10th of August, just a bit over 2 months ago, I was dealing with the fact I wouldn’t be seeing Australia again this year. I would be nearly 17000kms away and on the other side of the planet. The feeling was surreal, but I was ready. First stop Dubai, then to London and then Amsterdam before a ridiculously yet legal fast-drive down to Tilburg, my new home for exchange.
At first Tilburg seems like a quiet town, something you wouldn’t expect one hour’s drive from the Capital. Coming from Sydney, a bustling metropolis, Tilburg is a sea change. Small shops, cafes, flowers and trees litter the streets in every direction. Once you get accustomed to grey skies and the constant chance of rain it’s one of the best places to relax, study and travel due to its location.
Living in “Verbs” is arguably the best choice I’ve made. Looking at Verbs from afar depicts it as 5 concrete structures, with 5 floors and 3 wings each. Having 16 other roommates definitely has its ups and downs, but we’re family. Roommates, whom without would make living here unbearable. Just from my floor (roommates) we’ve got people from Peru, Argentina, Canada, Italy, France, Taiwan, China, Korea, Denmark and the Czech Republic. In other floors and throughout Verbs I’ve met people from all across the globe. I’ve started learning other languages such as French, Italian and Danish yet I’ve made little progress in Dutch – not something I’d would have thought of.
Tilburg is a student town; the first week (TOP week) was euphoric trip. The welcome week consisted of activities that were never possible in Sydney. Having a warehouse to drink with thousands of other students, and partying like the Dutch, cannot be forgotten. The IESN (International Exchange Erasmus Student Network) made this all possible and I would definitely recommend joining them. IESN ( or ESN) organise parties every few days, with dinners and a party at its own bar every week. They also organise trips to Germany, Czech Republic and Morocco. Being a student town, and with a large international student presence, it is incredibly easy to find people with whom I want to travel. I haven’t had a weekend yet, in the last 2 months, where I haven’t traveled to someplace new either within the Netherlands or to another country.
If you don’t already know, there are bikes everywhere in Netherlands. You get everywhere on a bike. The amazing thing is that bikes have a somewhat higher priority than cars do. You forget the need for a car, when you have a bike and the public transport system here.
If you love to travel like me, I wouldn’t recommend anywhere else. In the heart of Europe, you can ride your bike to Belgium in 30 minutes, or fly to Rome for the cost of a night out in Sydney. It doesn’t get any better than this.
Kevin Truong – 11379450
And folks, remember to have fun.