Hello from Holland!

When I first arrived in Tilburg I had no idea what to expect from my six months abroad. However, I am now at the half way point of my studies here at Tilburg University and I have completely fallen in love with this country.

Tilburg is located in the south of the Netherlands, about an hour and a half from Amsterdam and only 20 minutes away from Belgium. It is a small town in comparison to Sydney, but it is the sixth biggest city in the Netherlands. Technically it is not in the provincial region of ‘Holland’ yet this is what most locals refer to the Netherlands as in English. The town outskirts have an industrial feel, however it only takes a five minute bike ride to be in the heart of the town where the streets are beautiful. Despite being small, when I ride through the back streets I feel like I could get lost forever.

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This photo still doesn’t capture just how many bikes there are in Holland!

The Dutch are wild. They are attractive, tall (and I mean very tall) people who always tell it like it is and love to party. They eat a lot of bread and cheese, and deep fried greasy food. Luckily for their figures, they also ride bikes everywhere. Having a bike is a necessity living in Tilburg as it is the easiest way to get around. We ride to the shops, to classes, to the pub – everywhere. It took a while to get used to riding on the right (which is the wrong!) side of the road but we are all experts now.

IESN is the international students association in Tilburg and it is absolutely great. They organise countless number of parties and dinners and trips. They even have their own bar – Carpe Diem. It is where we go every Tuesday night for a themed party and to drink 1 Euro beer. The association brings together all the international students living in Tilburg and makes this town truly great. However, there isn’t a whole lot to do beyond constant socialising and eating. But this means that my time in Tilburg is really fun yet I don’t feel guilty exploring the rest of Europe which is literally on my doorstep. In the three months since starting my exchange, I have already explored the Greek Islands, spent a weekend in Sweden, popped to Paris and Versailles, taken day trips to Belgium, spent time in London, drunk litres of beer at Oktoberfest in Munich, taken a road trip to Poland and spent my Fall break in Spain. As well as this, I have explored some of the beautifully picturesque cities that Holland has to offer.

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The ISEN group on an organised trip to Oktoberfest!

Time is flying by and I’m already getting sad thinking about leaving all the people who I have become so close to. I have made the most amazing friends who have become like my family. When I travel Europe on the weekends, coming back to Tilburg feels like I am coming home. I can’t wait to see what the next three months in Holland has to offer!

Lucy Adams – 11212457

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