Jas Rainbow, England

The poster for Contrast Café was the first thing I saw in the corridor at my international student accommodation when I arrived in Leiden, and immediately my mum said I should go. I thought at first that it didn’t seem like my sort of thing—I was more into nightclubs and parties. But I went anyway to the first Contrast Café, which was called “Welcome to the Netherlands!” and there were so many people from so many places; I couldn’t believe it. I loved that the Dutch people were happy to help with my language too—many were not so patient! Some of the people I met that night went on to become my closest friends in Leiden. Over the months I went to every café, a huge all-day bike ride, volunteered to help some local people move house by lifting boxes, and even brought all my English friends to a Sintaklaas party, which made them very jealous because they had nothing as nice at university without drinking and late nights involved. I have Contrast to thank for some of my best friends and best times in Leiden!