From the day I arrived at Tilburg, I knew that the next 6 months were going to be a whirlwind. The journey from Australia thousands of miles away to a new country, away from everything I know and love, was always bound to be the most intimidating part of my exchange. However, being at Tilburg university, and especially living at the infamous student accomodation, Professor Verbernelaan (Verbs) with 16 other people made it almost impossible to feel lonely or even contemplate being homesick.
I have been here for nearly two months and I can safely say that most of my time is spent in the Verbs kitchen (usually not cooking as I have mastered the art of spending less than 6 minutes on each meal) but instead talking to everyone and learning all about different cultures. On my floor alone students are from Ireland, Canada, Argentina, Italy, Brazil, Turkey, Taiwan, Hong Kong, New Zealand and South Korea which inevitably sparks interesting conversation.
Tilburg University is a highly reputable university, with a great campus and a friendly feel. The teaching style is similar to UTS, however in my experience, is far more laid back. In terms of classes, for each of my law electives, I only have one lecture a week and no tutorials or seminars. The professors are often international themselves and extremely willing to help exchange students navigate their way through the semester. The dynamic between professors and students at Tilburg University is similar to that at UTS, whereby student interaction during the lectures is both recommended and appreciated.
Overall, I highly recommend Tilburg University and believe it is easy to adapt to student life here given that it is similar to UTS in several ways.
MY TOP 4 POINTS
- Join TOP Week and I*ESN (International Erasmus Student Network)
TOP week is the perfect way to start your exchange at Tilburg, being filled with fun activities, partying and getting a feel for the Dutch culture and the city more generally. On day one of TOP week, you are put into a mentor group of about 20 students from all over the world, which is a really good way to make friends. Our mentor group still hangs out every couple of weeks and catches up over dinner or drinks.
No exchange blog about Tilburg university would be complete without mentioning the chaotic yet incredible concept of Cantus. Cantus involves a live band in a massive warehouse, which is crowded by thousands of students who sing along with the band on the top of their lungs and drink plenty of beer after each song. It is by far one of the best nights I have had in Tilburg.
If you come to Tilburg in the Autumn semester, get ready for another consecutive 5 days of partying during Carnaval. Carnaval is a like a big street party, celebrated in the south of the Netherlands, where all the companies and universities shut down to accommodate the festivities. Everyone dresses up in crazy costumes and takes to the streets of Tilburg. I would highly recommend joining in and immersing yourself in the local festivities during this time, including the mini Dutch concerts held on the streets.
3. GET A BIKE
It is no joke when everyone says you will be biking everywhere in Tilburg. Despite my cycling abilities being shocking in the first couple of weeks, given that Tilburg is super bike friendly, I now enjoy being able to bike everywhere.
I would highly recommend renting a bike from Tilburg fietsen, which a small bike store near Tilburg university. It is cheaper to rent a bike here than Swapfiets (which is often recommended), and since it is so close to the university and Verbs, it makes it super convenient to take your bike in for any repairs needed. Also if you rent a bike, instead of purchasing one, the bike store does free repairs which you will definitely appreciate at some point.
4. MAKE THE MOST OF EXCHANGE
Truly, your exchange will be what you make out of it. Take advantage of any opportunity to socialise and travel, and get involved in student activities such as sport etc.
If you are coming to Tilburg for your exchange, you will not be disappointed. It is a small student town, with a cosy feel, but genuinely the best exchange program especially if you join I*ESN.
Bachelor of Business and Bachelor of Laws
For more information about the UTS Global Exchange program please visit: www.global-exchange.uts.edu.au