It’s almost exams again and that only means one thing: students are once again looking for a place to study in the city. STAN, the Antwerp student platform, offers thirty unique places to study via Study360, from the MAS to the Rubens House. Striking: Ikea is now also on that list. Students cannot block between the furniture, but they can in the restaurant. “Study360 is a very welcome initiative, but it is also a way to discover Antwerp and some special places in our city,” concludes Jinnih Beels.
Studying in Ikea, who would have ever thought that? Twelve students can reserve every day to study in the cozy study corner of the restaurant. The buzz of the many customers and the delicious smell of Ikea’s famous Swedish meatballs do not prevent the students from coming here.
“We had agreed among friends to do this. Moreover, I think Ikea has a homely atmosphere. There is good food and the shopping complex is close to our university,” says Michael Schoenmakers, Industrial Sciences Electronics ICT student.
Upon arrival, students receive a wristband that entitles them to free water, coffee and tea throughout the day. “We have also created a savings card. For example, after five drinks in the restaurant, they can get a sixth free. A great offer to study here”, says Cas Verhaert, spokesman for Ikea.
“As a city, we think it is important to continue to facilitate those locations. Not only in the city centre, but also for students from campuses further afield. Ikea is a good example of that,” says Jinnih Beels.
For Iris van Zuilen, student of Biomedical Sciences, it is the first time that she is studying at Ikea. “I was looking for a place where I can have more focus, but still be able to sit together with others. It’s great to be able to block here. When I have a break, I will not resist walking around the store.”
It is an eye-catcher and you probably have the best view of all study places in Antwerp: the MAS on the Eilandje. A real Antwerp icon that has something to offer on all floors, because it is more than a museum. A corner with fourteen places has been made available on the third floor for the block. The fact that you will be able to study in peace and warmth is a lost cause, because Study360 already reveals it online: “It is very cold. A warm sweater, hat, scarf… are recommended.”
Yet you also see a fleece blanket on every chair and a break candle with a message on every desk. “If you fancy a break, you can always use the break candles on the table. Turn on your light to make yourself available for a break. This way, others can easily see with you and you with them who could use a moment of rest.”
“Via the Study360 website, a site that I got to know through a friend, I ended up in the MAS. I can combine the study location with a museum visit. Sometimes it is cold here and there are many school children around, but all in all I manage to concentrate here. The view is beautiful,” says Jitske Vervaes. “The next location may be the Port House.”
There is also a large glass box at the entrance of the MAS in which everyone can put motivational notes for the students. “Freaking is also banging” or “good luck with the block” can be read, among other things.
“I think the blankets are cozy, because I always study with blankets at home. The idea of the candles is nice, but then more students should be present. Then you can have contact with people you don’t know,” says Anke Cruypelans, who studies Orthopedagogy.
The Harbor House
Another eye-catcher in Antwerp is the Port House, an architectural masterpiece on the edge of the city and port. You would almost think that only the elite are allowed to study here. Nothing could be further from the truth, because students block here in two meeting rooms on the third floor. The building is as sophisticated on the outside as it is on the inside. You can really study here in peace and warmth in brand new meeting rooms. Completely isolated from the outside world, students can focus on their subject matter.
Andres Debuck is a student of Nautical Sciences at the Hogere Zeevaartschool and already knows the location well. “I often sat here during the re-examinations and the previous examination period. The Port House is also close to my school, which is convenient. I can still come here before or after class. It is always quiet and upstairs you can have lunch for a reasonable price. You get the beautiful view for free.”
“The coffee here is also really good”, beams Andres. “Perhaps the biggest drawback is that the Port House closes early and for some people it is a bit far, but it is easily accessible. Also maybe they should open earlier and close later. A relaxation room with a ping pong table is a bonus. Of all the places, I think the Havenhuis is the best place at the moment.”
All study places have free WiFi and power points. To support the students even more, the employees of a number of locations provide extra hospitality with relaxation options, tea, water, healthy snacks and/or headphones.
To study at one of these locations, students only need to register once at www.study360.be. Via the website they can see how many places are still available per location. With a unique registration code, they can then log in at any location during the entire block period.