SES 2019 – A little review…

At the beginning of 2019, Board and Committees had found their rhythm. Things were working smoothly, parties were thrown, members enjoyed an exceptional dinner with wonderful guests and last but not least, a certain committee bonded more than ever over hosting the SES Model United Nations. As usual, we had no clue what UvA held in store for this year’s January schedule, luckily the SES events gave us some sort of structure to get through this very vague month of European Studies and Tuesday nights at Sanders became our point of orientation once again.

In March, the SES shifted its focus – intentionally or unintentionally – to the educational side of the association. Showing our parents, grandparents and sibling around our natural habitat of Oudemanhuispoort and Café Sanders during the Family Day and debating topics such as climate change and the question of retuning IS veterans was a nice change for the first years, who were currently struggling with their chosen language course and the weekly readings for European Integration.

It was in this period of relative ease that bad tidings arrived in the SES Hok. Our beloved Borrel location was about to close. Luckily the Activity Committee was at the ready of its second Pubquiz, which, judging on the preceding editions, promised to move everyone’s mind to other topics. Moreover, in the months of March and April last year’s Educational Committee appeared on the radar. The Committee took us out of our comfort zone of Bushuis, PCH and the Café de Engelbewaarder by showing us around the ports and museums of Rotterdam and introducing a group of SES-members to different institutions in The Hague.

Only a few days later, we had to start preparing our livers and sleep rhythms for the Study Trip. Throwing the second SES party of the year seemed like a proper way to set the mood for the approaching journey, which would take Board, Travel Committee and 34 chosen members far, far to the East.

The Study Trip was a chapter on its own. A group of first a second years mingled among the well-experienced Study Trip SESlers, and somehow, we managed to get from bustling Istanbul all the way to the shady night clubs in Tirana. Waking-up shifts, walking tours on empty stomachs, Raki served at burning bars and an endless loop of being counted determined our daily life.

Once back in good old A’dam, lots of catching up and revision was looming over everyone, the only interruption was the annual SES Conference at the prestigious Keizergrachtkerk. It was one of the first nice and warm days of the year and summer was slowly but steady arriving in Amsterdam.

Almost at the end of the academic year, the renowned Active Members Weekend – Groet Shore Edition – took place. One way or another, everyone got there safely…Our sunburns have never been worse and Danish Beer Bowling reached new levels of competitiveness. Endless cold, fresh beer, wonderfully prepared toasties at 3am and people almost drowning in the creek in front of the door seemed like the peak of an until then incredible year. However, SES still had a few aces up its sleeve…

Together with our neighbours from Kleio and Off-Screen, the Event Committee wanted to give all the party people one last blast with their SES-squad. The early birds witnessed the magical moments of Abba and Britney Spears booming on the Silent Disco channels while the sun was setting over the Amstel and we enjoyed sweet Desperados before the rain forced us inside.

And last but not least, the SES Hitchhike weekend. With sore muscles from the football tournament the day before (S/O to both SES-teams) the Hitchhike Committee led by the Chairwoman-to-be decided to send us to the German capital – about 650km east of our starting point at Amstel station. Via Düsseldorf, Bremen and Hamburg, surprisingly everyone made it safely to Berlin within about 16h. Our non-German members discovered the sweet taste of Berliner Luft and the luxuriousness of ‘Spätis’ at every corner. When on the 1st of July at midnight even the last Bachelor Theses were celebrated outside of Singel Library, the academic year was officially over, and no one were not going to worry about anything or anyone until the start of the new semester in September.

Well, except for a few of us…

Before the renowned Intreeweek, the new SES Board sat through a weekend filled with phrasing a new Policy Plan, avoiding any form of Smirnoff Ice and trying to survive the heat of Dutch summer while bonding for the upcoming year. With a mix between feeling somewhat prepared and having no clue what to do, the new Board members and their fellow European Studies Intreeweek Parents picked up their Intree kids on a sunny Monday morning at the overcrowded REC. Business as usual: Half of the kids without bikes and the other half without a place to stay yet…However, five days of being sent through Amsterdam to pick up the infamous Intreelunchs and introducing the internationals to the Dutch drinking culture welded everyone together quicker than expected and on Friday night we had grown into one large family when we set out to the legendary closing party at Paradiso.

In the second week of September, after most of us had readapted to the daily routine of early alarms, readings and finding seminar rooms in PCH, the SES Board 2018-2019 was officially released off its duties. The effort, time and dedication these five as well as all other former Boards have put into this association still pays off as we had been building on their ideas and on previously existing structures from the first day onwards. When the new five Board members took the places of their predecessors, a process that had begun during the second General Assembly in February with the election of the Board Selection Committee had finally come to an end and it was time for new faces during the SES office shifts. Nights at Onder de Ooievaar and a lovely Introduction Period had formed a new generation of members when we left Amsterdam to marvelous Dwingeloo three weeks later. The weekend remains in our memories only as one large blur of Flunkyball, bathroom raves, Bonte Avond rehearsals and a certain bucket list, but we loved every second of it.

While the Introduction Committee was tinkering on the last details for its final party at Akhnaton, the largest and most important body of SES was formed: Our Committees! Although it seemed (and sometimes was) one big pile of chaos and mess at the beginning, by now we can gladly say to have made the perfect choice with each and every one of you. While most of our committees were still in the middle of first preparations and getting to know each other, the Educational Committee had already their first event up and ready to go, perfectly timed after everyone had made it through the first round of exam week.

Towards the end of November, the work of the committees started to pay off: Another Study Trip video was added to the legendary collection of revelation clips and we hosted the first of our traditional Happy Borrels. Debates, lectures and screenings led up to our first little excursion of the year, taking us to picturesque town of Maastricht. Strolling and ice-skating over the Christmas Market and enjoying a warm Glühwein was the perfect getaway from lectures, seminars and long days in the Studiezolder.

After exam week forced us into the dark corners of Bushuis and overcrowded study rooms at Singel for a week or two all of us were looking forward more and more to the final party of the year. When we finally reached the night of the Christmas Gala, a few of us had built up their excitement for a few days already while others had just finished their last exams the same day. Either way, with some of our lost children returned from abroad and all of us freed from exams and deadlines it was a wonderful ending to an incredible year.

For the ones who have been with us since January and before: It was a long and amazing year, too many things happened to remember all of them, but the countless new friendships that were made and unforgettable memories speak for themselves. And for the ones who joined us half way through: We are so glad that you have become part of SES, hopefully you have enjoyed your time so far, a lot more is waiting for you in the next months.

We wish you all lots of luck and success for 2020!

Love,

Uncle SES