by Andra Groza
Ive always said that choosing to do my bachelor degree abroad has been the best decision of my life (Im originally from Romania and currently studying in Scotland). Well, making the choice to also go with the Erasmus exchange programme and study for a semester in a different country from Scotland is now officially the second best decision Ive ever made.
I truly believe that Erasmus is one of the once in a lifetime opportunities that you just cannot miss. Especially if you have the opportunity to apply for it (which most of the students now have). The moment I found out the course Im participating in offers students the chance to study abroad for a semester I signed up for it without having any kind of second thoughts. And Im extremely happy I did that, as it turned out to be the most amazing experience of my life!
The course Im undertaking offered two destinations: Madrid, Spain and Rotterdam, The Netherlands. While most of my colleagues went for the first option, I had the feeling the second one would be as great as Madrid. And it most definitely was!
It isnt the ideal destination if youre looking forward to spending sunny days at the beach, but Id say that other than that it can easily be defined as being ideal. Coming from a country like Romania and having experienced Scotland for the last couple of years, Rotterdam was quite a bit of a shock. In a great way though.
The architecture of the whole city is breathtaking and the skyline of a beauty that just cant be expressed. It is called Manhattan of the Maas for a reason after all. Another aspect about Rotterdam (and The Netherlands in general) that struck me was the fact that every single person, from the 5-years-old child to the 80-years-old man on the street, knows a perfect English. So, if youre planning to go and study in The Netherlands and dont know a word in Dutch (which was my case exactly), you shouldnt have any worries! On top of that, people are extremely polite and always happy to help, offering to give you a hand even if you havent previously asked them to (which, in my book, is a proof of an extremely educated and caring nation).
The university system isnt much different from the Scottish one in terms of the number of classes, which is about up to 15 hours per week. The semester does however have a different structure, being split into two sub-semesters, each of them being dedicated to a different module.
The institution where I studied, InHolland University of Applied Sciences, was a bit unorganised from an academic point of view, but the International Office did its best to make us feel like at home. At the beginning of the semester they organised a dinner for all of us to get to know each other better and made sure the rest of the semester goes the same great way as it started. There were numerous events weve participated to, such as potluck dinners and karaoke nights, which were all of great fun and allowed all of us to get really close. But what made us tie such great friendships was the fact that we all lived in the same place. The university offered accommodation right next to the university (extremely convenient) and most of the exchange students made the choice to stay there. This is one of the things I recommend to future Erasmus students, to choose living in student accommodation no matter what, as it is one of the aspects that makes the semester abroad so enjoyable!
Spending every single day in the company of some amazing people, getting to know the uniqueness of each of them, learning about their culture and the way they live their life got me friendships that Ill be keeping and cherish for the rest of my life.
I can honestly say that the whole Erasmus experience was life-changing. And Im incredibly grateful for the opportunity of discovering such an amazing country, of getting to learn about its people, of tying timeless friendship, but most of all, for the opportunity of learning how to be more open towards the unknown, how to be more tolerable, of how to simply appreciate life more.
Are you thinking of studying in The Netherlands but you have no idea where to start? Maybe one of the following universities is just the perfect one for you! Alternatively you can just start searching on your own right ahead!
Already established in 1842, the TU Delft is ranked as one of the top universities of technology world-wide. It offers excellent education and research standards and maintains close links with national and international industry, enabling outstanding career prospects for its graduates. The TU Delft is highly international – about 30% of the Master’s students are coming from outside of The Netherlands. Besides classical Engineering disciplines, innovative inter-disciplinary programmes such as Sustainable Energy Technology are offered.
Located in Rotterdam, the Erasmus University bundled their education and research in the three domains Economics and Management, Medicine and Health Sciences and Law, Culture and Society where it gained national as well as international reputation. Among the over 50 Master’s programmes offered, you can find popular programmes such as International Management or Business Administration as well as highly unique and specialised programmes such as Chinese Economy and Business for example.
The VU University Amsterdam is consistently listed among the world’s top universities and is located right in the middle of the most dynamic and fast-growing business districts in The Netherlands. The university puts a strong emphasis on a personal approach and offers individual supervision and education in small and highly interactive classes. Various Master’s programmes are offered in the different departments, among others Computer Science, Social Psychology or Linguistics for example.
The University of Twente describes themselves as an entrepreneurial research university and offers education in a wide range from public policy studies and applied physics to biomedical technology. Close links to industry, business, knowledge centres and partner universities guarantee very good career perspectives. Over 100 start-up firms currently operate from the UT campus which offers a perfect environment and various support to start your own company. More than 30 Master’s programmes are offered – among them Chemical Engineering, Business Information Technology or Industrial Design Engineering for example.
We hope this article was helpful to learn more about studying in The Netherlands. Check out the following websites for more information!
is originally from Romania, currently studying Media Studies at the Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen (Scotland) and did an Erasmus exchange in Rotterdam, The Netherlands