In early January 2015 I finally arrived at the small Dutch city of Tilburg or my second home for the next 6 months whilst on exchange. I know ‘second home’ sounds cliché but since day one and being welcomed off the train at ‘Tilburg Universiteit Station’ by my mentors of I*ESN I have felt right at home.
My roommates definitely play a key role in ensuring it feels like home. I live with 16 other amazing exchange students who are all from different countries (2 Finnish, 2 Irish, 2 Canadian, 1 Slovakian, 1 Argentinian, 1 Polish, 1 Singaporean, 2 South Koreans, 1 Italian, 1 Taiwanese and 2 Cantonese). We believe that we live on the best floor on street Professor Verbernelaan or ‘Verbs 28’ (we’re probably right though). Every Wednesday night we cook family dinners and any other day we are organising events and just generally looking out for each other. I always look forward to Tuesday nights whereby we bike to Tilburg City Centre to party at ‘Carpe Diem’, which is a club only for exchange students.
In regards to Tilburg City, although it is only a small city compared to Amsterdam or Rotterdam because it has such a large student demographic the City Centre is always buzzing at night. This exchange has been such a great opportunity to learn more about the Dutch culture; from cycling, eating famous Dutch cheese, singing in a beer cantus or taking part in the annual Carnaval festival (which has definitely been a highlight for me – a weekend of constant partying and insane costumes).
Lastly, being on exchange in Europe has allowed me to visit so many other amazing countries and experience different cultures. A few weeks ago I was in Lapland (northern Scandinavia) and was fortunate enough to see the Northern Lights, go dogsledding and snowmobiling. It was a trip I will never forget. I am so excited for the remaining months of my exchange. Once exams finish in late May, I am planning to do two months of travelling around Europe and I’m hoping to spend as much time as possible near the beach!
Doei, tot zeins.
Dominic Raneri (11406648)