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Rotterdam, Netherlands: The Small Big City


I had never really intended to go on exchange when I first started university. However, over the years I’ve had my fair share of friends go off on exchange. It didn’t matter really matter where they had gone, when I asked them how exchange was, the overwhelming consensus was this: “Nancy, you have to go on exchange”.

So, after hours of scouring the UTS global exchange website and on a bit of a last-minute whim, I decided to apply for the Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) at Erasmus University and I can safely say that I have no regrets about it.

What I really like about Rotterdam is the fact that it’s neither incredibly small or extravagantly big. It’s also not a conventionally Dutch city. Its skylines are filled with interesting and whacky architecture that pay homage to its distinct uniqueness and then a mere 10-minute bike ride away you can find small quiet streets, lined with terraces and the occasional house with a moat around it!


You can reach just about anywhere you need to go with a bike (side note: the Netherlands is the flattest country in the world, so cycling is pretty much a breeze) and there are a myriad of activities and things to do. From food truck festivals to music festivals, chilled bars to electrifying clubs and everything in between, you’d have to try really hard to have a dull time here.


If you are thinking about coming to Rotterdam for your exchange, I do have some helpful hints and tips.

  • Once you have been accepted, organise your accommodation as soon as possible!

Getting accommodation in Rotterdam can be rather difficult, especially if you are only here for a relatively short amount of time. There are only a certain number of on-campus accommodation available for exchange students (through a company called SSH) and it’s a pure first come first serve basis. However, the good thing is that there are other housing websites available for you use if you do miss out.

  • Different ways of learning (don’t be fooled by the “contact” hours)

Especially in RSM, there is a big focus on self-learning rather than rote-learning. As such, there aren’t a lot of classes to attend every week and they are almost sporadic in comparison to a typical UTS subject. However, what the subjects lacks in in-class hours, it makes up for in out-of-class hours. Although, there is plenty of times for weekend trips, it pays to be mindful that you will have to organise some time aside to study. Or study on your weekend trips, whatever works for you!

  • Subject offerings and credit points

If you are intending to do a full-time semester load, be wary that you will probably be doing more subjects than a typical student due to the conversion from UTS credit points to ECTs. Also, because the university operates on a trimester basis, only certain subjects are offered each trimester. If you need direct subject equivalents, this may hinder you slightly.

There was a lot of work involved to get me to this point. There was a lot of paperwork, emails going back and forth, phone calls and maniac internet searching and planning but I can safely say that it was worth it. Exchange really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I am so glad that I decided to do it.

If you do have any questions about the exchange process, Erasmus University, or Rotterdam in general, feel free to reach out to me! 🙂


Nhu Quynh Do (Nancy)
Bachelor of Accounting
Rotterdam School of Management (RSM), Erasmus University

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