useful tree knowledge you have.

5. Fill your music library with holiday tunes! Nothing will remind you more that the festive season is upon us than the voice of Bing Crosby singing White Christmas.

“If someone tells you it’s too early for Christmas music, stop talking to them. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life” – Unknown

6. Bake some butter rich sugary cookies and smell that vanilla scent fill the apartment.  

7. Perform random acts of kindness and random acts of laughter. Whether this is opening a door for someone, donating to charity, or making someone laugh with an awful pun, small acts can make someone’s day.

8. Eat Christmassy food. With all the feasts and gala’s there is no shortage of delicious food. So fatten up and see the mercury in that spirit-o-meter expand!

9. Visit a Xmas market! Prague? Vienna? Cologne? Get yourself on the road to wonderland!

10. Dress up in glamorous attire and get tickets to the CSA-EUR Christmas Gala! Early-bird tickets are sold out, but you can still get yourself a seat at the upscale Aqua Asia and enjoy a 4-course dinner with your favorite pals or your stunning date. (Disclaimer: an After party is also included!)

Checking off these 10 tips and you should be set for a “Happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childish days”! – Charles Dickens

Written by Jeffrey Chen

Sinterklaas Party!

The month of festivities is just around the corner, and for children in the Netherlands, it means: Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas)! Sinterklaas and his servants, ‘Pieten’ (usually painted black), are similar to Santa Claus and his elves. St. Nicholas’ day is actually on the 6th of December, but the main celebrations are on the 5th.


The tradition goes that Sinterklaas and his Pieten travel on a steamboat from Madrid to a city or town in the Netherlands on the second Saturday of November. When the steamboat arrives, Sinterklaas and his Pieten are welcomed by children happily cheering and singing traditional Sinterklaas songs. Then Sinterklaas leads a procession on his white horse Amerigo, while his Pieten throw around candy and small, round, gingerbread-like cookies, called kruidnoten or pepernoten.


                   Sinterklass specialties

Only around this time, you’ll be able to buy Sinterklaas traditional food. You might have seen these already in your local supermarket: the kruidnoten or pepernoten as mentioned before, chocolate letters, chocolate coins and ‘banketletters’ (letter cake), usually the letter S and made from marzipan or pastry filled with almond paste.

Leaving out shoes

Sinterklaas is in town now, so for the children, it means it’s time for presents! But not all children get presents. Children are told that the Pieten keep record of all the things they have done in a big book. Good children will get presents, but naughty children will be taken in a sack to Spain for a year to teach them how to behave, or they will get spanked with a birch rod!
On the evenings, children leave a shoe out by the fireplace or under the windowsill with a letter for Sinterklaas and a carrot or sugar cubes for the horse and hope that Sinterklaas will come during the night and leave some presents. They do this because they’re told that, during the night, Sinterklaas rides on his horse on the roofs and that a Piet will then climb down the chimney or through the window and put presents and candy (usually chocolate coins or a chocolate letter of the first letter of the child’s name) in their shoes.


Now you might wonder, where does this come from?
The legend goes back to the Middle Ages, when Saint Nicholas helped a shoemaker and his three daughters. The shoemaker was too poor to afford a dowry for his daughters to get married. The daughters then planned to walk the streets and raise money as prostitutes. Nicholas heard of this and was very shocked, so he decided to go to their house during the night and throw a purse with coins through the window. According to some stories, this purse landed in the shoe of the eldest daughter. When they found it, they felt blessed, and the eldest daughter could get married.

Time for presents!

The evening of December the 5th is called Sinterklaasavond (St. Nicholas’ Eve) or Pakjesavond (present evening). During this evening, there might be a knock on the door from Sinterklaas, which means, presents (or not)! Usually, treasure hunt games are played with poems and riddles giving clues of where the presents are hidden.

On the 6th of December Sinterklaas and his Pieten (and the naughty children) leave the Netherlands by steamboat and travels back to Spain.

Party time

When the children get older, they won’t believe in Sinterklaas anymore. But, they will still celebrate it with family or friends. A custom at the Sinterklaas party, is that everyone puts a note with their name in a hat and then everyone randomly picks another person from the hat. Then they have to make a surprise present and buy presents for the person they picked, and sometimes write a poem.

As a student, you probably don’t have that much time to make a surprise present. So instead of that, you can play a dice game. You can find the rules here, so gather your friends, try the game, and celebrate this day like the Dutch!

sinterklass-csaWritten by Yu Fee Chan

Christmas Trips: 4 Ideas for an Ultimate Christmas Holiday

Christmas is not just a holiday when you can wake up late, sip hot chocolate and stuff yourself with mommy’s food- it’s also the time for you to explore and hangout! Here are the 4 day-trip ideas for this Christmas- bring your date (or your mates) along and experience this holiday to the fullest.

Amsterdam day trip

amsterdam-lightAdmittedly, Amsterdam is the perfect option, regardless of the seasons. But what can you do in the city this time of the year (apart from visiting Museums and coffee shops)?

Start off your trip by visiting Museumplein! This year’s Ice Village is celebrated in the area, with a huge ice rink and gourmet street food. As dawn comes, it’s time for the Amsterdam Light Festival! With two separate tours: Illuminade walk tour and Water Colors boat route, this is an extraordinary outdoor light exhibition where artists show off their talents within a unique theme.

  • Ice Village Amsterdam is open during 17-30 December. More information here.
  • Amsterdam Light Festival is open during December 1- January 22. For tickets and tour information, click here.


Dickens Festival- Deventer

Dickens Festival 2012If you are a bookaholic (like I am), this off-track, traditional Christmas experience is the event you do not want to miss. In this festival, the whole Bergkwartier area is transformed into the ancient, 19th-century English town (it’s time to wear your grandma clothing). More than 900 characters from Charles Dicken’s books will be turned into life, so do not miss the chance to take a photo with Oliver Twist! One more plus is free entrance. However, make sure to be an early bird, as the queue is expected to be lengthy.

  • When: 18-19 December. More information here.



Winter Efteling

eftelingThe theme park will be filled with lovely Christmas decorations this winter! Indulge yourself in the 450-meter ski track, have a round or two in the Ice Palace, or just simply sit down in one of the squares and enjoy the free shows that Efteling offers. The choices are yours!

  • The winter version of Efteling is open during November 14- December 31. More information and tickets here.


Cologne Christmas Markets

happy-christmasThe Germans are not only proud of the beloved Oktoberfest- their Christmas markets are pretty famous as well. Among many markets scattering around the whole country, Cologne is within a reasonable reach from Rotterdam, yet the vibe this city offers is warming, cosy and unique.

With 7 markets in the city, the only thing you are lack of while in Cologne is time. Exploring the wooden pavilions near the Cathedral, strolling down the stalls with a picturesque view of the Rhine or buying crafted gifts in Old Town market- the choices are endless. Don’t forget to have a sip of Gluhwein and treat yourself with their delicious street food before leaving!

  • CSA is offering a round-trip bus ticket from Rotterdam to Cologne- tickets are from 30 euros each (I know, that’s a steal!) Grab your tickets here!

On behalf of CSA-EUR, I wish you a cheerful, merry Christmas with your beloved ones. Try out our options and tell us which one(s) you love best!

Written by Khiet Anh Nguyen




Interview Study Trip 2017

As a tradition, each year CSA-EUR organizes a Study Trip with the aim of giving the attendants an insight about Oriental lifestyle and business world. This time, I had the pleasure of interviewing the head of the International Relations Committee, Xinyi Zhu, to talk about this year’s upcoming Study Trip to China. If you are eager to know more about the trip as I do, let’s explore how this years’ Study Trip looks like!

Best of both worlds

Every year the Chinese Student Association organizes trips to China. What makes this year different from the previous years?

“This year we are combining the two biggest cities, Shanghai and Beijing, in the trip. This is an upgrade comparing to last year’s, which had visit to  one big city and two small ones. We will divide the days evenly- five days in Shanghai and five days in Beijing, so that our participants can get the full experience. We want to visit companies during this visit, whilst also participate in cultural and social events. Beijing is a rather ancient city, while Shanghai is very innovative and modern. We want to offer our participants a traditional Chinese experience, as well as to experience the new and modern China. The participants will experience both the old and new China, or to say, “Traditions meet Modernity”.

Talking about business, can you give a snippet of this year’s business activities? 

Beijing University
Beijing University

“There are several business-related things that we are happy to introduce! Of course we cannot miss the visit to Beijing University and have a fun cultural exchange session with the students there. We also have confirmation to do Nokia Beijing Inhouse Day, where we will have a company tour or even a workshop. Also, we are going to one of the biggest insurance companies in China, which is called China Life. In Shanghai, we will visit Wicresoft- a Chinese alliance with  Microsoft. Those are just the teasers – more details can sure be found on our Facebook event page!”



Now that we have established the business related activities, can you describe the cultural and social activities that you’ll be doing this year?

Shanghai by night
Shanghai by night

“This year the cultural events will be based around calligraphy and a traditional tea ceremony. There will be an Chinese cultural tea tasting, where you can learn how to make and enjoy a traditional Chinese pot of tea. It will be a very traditional, in-depth cultural experience. The calligraphy workshop will be taught by the university students.

In terms of nightlife, we will go out in Beijing as well as Shanghai, so we can enjoy the nightlife in both cities. We aim for partying at least once per city, but if the group feels like going out more, we are more than willing to plan that in the free time. There is of course a lot of space for free time, so the participants can explore the city, for example go shopping or go clubbing. And of course we will also take the participants  to do some sightseeing. The must-go destinations include the Great Wall of China as well as the Forbidden City”.

Looking for a dream team

For all the potential students who want to apply, how would you describe the perfect applicant for this year’s Study Trip? What type of qualities do they have to master?

“The application is open for everybody. However, we deem that Master students or third year bachelor students are relatively suitable, because they are more attractive to companies as potential future employees and more career-oriented. But that is definitely is not a strict requirement! The group will consist of a range of study levels- we aim for a variety in the group.

In terms of personal qualities, participants have to be engaged and involved with the group. Extroverts are more likely to go with the flow in the group and also being a team worker is a must when applying to the Study Trip. Don’t be stubborn! [laughs] If someone is not getting along with the group, it is very difficult for the group’s ambiance and it increases the chance of conflict within the group. We are looking for easy-going people, who have social skills and is generally open, spontaneous and nice to people”.

International Relations Committee 2016/2017

What have been some difficult moments you have encountered whilst in the preparation in organizing this Study Trip?

“Definitely looking for sponsors for our trip, that’s the main one we are focussing on right now. Also, the booking and accommodation is difficult, because we are going in March and it is hard to book in advance. We also want insurance that the costs are good for everyone. However, we are having a great time organizing this trip and hope that the participants will feel the same!”

If you can describe this year’s Study Trip in one word, what would it be and why?

[laughs] “I don’t really know, but I guess in more words it would be: tradition meets modern”.

And last question: pitch why everyone should apply for the Study Trip to China! What would the participants get out of this trip? Why is it worth it?

“You can learn so much from this trip, from a traditional and a modern perspective. You get to have the full experience of the Chinese culture and how the Western culture is interpreted in Shanghai. You get emerged in the lifestyle and the entire trip will impact your life. This Study Trip is enriching and will develop yourself as a person”.

Bottom line from the author: This year’s Study Trip will be held during 20th-30th March 2017, with the total price of €849.00. Apply now or visit our Facebook page to stay updated!

Written by Thu Nguyen

First-ever CSA Active Members Weekend

“I always get work done before playing” Edwin Moses

No, thank you, Mr. Moses. The CSA crew only gets motivated once we have the chance to “play hard”. That spirit, along with our desperate effort to save the long-gone summer, led to the first-ever CSA Active Members Weekend, which took place last weekend in Bergen op Zoom.

So, in case you want to secretly compare your cool weekend vs ours, here’s what we did during the event.

*Disclaimer* CSA is not responsible for your jealousy 😉
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