Say you’re studying in Tilburg and you usually get two responses. First, “Where?” and then there’s usually a, “Why?”. But don’t let that turn you off.
Tilburg is a small university town in the south of the Netherlands and I love it. A big reason for this is the warm sense of community that starts as soon as TOP-week (their O-week) begins. With all the events hosted throughout the week, you meet a whole bunch of people and make friends really quickly. It’s worth noting that most of these people will not be Dutch. However, having friends from Italy, Spain, Finland, Peru, Sweden, Germany and China to name a few (and yes some Australians), is all kinds of amazing.
Team Australia about to hit up Carnaval
If you go in our Autumn, be warned: when you arrive you’ll experience the kind of cold that goes straight to your bones. But don’t worry, all the biking (which is a must here) keeps you warm and being here for Winter means you get to experience Carnaval. Carnaval is a 4-day festival that precedes Lent. There are parades and people of all ages are out in the streets, dressed up, drinking and dancing to Dutch music.
This is a photo of another great Dutch tradition: cantus. This was by far one of the best nights I’ve had whilst on exchange. Think Oktoberfest crossed with karaoke. Everyone sits at these big tables, you get a booklet of songs and essentially drink and belt the night away. A number of these are organized throughout semester. This picture is from my last cantus. What’s especially awesome about this one is that it’s mid-way through semester so you get to go with the friends you’ve become closest to and everyone just has the best time.
Another great thing about Tilburg is that it’s smack bang in the middle of Europe – which makes travel so convenient. Whilst here I’ve been to Kitzbuhel, Dusseldorf, Brussels, Copenhagen, Edinburgh, London and at the time of writing this will be heading off to Budapest tomorrow (no joke) before spending 2 weeks in Spain. Not to mention, the always charming Amsterdam and the rest of the Netherlands are right on your doorstep.
Class-wise, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the subjects I’ve taken at Tilburg University. Being a law student, your options are limited as a lot of the courses require you to have studied EU law or international law. But a benefit of this was that I took really interesting subjects that I probably wouldn’t have done back at UTS. In short, the lecturers are passionate, the workload is similar if not easier to back home, and it’d be worth checking out the one week intensive courses on offer as this equals more time for travelling. Priorities.
All in all, exchange has been the most extraordinary experience. Sure you’ll find yourself opening google translate every time you buy groceries and be constantly on the lookout for good coffee (it exists!). But all that’s nothing when you consider the lifelong friends you’ve made and the incredible places you’ve visited. And I’m only half way through!
If you want to know more, feel free to contact me with any questions.
Florence Tan, 11693254