Hi guys and greetings from the land of tulips and windmills!
I’m doing my study exchange in The Hague, The Netherlands. I’m studying European Studies at The Hague University of Applied Sciences. The choice of the school was quite easy for me. Back home my main studies consist of law studies and there were quite few schools that offered law studies. THUAS offered definitely the biggest amount of interesting courses and progressive school facilities. At THUAS there are over 10 000 students in a huge 8-floor campus at Laakhaven. As you might already guess, trying to find the class rooms at the first weeks was challenging. Luckily the campus is round so after a couple of laps you will end up in the right room.
As I mentioned earlier I study law. I chose couple of really interesting courses of European law and decision making but I found another subject I really got hooked: politics. I haven’t considered law studies before but because of some clashes with timetable I end up in to a Media and Politics class. I really got excited about the subject so for the second term I made some changes and took another politics course. I have already had my first exams and they were my worst culture shock. I had an open question exam that included ten highly applied and extensive questions. I could have written an essay of each of them, but we only had one and a half hour time. So nine minutes per question, it was mad. For the last question I had only 2 minutes time to answer and basically I had to just write whatever came to my mind and sum up roughly. Somehow I still managed to do quite well. To my mind the exams have been so much harder than I expected and here teachers assume you a lot of work on your free time because a course has only one lecture per week for 1,5 hour or two 45 minutes lectures per week.
This is my first time living abroad and at first I was a bit worried. How could I survive alone in totally new country and culture? Well, quite easy. After all I could describe the culture as European. It really doesn’t differ that much from the Finnish culture. People act kind of the same way, food is quite similar and other usual habits are similar. So I haven’t experience the culture shock, vice versa I have absolutely fell in love with the country, especially the cute little city of Delft nearby The Hague. I had a mission to get to know the culture as well as I possibly can and for achieving that I have cycled around the Hague and visited the historical museum and old jail museum, had a canal cruise in Amsterdam and visited Jewish museum, The National museum and Anna Frank house there, visited Rotterdam’s famous food market twice, danced in the city center of Maastricht during carnival, explored Delft blue porcelains, made Stroopwafels in Gouda and much more. I have also travelled to Belgium with my new friends and in couple of weeks we are going to Prague and Edinburg together. In addition to travelling at my spare time I hang out with my new friends, bike a lot and enjoy my time here. The Netherlands had stolen my heart. It is just a blessing to experience the exchange.