My experience of the exchange study program in the Netherlands

At first, it seemed that six months was a long time(especially when I was still at home waiting for the cherished day of departure); I was both excited and a little scared, but since I was traveling with a faithful companion, all the adaptation processes to what was happening around me became calmer.

And finally, the day has come, suitcases are collected, relatives are crying and I’m in a semi-shock state passing passport control, looking at the people, enjoying the Russian mentality.

We bought round tickets to avoid awkward situations in the end. (Two large suitcases of 23 kg and a possible change of dates were provided by Aeroflot).

Direct flight and in 3 hours and I am at Schiphol airport, in the center of Amsterdam. We were greeted by smiling senior students, noted in the check-list, we waited for all the guys and went to the buses (all as prescribed in numerous letters and notifications from the University).

The city of Enschede, located a few dozen kilometers from the border with Germany, is only 2-3 hours from the airport (there is a train or bus option).

The town is small, 150 thousand people, a typical cozy European center with a Church, small streets and open verandas in cafes and restaurants. Despite the small area of the settlement, there is everything: from the market with fresh products and things, which comes twice a week, to showrooms of fashion brands. Nearby there is IKEA, if you need household utensils, within walking distance everywhere there are supermarkets (from the main Spar-with more expensive products, EMTÉ and Jumbo-two cheaper, there is also an Asian supermarket).

They took us without incident and traffic jams to the dormitories, all were accommodated randomly, someone closer to the center, someone further. On average 10, maximum 15 minutes by bike or 20-30 minutes walk to the city center/University. Apartments of 4 rooms each, kitchen, bathroom and living room joint – that what we had for 400 Euros per month. Rooms were different, someone was lucky with a good kind of and large window, and have someone the size of the homes in two times less. But do not worry about it – it’s a matter of habit (as it turned out in experience, the smaller room is even more cozy than the big one).

The facilities are in good condition, but you need to keep everything clean, so my neighbors and I made a cleaning schedule. Dishes all provided. But the oven/microwave and electronic stove we had to give up, which is not so difficult. There is an Ironing Board, but no iron. Things to take: towels, bed linen (awkward with one, when you wash), Hairdryer. The fridge is small but more than enough for four+ people, everyone has a cupboard for utensils and food.

(I try to describe everything in detail, as I myself had these questions).

University

Classes began not immediately, before 3 September was familiarisation week, we could participate in various contests on annual festival HOI. The guys have a double opinion about this event, as it costs all 42 euros for 3 days, and the content may not be to everyone’s liking. (The best option is to look at the photo of the previous year and decide). Personally me, festival grassroots: music, many students in colorful t-shirts (on faculties), trampolines, football in inflatable suits, water game, volleyball, basketball and vast. + Breakfast, lunch and several group activities (quest / climbing / bowling).

Then our Faculty, International Finance and accounting, prepared separately for all the new guys of this semester a trip to create the friendly spirit – team building in the fresh air (competition for the best team of 5 people).

Finally classes began, teachers are professional, objective and moderately friendly towards students. Interactive classes, ordinary lectures, role-playing games and solving practical problems were on the schedule of classes. All materials are sent to the information portal, all grades are visible in several places, the schedule of exams and all the information of interest was provided on the official website after registration upon arrival.

The guys in the class take new exchange students for granted because of their constant shifts. Everyone is open for cooperation, ready to help in difficult situations.

-Do you need to go for the exchange program?
-Yes!

If you want to grow up, become more independent, meet a lot of new and interesting people from around the world, travel on vacation, learn how to manage time, learn another culture (and not one), plunge into the world of new opportunities and challenges, then you need to participate in the exchange training program.

(c) Maria Fedorova
(Saxion University of applied Sciences, Enschede 2018-2019)