My first couple of months in the Netherlands have flown by just as I thought they would.
The first couple of weeks were a blur – lots of student events and parties and University orientations. The city goes crazy with people looking for and selling second hand bikes [if you’re buying a bike, this is the best way to do it, and I wouldn’t spend more than 60 euro … unless you really want to.]
At Maastricht University, the semester is divided in to three parts, so my topics are well spread out and I am only at Uni two days a week at the moment – meaning a four day weekend! There’s plenty of time to travel but also quite a lot of readings to do before each class so it’s important to find a balance – sometimes I just print my readings out and do them on the way to my next destination. I’m just about to finish my first two topics and have my first set of exams, then finally I can plan a few more holidays! So far I’ve visited some friends in Scotland and Belgium and spent some time embracing the sun in Spain before the European Winter sets in.
I live in a student building, close to my faculty but just outside of the city centre. Nothing is more than a 15 minute bike ride away, but cycling is sometimes a challenge after a few beers!
Travel around the Netherlands is very easy. I went to visit a friend in Amsterdam last week and stopped by Utrecht on the way – if you choose to do an exchange in the Netherlands, this is another option as well as Maastricht. It’s a bit bigger and closer to Amsterdam and has lots of cool cafes, bars and restaurants.
There is so much to see in the Netherlands, I’d advise anyone considering study at Maastricht or Utrecht to set some money aside for travel within the country, as well as around the rest of Europe! I’m planning a few more day trips with the friends from my building. We want to go to Rotterdam, the Hague and to see the Kinderdijk windmills. There is also a beautiful little town called Giethoorn (Google it!), which they call the Venice of the Netherlands. We’re hoping to make it there, too! But for now, it’s back to studying… See you later, Adelaide!
Melissa Sims, a Bachelor of Psychological Science student, Semester 2 2016 exchange at Maastricht University, the Netherlands
- See Melissa’s per-departure story here