“Heeeere’s Johnny!”. I have been watching the 1980 horror movie The Shining this week. Starring a father (Jack Nicholson), mother and child who take care of a hotel in winter-time, the scenes are hidden in the snowy Sierra Nevada when there are no guests around. “Tell us the story about the murder in the hotel again”, the wife asks on their way to this temple of doom. Her husband frowns, “it’s long gone”. The story begins.
Humanity has experienced many great inventions. And the vast majority of inventions has led to a welfare increase. We are healthier than our predecessors thanks to antibiotics, happier thanks to Oreo and more productive thanks to instant-noodles. These innovations have become part of our life in a very subtle and invisible way. And yet they are of great value. They allow us to spend more time with friends or to train our Xbox skills.
Going on exchange is a bit like flying into space. Time becomes a relative factor and days flow into weeks flow into months. There are no real social obligations like the ones that we all have in Tilburg. No fraternities or sport associations, no weekly drinks or committee activities. It’s a period that allows you to fill it in with whatever activity you like.
A productive life is fed by productive circumstances. This applies to the field of Economics as much as it applies to the life of a student. What’s the raison d’être for areas such as Silicon Valley or the Zuidas in Amsterdam? There is a rich source of intelligence, creativity and innovation. People from all kinds of disciplines flock together and bundle their forces. A high-tech area arises. It’s like the magic elixir from Panoramix in Asterix and Obelix. Or like solving a suduko: when all the pieces are brought together a beautiful new creation arises. The puzzle is solved. A treasure has been created.
I live in a comfortable house. We have a cosy living room, we are 6 enthusiastic students and our landlord is not an egoistic prick who refuses to repair a leaking sink or broken door. Moreover, the location of our house is perfect. Right in between the city center and the university. And what’s more: it is one block away from the Albert Heijn XL. The walhalla of consumerism and the Walmart of the Netherlands. It is the supermarket where ‘super’ is an understatement for its size. Want to go for some quick shopping? Not at this place.