Today marks my third week living in Tilburg and it has been a full on experience already. From enjoying the last whirlwind moments of my 6 week European adventure to slowing down and settling into my own room and experiencing the CRAZIEST orientation week I’ve ever been a part of, I can definitely say that exchange has started off with a bang.
MY TOP 4 POINTS
1. Join TOP Week and I*ESN (International Erasmus Student Network)
Imagine five days of activities and partying, getting to know your fellow exchange friends from all over the world and mixing it all with a bit of Dutch culture… and you will get one of the best orientation week’s you’ll ever attend. It costs 75 euros for the week, but it’s well worth it!
You will be put into a mentor group of about 20 students, so you’ll get to feel like that awkward new kid with hundreds of other awkward new kids! (Just kidding because you get to meet some really cool people and see them every Tuesday afterwards).
It was also really exciting to see the whole town get involved during TOP Week and welcoming us all to Tilburg. The number one highlight would be Cantus where thousands of students are in a hall singing at the top of their lungs and drinking beer after every song! There are also weekly themed parties at Carpe Noctem if you are an I*ESN member where you can get super cheap drinks from 1 euro.
2. You will bike everywhere
Before arriving I knew that biking was a very popular thing to do in the Netherlands. That combined with the fact that Tilburg is super bike friendly meant that getting a bike was at the top of my priority list, especially for orientation week and getting around during the semester.
I would recommend checking out the I*ESN Marketplace group on Facebook for a second-hand bike (make sure the lights work and most will come with a lock) or you can rent one via swapfiets.
TIP: Make sure to lock your bike at all times (and remember where your key is!) I had a scare that someone tried to steal my bike, but turns out my key was just lost in my pocket!
3. You will learn how to cook
As an exchange student, you’ll probably want to learn how to cook and buy your own groceries from any of the supermarket chains here to save money. You’ll come to know Albert Heijn or Emte very well. So far I’ve made pastas, noodles, chicken and burritos! I also recommend ACTION if you love home shopping. Think K-Mart with their pot plants and fairy lights which are really unnecessary but also so essential to making your room feel more like home!
4. You will be tempted to travel as much as you can
So far I’ve already travelled to Budapest with a friend I made from my mentor group during TOP week and it was an amazing weekend! It honestly could not have happened if we didn’t get cheap flights (and a bit of spontaneity), so if you are keen to travel a lot while you’re here, keep your eye out on deals.
I’ll also be heading to Vienna in two weeks and hopefully Oktoberfest, Sweden, Norway and Denmark during our mid-semester break. We really don’t get the luxury of cheap and easy flights from Australia to Europe, so I would definitely make the most out of it while you’re here!
If you have any questions, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also follow my personal blog and find out more about all the other places I’ve been to before exchange and where I’m heading during exchange at https://www.jetraveller.wordpress.com.
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