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!

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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.

Arrival

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.

Food

food-sinterklass
                   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.

Origin

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

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”.

ir
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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First event of the year: Moon Festival 2016

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12027186_875071402570719_499416669940314139_oThe Mid-Autumn Festival is a harvest festival celebrated by the Chinese and Vietnamese people. Another term for this festival is the Moon Festival. It is held on the 15th day of the eighth month of the Chinese Han calendar and the Vietnamese calendar. This is usually between mid September and the beginning of October. This year it is at Thursday 15th of September.

The three main concepts of the Mid-autumn festival are: –       Gathering. Family and friends come together. They share food and do activities together. Sometimes people give gifts to each other. –       Thanksgiving, to give thanks for the harvest. This also consists of moon worship. The ancient Chinese believed in the association between rejuvenation and the moon. –       Praying, such as for a spouse, babies, health and more! Nowadays the festival is still celebrated. Family and friends come together and share the so called ‘Mooncakes’ and have dinner together. Traditionally they are round; this is a symbol for completeness and unity. The crust is thin, made of sugar, water and oil. The cake has a sweet, dense filling. The traditional filling of the mooncakes is lotus seed paste, sweet bean paste or jujube paste. Because CSA-EUR wants to give you the feeling of being in a family, we celebrate this festival by gathering in The VIP Room and share FREE mooncakes together! Of course we have multiple activities, such as karaoke and beer pong. It wouldn’t be a celebration of the Moon Festival if CSA-EUR does not have GIFTS. Therefore, during the night you can win BRONZE PREMIUM MEMBERSHIP and more! Next to that, from 20.00-22.00h you can apply for FREE general membership for 5 years! Please click on attend at the Facebook event: Moon Festival 2016 and see you there! 11951501_875072342570625_5877568419445800067_o  11059687_875075272570332_664516052497866369_o          

Introducing our General Board Member

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Hi everyone, Joey here again and I am back with another interview! This time I had the honor to interview Angelina, our general board member of 2015/2016! The secret strength and support behind this year’s board!

angelina1. Who are you? What are your hobbies?
I am Angelina Li and I am the General Board Member and Head of Business of CSA-EUR. I was born and raised in the Rotterdam area. Currently, I am a student pursuing a master’s degree in Accounting and Financial Management at Rotterdam School of Management.

My two biggest hobbies are traveling and singing. I love to discover different cultures in various cities. For instance, I went to New York last month and will be going to Spain and Croatia in July. In terms of singing, I love to sing to express myself and to release stress.

2. How would the other board members describe you?
Other board members would describe me as a cheerful and hardworking person, who is always willing to improve herself and the organization. Furthermore, they would describe me as someone who loves to eat and try different kinds of food.

board-junchristmastgala
3. What achievement as Board Member are you most proud of?
As a General Board Member, I am responsible for managing the office and supporting other board members. This year, I am proud to have supported the Vice-President in finding a lot of sponsors and partners, e.g. Gracy’s and Allocacoc. Furthermore, I am happy to be part of a board that has been constantly improving and professionalizing the organization.
 
4. How would you describe your board year experience?
I would describe my board year as a fruitful year! I have learned a lot from my fellow board members. Most importantly, I have improved my leadership skills, since I was not a natural born leader. By leading the Business Committee, I have learned how to delegate and divide tasks among my committee members. I am also thankful for my committee members who have supported me in my growth as the head of the committee. Last but not least, through this board year, I have made a lot of new friends and got to know a lot of people. Thus, I am very thankful for this board year.

 

angelinacif5. Are there any funny moments or happenings from your board year that you would like to share?
I actually do have a remarkable anecdote that I would like to share. Well, actually it’s not an anecdote because it’s completely factual, haha. This year, I started calling Fredo, our Vice-President, ‘Fledo’ just for fun not expecting that almost every girl within CSA-EUR now calls him that. It even escalated to ‘Pledo’. By the way, an interesting fact to point out is that this year most of the active members are girls. Every time, someone calls him that I get scolded by him!

 

6. If you would win the lottery today and receive 10 million euros. What would you do?
I would travel to a lot of countries and buy a new apartment. I would treat my family on a vacation to Hong Kong. Finally, I would invest the money in funds and do charity work.

 

7. If you could relive your life, what would be the one thing you would do differently and why?
I would apply for a singing contest and try to become a professional singer. I would do this since I love singing! The prove I have for this are my highscores at Singstar. If you want to see me sing in person, come to our next karaoke event (Blend me In 3.0)!

 

All in all, Angelina is a very talkative, happy and hardworking person you can always count on! If you are interested in doing a board year at CSA-EUR, please apply asap! The board recruitment is till tomorrow! For more information please go to: http://csa-eur.nl/join/board-recruitment/

Introducing our Vice-President of 2015/2016

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Today I had the honor to interview our most valued Vice-President. During this in-depth interview he mainly talked about his (board year) experience at CSA-EUR. I hope you will enjoy his answers as much as I did!

fredotan1. Who are you and what are your hobbies?
I am Fredo Tan and I am the Vice-President of CSA-EUR. I was born and raised in the Amsterdam area. Currently, I am a sophomore IBA student at Rotterdam School of Management.

One of my hobbies or passions is traveling. I am grateful for the fact that I have been able to travel to a lot of places in the world. I always told myself: “the farther away, the better”. Hence, my travels to Asia and North America over the last few years. However, I realize now that there are also places worth visiting in Europe itself. Exploring Eastern Europe is something that has been added to my bucket list!

2. How would other board members describe you?
My fellow board members would hopefully describe me as a hardworking, dedicated and trustworthy Vice-President who is always willing to help out. However, I am certain that they would throw terms such as ‘eats a lot’ or ‘likes to sleep’ in the mix. Also, I am called the ‘clown’ sometimes because I crack jokes too often and laugh like a village idiot. Moreover, they would state that I am serious when I have to be and the funny guy on all other occasions.

 

fredokai

3. What achievement as Vice-President are you most proud of?
I find this a hard question to answer. As the Vice-President, I am responsible for all external relations. This means setting up and maintaining relationships with partners, sponsors, and other stakeholders. I am happy with our current, expanded portfolio of external relationships due to the fact that CSA-EUR has a lot more cooperations nowadays. Having many good partners and sponsors means that we can offer our members benefits and discounts. It’s key for next year to keep maintaining these relationships and further expanding this portfolio.

Furthermore, I am satisfied with how we as a board have managed to take this association to the next level by professionalization, pushing new ideas and the constant urge to do better.

 

4. How would you describe your board year experience?fredotan

It has been a truly amazing adventure from the get go. I am lucky to be part of board consisting of colleagues that are as dedicated and passionate about CSA-EUR as I am. Besides being colleagues, we are also friends with each other. The cohesiveness in the board has definitely been a strength this year. I have learned a lot during my term from the job itself, my fellow board members, my own committee and other active members. Also, I got to know a lot of people and made good friends. All in all, my board year experience is one that I will cherish forever and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is considering a board year.


fredobunny5. What was the funniest thing you encountered being a board member?

LOL. For now, I can’t come up with anything good.

6. If you would win the lottery today and receive 10 million euros. What would you do?
First, I would buy a new phone because… I need a new phone. Of course, I would share the amount with family and friends. I would have my own startup company and invest in other startups. Oh, and I would also open my own gym just because I can. But before all this, I would make a glorious, legendary trip around the world that no one else can top.

7. Are you a hunter or a gatherer?
Chicks hunt me and I gather chicks.

 

 

Hate to point it out, but to all the hopeful girls out there: this great gatherer is sadly already taken. If you happen to be inspired by this interview and interested in a board year, please do this asap! The deadline is the 22nd of May. Link: http://csa-eur.nl/join/board-recruitment/

The Banana Life

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Are you more like a Mainland Chinese, or a Western Asian? To which group can you relate more? Find out now!

Why do you click on this picture bro?

 

The banana life

Who needs the good life, if you can live the banana life, right? Whether you are a mainland or a Dutch born, the banana life is open for everyone. Never heard of it? Or you simply don’t know how? Luckily for you, I made a set of simple steps in order to fully transform you into a banana.

What is the banana life?

While the Chinese have their own culture, traditions and way of living, so do the Dutch. But what if these cultures would clash and emerge into one? The banana life is lived by people that grew up with Chinese values surrounded by western friends, or in a western environment. And if you haven’t figured it out by now, the banana refers the fact that the banana is yellow on the outside… And guess what color it is on the inside…

In order for you to fully enjoy the banana life, here’s what you should do.

banana 1

 

 

 

 

banana 3

Food

When it comes down to food, it’s not that hard to live like a banana. There is just one rule: never use your kitchen. Always have a group of friends that you can meet up with, in case you want to grab a bite. By the time that you graduate, you should be able to come up with a list of restaurants which should be longer than your thesis.

Game night

For some reason, banana’s like to have game nights. A night where you either play card games, board games or other games. Therefore a banana should know how to play at least 5 card games. Also having board game sets at your disposal increases your level of banananess.

Clubbing

There are certain rules that you should follow when it comes to clubbing. It starts at the pre drink. The pre drink with your buddies should take at least 3 hours! This way it ensures you that you will not only be in the zone, but also pretty tipsy by the time that you arrive at the club. When you are in the club, make sure that you dance on the beat. I mean, come on guys, it’s not that hard. Just practice some two-steps at home, so you can bring the ultimately banana look to the club.

Bromance

From my experience, the mainland Chinese guys tend to be less ‘touchy’ when hanging out with bro’s. I must admit, during my Dutch life, I’ve seen many Dutch guys grinding on each other, covering it by calling it ‘bromance’. I would say that the banana bromance is somewhere in between these two. As a banana, all your banana bro’s should be comfortable with a hug once in a while, just don’t push it too far.

banana 2

 

banana 4

If you keep all these things in mind, you should be one step closer to the banana life.

Kind regards,

 

Mike

Certified banana life instructor