Having come from spending 6 weeks traveling around Europe’s most beautiful beaches, sitting in the train coming into rainy Tilburg, I was starting to second guess my exchange decision.
I am now over three weeks in to my life in Tilburg, and so far I am pretty confident that I made the right choice. Tilburg is a small city in the Netherlands, just next to the Belgium boarder. It’s quiet, but the incredibly large network international students living here definitely makes up for it. Nearly all of us live together in apartment buildings called the ‘Verbs’, there are 17 students on each level…and there are a lot of levels. This really provides for an atmosphere where there is never a dull moment. On my floor alone are students from Canada, Columbia, Italy, Spain, Slovakia, Hungary, Hong Kong and Germany.
To coordinate this large group of students is the I*ESN association, and these are the people who will get you through your first week in Tilburg (TOP week), which basically just consists of probably the most beers you’ve ever consumed. Oktoberfest is even in second place compared to TOP week. You are allocated a group and a mentor, and for the next 5 days you are shown nearly everything Tilburg has to offer. There are sports and music festivals, a beach day, zero sleep, and most importantly Cantus (picture 3000 people in a large hall, each of them finishing a full beer every five minutes for two hours, with music of course). Also, in typical Dutch style, you ride a bike everywhere at any time of the day or night, it is definitely an experience. After TOP week you still get to meet up with your group every Tuesday. A couple of people will cook and you all hang out drink even more beer..shocking I know.
The university itself is also really lovely. It’s a two minute bike ride from Verbs, which makes life super easy. The classes themselves so far seem to be quite similar to classes at UTS, with similar teaching styles. However there is often a lot more weight put on the final exam (which just gives you extra time to travel during the semester instead of doing assignments). With Amsterdam only an hour and a half away, and Eindhoven airport only half an hour away, I can’t picture anyone staying home for the weekend.
I would definitely recommend coming to Tilburg for you exchange, it may not be the biggest city you have the chance to visit, but in my experience it offers everything you could want on an exchange. The people you meet will so soon become your family, and with a family this big it is impossible to get bored.
Sophie Cox (11746120)
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