Mel from University of Manchester
From in door food markets to music festivals to secret bars, the diversity in places to visit in Rotterdam means that there is something for everyone.
"From the beginning of university I always knew that studying abroad was going to be part of my experience. When it came to choosing a destination I was happy to go anywhere as long as it was sufficient in disabled access. The Netherlands is known as a flat country so it seemed ideal!
Now that I am coming to the end of my exchange I can safely say that Rotterdam is a relaxed, vibrant, interesting city and Erasmus University has lots to offer for any exchange student wanting to experience a truly welcoming culture. From in door food markets to music festivals to secret bars, the diversity in places to visit in Rotterdam means that there is something for everyone. Whether you want a cultural experience in a museum or the chance to sample elaborate cocktails amongst Dutch locals as an exchange student you are constantly having new experiences. Rotterdam is the ideal city to study abroad and has plenty of places to socialize and meet new people from across the world.
In terms of accommodation, I chose to live on campus in the Hatta Building, as it wasn’t to far to travel for classes. Although a little expensive, I would always recommend living on campus as you are guaranteed to be close to other international students or anyone from the university if you need help which is always reassuring when you are in a foreign country. EUR is a bustling campus that is close to the city centre, with a small supermarket, food court and café bar/theatre; there are lots of places to meet up with friends after class. Also, it plays host to plenty of events for students, so it gives you the chance to become immersed in Dutch university life.
There is no doubt that the chosen mode of transport in the Netherlands is a bike, yet the Metro or Tram is a reliable and efficient alternative if you cannot ride a bike or just choose not to. I will admit that it is expensive, as unlike Dutch students you do not get free transport as an exchange student. With tram stops and the Metro station being only a short walk away from campus, as long as you have an OV-chipkaart it is a simple and easy system to follow. Rotterdam is small and so is the Netherlands as a whole so it is not difficult to get from end of the country to another and visit different cities along the way.
The lengthy, tedious paperwork that you have to complete before your exchange is all worth it once you get settled into your courses. The schooling system is not much different to the UK with lectures, seminars and final exams. Yet being an exchange student it seems as though teachers are a more relaxed whilst still having high expectations. I joined EUR as part of the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication, despite being a Politics and History student I was given the opportunity to study courses outside of my discipline such as Philosophy, Media and Communication and Sociology courses. The semester I spent in Rotterdam has been a great learning experience both academically and personally; the opportunity to study abroad is an experience like no other!"