I am writing this blog exactly 2 months into my exchange at Tilburg University in the Netherlands and I could not be happier! Bike-riding, snow, blue skies, stroopwafels, a lot of beer and easy access to the rest of Europe – I have experienced it all! Tilburg is a gorgeous small town situated in the south of the Netherlands very close to the Belgian border and only about a 1.5 hour train ride to Amsterdam. Situated in this university town you quickly get to know both the locals and your fellow exchange students. There are 272 exchange students at Tilburg University this semester (and usually about 450 in the summer session) so there is always someone new to meet and never-ending social activities. The I*ESN club throws parties every Tuesday night (so try to not plan any classes for Wednesday mornings) and multiple trips throughout the semester including ski trips, trips to Poland and trips to see the famous Dutch tulips and windmills. Orientation week in Tilburg consisted of TOP week where we had a different themed party every night, pub crawls, multiple daytime activities and a crazy cantus (a typical Dutch tradition of a huge room filled with 1,200 young people drinking endless jugs of beer at long tables and singing along to a live band).
If you are going to come to Tilburg then you must stay at the international housing, Verbs (book your room as soon as the opportunity arises as they fill in minutes!). With 17 people per floor, 3 showers, 2 toilets and 1 shared common room/kitchen you are certainly in for a treat! Before coming here I thought HOW AWFUL and whilst the floor may always be a little sticky from beer, there are constant arguments over who left their dishes in the sink and endless messages about who can buy more toilet paper, Verbs is the best place to meet people from all over the world! With 17 people it is never quiet or lonely as there is always someone to chat to and a party at Verbs almost everyday of the week. On my floor I am lucky enough to live with people from Finland, Norway, Slovakia, Brazil, Indonesia, China, Thailand, Spain, Hungary, Sweden and Mexico! We have regular cook-offs where people share their favorite dishes from home (including a lot of taco nights) and there is also a resident mouse called Jepotto (he is very cute I promise)! Verbs is about a 15 minute bike ride into town, a 3 minute walk to the local train station and a 2 minute bike ride to the university (and the local Albert Heijn supermarket making for perfect late night snacks or alcohol runs) so it is so cheap to get around. Everyone rides their bikes into town and back home (somewhat straightly) when we go out for dinner, parties, pubs, clubbing and cantus’ which is always a barrel of laughs and so much fun (although a little freezing in –2 degree weather). There are so many pubs and clubs in town so you will not get bored of going out (including the exchange association run club, Carpe Noctem).
Tilburg has given me the opportunity to travel almost every weekend. So far I have been to Amsterdam, the Hague, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Cologne, Antwerp, Bruges and the UK! I have plans to travel to Spain, Morocco and Malta soon so save your money as you will have plenty of time to explore Europe with your newfound exchange friends!
Tilburg is small with a big heart and a whole heap of wonderful exchange students and I could not recommend it more. I am so grateful to be here and LOVE everything this beautiful town has to offer! So get on your bike and come see Tilburg, I promise you will not be disappointed and you will make friends for life!
If you have any questions at all please feel free to send me through an email (Isabel.firstname.lastname@example.org) and I would be more than happy to help!