It has only been three weeks since I arrived in Delft and in those three weeks I have learnt more than I initially thought. To be frank the first two days were rather grueling. I had spent a month prior to my exchange trip abroad, traveling with my friends and loved ones and then to arrive in Delft not knowing anyone and without a housemate was rather tough.
TU Delft set up great events for exchange and international students over the coming weeks and each day was better than the one before. There were welcome dinners, pub crawls, day and night events in Rotterdam and so much more. It was because of this I made so many international friends, all of whom were able to share the same ‘firsts’ as I did…. This is what they don’t tell you in travel manuals.
- The first thing to do, other than getting yourself settled into your accommodation is GET A BIKE. Without one, you will be walking everywhere. Once you see how fast it is to travel by bike, you won’t want to walk anymore.
- Almost everyone speaks english. So don’t stress. The locals are really friendly and are always willing to give you a helping hand.
- Beer is a word almost used in every sentence… I kid not. For every time I heard the word ‘BEER’ I would be able to fund my exchange trip. Most nights of my trip so far have included drinking actually…
- Dutch food is always guaranteed to include to sandwich. They have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Also I can’t forget about the cheese, it is everywhere (kaas in dutch).
- Delft itself is a small town and very multicultural and international. The locals will be able to tell you where the best place is to get different cuisines.
- Food packing is always in Dutch. So I recommend downloading an app called ‘Photo translator’, it will make those supermarket visits shorter. For reference the word for chicken is ‘kip’.
- Most shops do not accept Visa or MasterCard which is pain. So always carry some Euros with you just in case.
All in all my stay in Delft so far has been amazing. Having international friends means that I’m not only learning about Dutch life but about so many other cultures too. With lots of social events I am always meeting someone new.
The cycling culture is great here. The Netherlands is rather flat in its terrain so a half an hour ride from Delft to Rotterdam goes by in no time. It’s convenient to get everywhere and there is always room for your bike wherever you go.
Dutch games are super fun and interesting. One where you tie a string a nail and wrap it around your waist. The aim is to drop the nail into the beer bottle in a squat kind of motion. I know it sounds super odd but you just have to try it. Another is when you slide several disks into numbered slots, the aim is the get a disk in each slot to double the points (harder than it sounds).
To anyone who is thinking about exchange, I highly recommend it. You will come back with so many memories and experiences that will last a lifetime.
Pareena Patel / Masters of Architecture/ 11467305