I’m now in my second week of classes at Erasmus University Rotterdam (Erasmus for short), and have had a great experience settling in to life in Rotterdam. For anyone considering studying in the Netherlands, I couldn’t recommend the university and student life more highly.
It’s important to note that at Erasmus the exchange is with the faculty rather than the university. As such it is important to note which faculty the courses you want to take are run by, as this is where you apply for exchange. For my exchange I am studying at the Rotterdam School of Management (RSM). This is consistently recognised as one of the top business schools in Europe and attracts a high calibre of students from across the world.
The biggest challenge I encountered while organising my exchange was that RSM operates on a trimester system. During a trimester the majority of students will take 20 ECTs of subjects, but to meet UTS’ subject requirements UTS students need to take a load of 30 ECTs. So far, this subject load seems to be manageable, but it is definitely a more full-on study schedule than the other UTS students I know who have been on exchange.
As a city Rotterdam has exceeded my expectations in almost every way. The city centre is lively and has plenty of shops, bars and restaurants – it’s always easy to find somewhere to get a beer or a feed. The vast network of bike lanes (nearly everyone rides a bike) makes it cheap and easy to get around during the day and makes for an exciting trip home after a night out. With a huge student population there is always something going on, from catching up with friends at uni, exchange student events, beer cantus’, uni societies, or a casual Sunday sesh.
A couple of pieces of advice I have picked up along the way if you’re planning on going to Rotterdam:
- Plan to do the majority of your travel before (or after exchange) and enjoy the city while you live there. Some classes (especially minors) are compulsory so it isn’t practical to be skipping classes to go travelling each week.
- Organise accommodation early. There is a shortage of accommodation, and on campus housing runs out particularly quickly. Apply on the day applications open as it is allocated on a first come, first served basis.
- A lot of places only accept ‘Maestro’ cards and a normal Australian debit/ credit card won’t work, so you will need to open a bank account. ING is the easiest bank to open an account with (they don’t require a BSN number, which can take weeks to receive).
- The exchange staff at RSM are helpful, so make use of their resource in the lead up to exchange. They deal with a lot of students though, so once you arrive in Rotterdam it is much easier to visit their office in person.
If you’re going to Rotterdam, or thinking about heading there feel free to shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I’ll try and clear up any questions you may have.
Alex van Veen
Bachelor of Accounting
Erasmus University Rotterdam