Hallo from Tilburg, the Netherlands!
It’s hard to believe that just under two months ago I left Sydney, completely unaware of the adventure that was about to unfold. Although the planning for exchange took approximately a year to complete, it still had not hit me when I was on the plane to Europe that I was going to be living and travelling abroad for the rest of the year. But since leaving Sydney, I have travelled to London, Portugal, Spain, Belgium, Croatia, Italy and finally arrived in the Netherlands to start my exchange at Tilburg University – and I have absolutely loved every single moment!
I arrived in Tilburg over two weeks ago and settled into my accommodation at Verbs, the dormitory buildings for exchange students. Although I was a bit apprehensive about living on a floor with sixteen other people and sharing only one kitchen, three showers and two toilets, living at Verbs has been a highlight thus far of my exchange. In the last two weeks I have met people from all over the world, formed some incredible friendships and made some crazy memories. These include playing Kings Cup in our dorm kitchen, the park, and by the canal in the middle of the rain; Top Week (I’ll get back to this below) and various Harry Potter marathons in the dorm living room with homemade hot chocolate and popcorn.
Another highlight, as mentioned before, has been Top Week, which essentially is Tilburg University’s orientation week. Top Week is arranged by I*ESN, a student run organisation that arranges many other events throughout the semester primarily for exchange students. During Top Week we were randomly allocated to different groups with two local students as our mentors to show us the ropes at Tilburg University. There were various events throughout the week including a pub-crawl around Tilburg city centre, a pool party, a festival at a Lake House in the woods and the infamous Cantus, which involved drinking, dancing and singing along with a live band for three hours. Top Week was honestly one of the best weeks of my entire trip thus far and was a great way to meet other exchange students and form close friendships beyond the groups of friends I already had made at Verbs.
Other than Top Week, I*ESN also organise parties every Tuesday throughout the entire semester at the university nightclub, Carpe Noctem, as well as regular pub-crawls, trips around the Netherlands and Europe, trivia nights and more Cantus’. I have recently joined as a member and would highly recommend this as you get free entry to all parties and events as well as many other benefits, including 15% off Ryanair flights throughout Europe (which I am very eager to take advantage of!)
Post Top Week, I have started classes at university and to my surprise have found the subject content really interesting. Many of the subjects look closely at legal issues concerning the European Union, which I have found extremely refreshing and different to my usual studies at UTS. However, the benefit of being on exchange in Europe and having an amazing timetable with subjects only falling on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, is that I am able to travel from Thursday – Sunday. For example, I am currently writing this blog post on a flight to Madrid! I have realised that the travel opportunities whilst being in the Netherlands (which is conveniently located in the centre of Europe therefore making it incredibly easy to roam around and explore) are infinite! All in all, these last two months have exceeded all expectations, been some of the best months of my life, and I cannot wait for the many more adventures to come on my exchange journey.
Bachelor of Business and Bachelor of Laws
For more information about the UTS Global Exchange program please visit: www.global-exchange.uts.edu.au