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Welcome to Rotterdam, Netherlands!

I’ve been in Rotterdam for 3 weeks now and have thoroughly enjoyed all it has served up! Rotterdam is one of the largest dutch cities, located in the South West of the Netherlands, 30 minutes from Amsterdam. It was bombed heavily in World War II so in it’s rebuilding it has become an eclectic modern city. The result is an awesome blend of original dutch lifestyle mixed with modern, cutting edge buildings. The city has a really nice atmosphere, whilst the city centre makes for a gorgeous skyline, just 5 minutes by tram and you are immersed amongst classic Dutch apartment-style buildings.

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Living in the ‘iHouse’ (International House), I have been lucky enough to meet plenty of exchange students, and as is tradition, we have tested out the Rotterdam nightlife. Needless to say it passes with flying colours! From cool little bars and pubs, to bigger  nightclubs, we’ve definitely given it a good run through! It’s been a little harder to meet Dutch people so far, but next week I start playing in the social football (soccer) team and the tennis club, so with some luck I should meet some there!

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As expected EVERYONE rides bikes, the city is set up perfectly for bike riders with bike lanes everywhere. Buying a bike is vital when living in the Netherlands, but perhaps more importantly is buying a solid lock as bike theft is rampant, as they say ‘the bike isn’t yours, the bike’s Rotterdams!’. That being said it’s a great way to get around town, and will test out all your coordination when riding home from a big night out!

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I have just started my law exchange classes, Erasmus University split the year into 4 blocks. In this block I am studying ‘Comparative Constitutional Law’, ‘Comparative Criminology’, and ‘Dutch law and Dutch Legal Culture in a Comparative Perspective’. So far the the subjects have been very interesting, with the workload similar to my law subjects back home.

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Whilst the studying has been great, making all these new friends is what has really been enjoyable! Last weekend we went to Amsterdam for the night and plenty of fun was had. Considering our ‘official welcome party’ is next week, I think the fun has only just begun!

The Netherlands is in a perfect location for travelling and with cheap flights and train trips we have plenty of options for weekend’s away! We have already booked a trip to Munich for Oktoberfest and started planning trips away to London, Paris and Milan- I can’t wait!

James Campisi 2013 – Erasmus University of Rotterdam

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