Studying abroad in the Netherlands
My name is Robyn, I’m a second year Politics and Philosophy & Ethics student. I am currently on a 6 month study abroad programme in Nijmegen, Netherlands at Radboud University, studying Politics, Philosophy and Society.
Studying abroad was always something I had wanted to do, ever since I applied to university. With Chichester being a small university and the sheer lack of knowledge about what Brexit would mean for us I had my concerns it wouldn’t happen. During 1st year I inquired about my options with the international office. I was then directed to someone within my department to discuss options of which university and where.
I looked at universities in America, Canada and Europe and decided Radboud University in the Netherlands was the best option for me. The choice to stay in Europe was a fairly straight forward one. The course Radboud offered suited me best, geographical proximity meant flights would be much cheaper than going further afield and staying within Europe also carried the benefit of the Erasmus money grant (however, a EU funded scheme which may no longer be available once we have left).
The course, the town, the country and finance are all important factors when deciding where you want to study, look into all of them. It’s important you find the course that is right but also that the city/town is a place you’ll be comfortable.
Once you have applied and been accepted start looking into the practicalities – leaving day will come around much faster than you think. Accommodation is an important thing to get sorted – I was lucky that Radboud offer 6 month student hall rentals so I booked a room through the university. Those who didn’t have really struggled to find housing in Nijmegen as there is a severe housing shortage and it is near impossible to find temporary accommodation on a student budget. Do some background research into life in the city/country, for example in the Netherlands the main way to get around is a bike. Every student has one.
In August 2019, with my life packed into 2 suitcases, I set off for Nijmegen. My nerves where not so much about living abroad or the university but rather meeting other people. Which is why Radboud orientation week was perfect for me. The university has over 850 international exchange students a year so they are very well organised when welcoming new students. I moved in the Sunday and on the Monday orientation week began. I was put into a group of around 10 other international students and 4 mentors – we spent the week together, getting to know each other, the uni and the city.
The week was jammed packed full of events such as a city tour, help buying a bike, a bring your own dish dinner, parties and a festival at the weekend. Keeping so busy during the first week and meeting new people straight away meant I wasn’t so overwhelmed and any worries I had I knew could be shared with 10 other people feeling the exact same. Not all uni’s offer such an extensive programme but I cannot recommended enough going to the introductory events held. Making friends is what will make the experience.
The past 5 months have flown by and I’ve loved every minute. I’ve tried to make the most of living in Europe and its open borders by travelling as much as money will allow. Don’t make the mistake of leaving travelling until later because, like me, next thing you know you’ll be leaving in a month. As much as it is a cliché it really has been the best decision I’ve made, such an incredible experience with new friends for life. It is something I would recommend to everyone!
If studying abroad is something you definitely want to do, are thinking about or if you just want some more information then don’t hesitate to contact the international office on firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you might have.
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