What it is like to be an exchange student in a Dutch university?
If you, all of a sudden, feel bored in your uni life, study course or place you live, so here you are on the right direction.
The time you started to think about going abroad as an exchange student, means you miss challenges and fresh insights. Needless to say how much fun await you and what a diversity of international culture will surround you.
Erasmus exchange program is designed to build a cooperation between universities, promoting and sharing the knowledge. It is indeed a unique experience in your study life and life in general.
When you enter Avans university of applied sciences in Breda, you will find yourself around a group of international students sharing the common purpose to study for one semester. A group of tutors is there to help you answering the questions and giving overview of student life. In a nice warm atmosphere you enjoy a drink with other students. Most probably beer.
An international office team is also there to help you out with accommodation. Once arrived, they will bring you to your apartment where you sign a contract and receive the keys.
What really amazing is that the next day you are going to do sport that is obligatory there. Even the laziest ones, trust me you gonna love it! A couple of sport activities are organized within university for all Erasmus students where you meet first friends and make yourself comfortable.
So, the purpose of introductory days is to help you to turn around, find friends, get first insights about uni and feel the wave. I find it personally very helpful and important as I did not have anything similar in my home university in Germany. Why not? Probably my next story will tell about it. So, being around international students and assisted all the time you start to feel as at home.
And now, the important part and what brought you there – study program. I was enrolled in minor called IPASM (International public affairs and stakeholder management). For an International Relations student this minor is of high relevance and sounds really attractive. To be honest I had no idea what is it going to be when I signed an Erasmus agreement. But my heart told me to use this chance.
And I was right! Especially after my uni, I finally feel I can develop my personality. The engagement there is every single day, it does not give you a chance to be ignored. Finally, you make friends here, enjoy, and interact with professors. Don’t get me wrong, all that is also could be found in my uni in Germany, but there is still a difference.
The minor I took is really interactive. Here you learn with others and in groups. Dutch professors will check your knowledge differently. They evaluate your personality, your strengths and weaknesses, your skills. It is a huge difference from German university. I am not trying to generalize but yet there are some assumptions.
It might seem to be easy to study there at first, but then you find out that demands and expectations to you are very high. For me, I guess the most difficult was to run negotiations due to the fact that our professor was an English native speaker and his task was to improve our English as well as leadership skills. For many it seems easy task, but trust me it is not. You are sitting with other 20-25 students divided into 5 interest groups. Every week there is a round of negotiations where you have to defend your group position. The topics are determined shortly before the class. Topics are indeed very interesting and concern world’s issues. The tough part here is that you are limited in time therefore must act fast and confident. Communication and presenting skills are of high importance in life. You should really train it and develop.
Avans university minor program IPASM offers a unique studio for students to train their creativity, develop personality and teamwork skill. Here you will be trained to work for the companies as a future professional and solve real issues. A deep dive into prototyping and overload of creativity await you. I think that was the best time during my minor there. It is so amazing how students grow within this studio, break the ice between each other and unite to solve the main problem.
Of course, exchange semester is not only about studying, but about social life, too. Breda is a cute little town where you find a lot of things to do. Sport activities both indoor and outdoor, nightlife, shopping, and travelling! The location allows to travel easily with the train or bus to nearby countries like Germany and Belgium, as well as within Netherlands.
Still hesitating? Read the text above again and pose your questions in comments. I guarantee you a great experience there, of course, if you are open-minded and easygoing person who is looking for a change. No time to say more, just go to Avans University website for more details.