Tag Archives: Netherlands

Groeten uit Zwolle!

Christmas is almost here which means that my exchange period is almost over. Before my exchange I was excited, scared and I didn’t know what to expect because this was my first time when I was going abroad alone. Before I came here, five months seems such a long time but I can certainly say that time flies here! Now it’s sad to leave all these nice places and wonderful people and come back to Finland.

I’m living in Zwolle which is quite small (population around 125 800) but very cozy and calm city in the northeaster Netherlands. If you like big and crowded cities, Zwolle isn’t probably right place for you. But it is just perfect for me. The city center is small but there are many nice restaurants, cafés and shops (such as Primark, H&M, Zara). And of course, there are beautiful canals and old buildings.

I’m studying at Windesheim University of Applied Sciences. Windesheim is quite big school and there are many students. Most of my lessons are in the X building which is the newest building and very modern. My program is called Doing Business in the World and I have chosen courses like sustainability marketing, business ethics and organizational psychology. In addition to these we have one project for a real customer.

Studying here is very similar than in TAMK. We have many groupworks and projects. I think that the biggest difference is that the teachers here are more direct they have higher standards than in TAMK. For example, if they aren’t satisfied with your assignment they might ask you to improve it. Most of the students in my class are exchange students but there are also a few Dutch students.

Dutch people don’t eat lunch at all. At lunchtime, they eat only sandwiches or fries. And they eat fries A LOT! You can find snack bars almost in every corner. I would never have thought to say this but I really miss TAMK school lunches!

The first thing I did after I arrived at Zwolle was to find a bike because bike is the easiest way to move from one place to another. Bikes in here are quite expensive for example I paid 90 euros for my secondhand bike. I live in Leliestraat in a shared room where we have a bunkbed, own kitchen and bathroom. The building is old but the room is nice and my roommate is wonderful.

In my spare time, I have enjoyed walking around the beautiful city center and the park right next to my accommodation. I had quite lot of work in the first period but now I have more free time and I have been travelling around the Netherlands and Germany. Travelling here is easy and the distances are really short compared to Finland.

-Anniina

Groeten uit Ljouwert!

Greetings from Leeuwarden – or Ljouwert as the Frisians call it. Leeuwarden is a city of around 95 000 people in the north of the Netherlands. Leeuwarden is a nice and cozy city, full of canals and everything one could need. This city will also be the cultural capital of Europe in 2018!

Leeuwarden in August.

I study at Stenden University of Applied Sciences, which is – I have come to notice – a very nice and valued school for hospitality industry. During the first module here, I studied international hospitality management; hospitality operations design, to be exact. This included topics such as, how to define the perfect price for a night at a hotel (from hotel perspective) and how different kinds of layouts at restaurants affect the work motivation of employees. All in all, the first module was a lot of work, but also honestly very interesting at the same time!

Flowers and canals.

The biggest difference with studies at Stenden and my studies at TAMK, was the method of teaching. Here we also had lectures but they were not the main focus. Everything came together in PBL, Problem Based Learning, which was a hard method to learn at first, but most rewarding after getting the hang of it. We had two PBL classes each week and at every session we were given a problem, based on the topics discussed that week in other classes, and our job was to come up with a solution for it. This way the students were “forced” into learning how to apply the information received beforehand and just learning it by heart was not an option.

During my spare time I have traveled a lot. Already in the beginning we came up with a nice group of girls to travel together and have been doing it ever since. Because the Netherlands is quite small, it has also been possible to do a lot of day trips around the country. One could even say, we have now seen every corner of the city – or at least the most major ones. Here are the cities we have seen, just to name a few: Amsterdam, Utrecht, Rotterdam, The Hague, Eindhoven, Maastricht, Groningen and Zwolle.

Although studying at Stenden has been a lot of work at times, I think I have also learnt a lot from it and would definitely recommend this university to others. And when one is able to schedule school work efficiently, one has plenty of time to travel as well and also explore the cute little city of Leeuwarden itself. 

Greetings from the Netherlands

I never thought I’d truly fall in love with a country such as Netherlands, but it happened. The people here remind me of Finnish people, but more open minded and accepting.

I’m studying at the Hague University of Applied Sciences, and I’m attending a project called European Project Semester. This year’s project is to create a smartphone application that helps art students and young artists to promote and sell their art. We’ve decided to create an application that lets the user talk to pieces of art, such as statues and paintings. When the user gets close to a piece of art he gets a message from it and can start having a conversation. Each art piece has artificial intelligence, meaning they can learn from the conversations they have.

In my spare time I mostly hang out with my newly found friends, making food, going to parks and to the beach or with our school project. It is very easy to get around the Hague because of the bike lanes that are everywhere, and if there isn’t one you can just cycle among the cars without the fear of road rage. The public transportation is also very functional.

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Me and a couple of buddies also did some traveling around Europe. First we went to Belgium, and spent time in Brussels and also Bruges, a medieval trading post on northern Belgium. Then after that we went to see Vienna, Prague and Krakow. It is very easy to get around central Europe with either a bus or a train. We usually use the bus, as it is way cheaper compared to train or airplane, with some exceptions.

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Studying in the Netherlands feels, for the most part, the same as Finland. Dutch people kept telling me that apparently the education system in Finland is perfect and their system is trying to replicate what’s happening in Finland . Although I did not get to see the whole picture, I don’t think it differs that much from Finland’s education system.

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I also bought two bikes, both of which I fixed. One of them (the one on the photo) i brought with me to Finland.

Hallo from the Netherlands!

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I’m now almost at the end of my semester here in Nijmegen. I came here to study intercultural social work at HAN University of applied sciences. Soon I’m leaving here with a better understanding of cultures and intercultural communication. Now I have more ways of dealing with cultural misunderstandings and conflicts and I’ve opened my eyes to many problems considering racism and social exclusion.

My study program is called Intercultural social professional. Our schedule includes three days of internship every week and two days of school, so the program does keep me busy. Teachers like to keep us moving, so the classes fill up from different method exercises and practical assignments. I don’t think I’ve ever sat down in a chair and just listened the teacher even for an hour.  I ended up doing my intenship in a primary school, where the children don’t speak English. Even without shared language, I’ve learned a lot in my internship and the Dutch hospitality has really shown there. Doing an internship has given me a way to really work with local people and get to know the culture on a deeper lever. Still I’m happy that I didn’t choose to do just an internship abroad, because with the studies I’ve gotten a huge community around me and I feel like I’m getting the whole Erasmus-experience.

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HAN seems to have a lot in common with TAMK and actually on a quick visit to HAN, you might think you’ve come to a Finnish University. The differences are there, but deeper. Compared to our studies in Finland, teachers here expect more from you. I’m not talking about knowledge or actual skills, but the expectation is that students handle their studies independently and if they need help, they will get it from other students. I like this mentality that you’re an adult and you have the responsibility of your studies, but for an exchange student that can be hard. It’s not so easy to get support, information or help with figuring out everything here. The working mentality is a little bit different, since the students pay for the studies. They expect to get great teachers and they say directly if they’re not pleased with it. Sometimes I’m terrified of how students speak to teachers, but it seems to be fine to them. Dutchies work hard and play hard and they don’t mix those together. Free time is appreciated and it’s not a shame if you end your school day enjoying a beer in the school’s restaurant.

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Soooo, moving on to the free time. I was lucky enough to get to live in Vossenveld, which is a student complex for mostly international students. This complex has made it easier to get friends and keep in touch. There’s always someone banging on my door or texting me to go outside, so if you don’t want to, you’re never alone here. We often say that Vossenveld is our own little village. It’s extremely easy to travel in the Netherlands by train, so I’ve seen a lot. I’ve also got to know the neighbors Germany and Belgium pretty well. Nijmegen itself offers everything you could ever need. It’s beautiful, old and a really alive city with a lot to do and see. Nightlife here is also pretty great, since this is a big student city! Dutch people are helpful, open and generally nice, but they’re also busy, so making real friends is a task. Don’t put your hope on “let’s hang out sometime”, no you won’t. Make up a date.

My experience in the Netherlands has been amazing. Besides getting a bunch of new, life-long friendships and unforgettable memories, I’ve learned and grown as a professional and as a person. This is a country and a culture I could honestly picture myself living in. Although then I would have to build my own sauna and find forests somewhere.

Beste wensen, Jenni

 

Greetings from the Netherlands!

I have been studying in Utrecht, The Netherlands for three months now. I have loved it here and I am excited for the remaining two months.

Amsterdam
Amsterdam

I am studying Sports and Entertainment Marketing at the HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht. Studying here is quite easy as I am used to the studying method where there isn’t that many lectures and more group work and other projects. For example, I have worked at Utrecht Marathon and 3FM Awards festival as a part of my studies. In May my class is also doing a trip to Rome. In comparison to my studies in Finland, we do a lot more projects for actual companies. The teachers are more direct and demanding. If they don’t think your paper is good enough, they will tell you and ask you to do it again.

typical dutch view
typical dutch view

As I have quite lot of free time, I have taken an advantage of it. I spend lots of time with my friends, go to the gym and running and do a lot of normal things I usually do when I have free time. I also have lots of time to travel around the Netherlands as well as around Europe. I have already visited four other countries during my exchange, done two road trips and other trips around the Netherlands.

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I feel like my time here just flies by. But I still have two months left and I am going to make the most of it!

Memories from beautiful Rotterdam

I did my 5 months study exchange semester in Rotterdam and i can’t believe how fast the time has flown. One might feel that 5 months is a bit too much for an exchange but i would certainly stay longer if i could.

My time in this beautiful city has been absolutely fantastic and by the end of my semester i totally felt at home in Rotterdam. This city is definitely very unique comparing to the rest of the Netherlands: in Rotterdam you won’t see much of the Dutch traditional building style; instead you’ll witness some of the most unique architecture styles in the world as the Rotterdam redefined itself as one of the most daring urban designed cities. The city was completely flattened during WWII, so it was almost entirely rebuilt.

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The only part of Rotterdam that survived after WWII

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Rotterdam is very dynamic and offers loads of fun things to do starting from art exhibitions to electro raves and many interesting food places. Since Rotterdam is the most multicultural city of the Netherlands it has many food options, such as typical Dutch, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Vietnamese and Indonesian eatery. The famous Witte de Withstraat will keep you entertained all week long as it has quite a number of art galleries, small international food places, bars and great atmosphere. Any day of the week you will find something fun to do, which does not involve drinking.

I lived only 20 minutes by walk from the centre and by bike the distance could be easily travelled in 10 minutes. I was very lucky to enjoy the amazing view from the terrace in my dorm.

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Regarding the school, I attended supply chain minor programme at Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences. The minor was 30 credits (slightly more than required by TAMK) and eventually it was a lot of work. Even though i was eager to deepen my knowledge (and eventually i did), i would definitely drop out some courses if i knew how much workload it contains. So, if you are looking for an easy-going relaxed studying i would not recommend taking minor programmes in the Netherlands (or it is better to be careful in general with all programmes as all universities are rather demanding and the number of credits for each course is rather small). Getting a pass is not as easy as it is in TAMK, so you would have to actually sweat to get it. My school was only 3 times a week but still i felt like i don’t have much free time. Besides that, i have learned a lot and visited many companies within the minor scope, the thing that i lacked in our degree programme in Finland.

Apart from being busy with school projects, i travelled quite a lot within the Netherlands and abroad. Due to the city’s developed transport network and favourable location, travelling has never been that easy! It takes only a couple of hours by bus to get to another country. During my stay I visited Brussels, Antwerp, Madrid and many cities in the Netherlands (Amsterdam. Maastricht, Delft, Breda, Dordrecht, the Hague, Utrecht etc).

The price level is pretty much the same as in Finland, except alcohol. Surprisingly, some groceries were a bit more expensive than in Finland, but the variety compensates that.

The weather has not been that shitty as everyone says it is in the Netherlands. I was lucky enough to enjoy hot weather for the whole September and even go to the amazing beach in the Hague. Also, its winter is relatively warm so i did not even need to carry huge jackets.

DSCN4018Beach in the Hague

The town that particularly impressed me was Delft, a small version of Amsterdam.

DSCN4242Fascinating Delft

In general, my exerience has been absolutely great and i would definitely recommend visiting this amazing city.

DSCN3572 DSCN4314 DSCN4319 DSCN4352Highlights of Rotterdam

 

Hello from the Netherlands!

Hoi! Hoe gaat het met jullie ?

I have almost finished my study term in the Netherlands and would like to share that experience with you.

As a study place I have chosen Utrecht University of Applied Science… or maybe this University has chosen me? I don’t know but it was love at the first sight. My study program, university facilities and organisation moments were provided on a very high level. I enjoyed my time being there, even though the studies were sometimes tough!

I have completed a program, created specifically for doing business in emerging markets. During courses we have analysed perspectives and challenges in emerging markets occurring to large multinational corporations and small start up companies. The program was developed by lectures from different backgrounds and this made it so unique and worthwhile. It is suitable for truly international students, who are highly interested in exploring the world.

For example, during entrepreneurship course in teams of five people we had to come up with a business idea, which can change life of local people in a better way. The main condition it should be a country with social or economic difficulties. It was not easy at all. We had to create a website with all financial data, marketing, strategy, supply chain management etc. and present it to real investors, who work for StudentInc ( a start up laboratory). We were assessed as real businessmen and our grade showed the readiness to invest in our idea real money. To be honest, we succeeded and apparently our idea might work, thus we are in touch with my team in case we really start executing our plan!

 

In my spare time I have travelled through the Netherlands, enjoyed cheeses and had a very very good coffee. I have been to music festivals, museums and art galleries. My friends and family came to visit me from all over the world and I had a lot of fun! To be honest, I have been international student since 2014, so chilling and partying with exchange students was completely  not new thing for me. Anyway, whatever you party or not, there will be always something to do or people, who share your interests.

IMG_0762This is Nijntje. It’s well known among dutch kids.

IMG_0653 2My sister and I travelling to Hague

IMG_0163 2This is a castle in 15km from Utrecht.

Utrecht is a small version of Amsterdam with less traffic and tourists on its streets, that is why I strongly recommend going there. It’s about 25 min by train to Amsterdam, but you might spend weeks to explore every corner of this marvellous city before going to the capital or sin city haha.

IMG_0294Holland at the beginning of NOVEMBER!!!!

Comparing the studies process, everything was structured and clear. However, there was always something to do, I had quite a lot of homework every day. During exam weeks I had a couple of sleepless nights, but I could have avoid it by organising my time in line with responsibilities and needs. In Finland I was way more relaxed with studies and homework, sometimes very irresponsible too. But both this education systems have its advantages and disadvantages.

 

Dutch people are VERY direct, they do not waste time during work or meetings and… they do not have lunch. I mean, they eat of course, but it is always broodjes (sandwiches). I missed TAMK lunches a lot.

IMG_0694 Dutch know about good herring! Its LEKKER!

This is what I had in my mind, thanks everyone to make my exchange happen.

Greetings from the Netherlands

Christmas is almost here, which means that it’s also almost time to go back home.

When I started my exchange year in Leeuwarden, I was scared, excited, nervous, happy and  I didn’t know what to expect. Now that the time here is almost over, I find myself feeling the same feelings all over again. It’s weird coming back to Finland and leaving all this behind. This has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life, in good and bad, and I’ll miss living here like crazy.

thumb_img_6868_1024(c) Reetta Aho

As a media student, I ended up in the Stenden University of Applied Sciences to study Media & Entertainment management. I was fairly excited about this also, since my own program focuses mostly on just film and television production. In Stenden, they use PBL and CBL. PBL is Problem Based Learning and CBL is Case Based Learning. I had never used these kind of learning methods in Finland, so it was interesting. pbl

The picture above basically explains how PBL works.  In CBL the only difference is that we work on specific company/organization and try to find solutions for their problems. It was more theory than I was used to, since in my own school we study mostly by doing projects and don’t focus on the theory as much. It was a good experience, but I’m also happy to go back to my own studies. Luckily Stenden is filled with exchange students, so the teachers and other students have patience with me and they take their time with helping and explaining stuff to me.

The groups in school are also much smaller than in Finland, in one PBL/CBL group there can be a maximum of 13 students.

The school has been hard, it’s a lot of work and it takes a lot of my free time here, but still I’ve had the chance to travel around this beautiful country. Of course it’s also the fact that you can travel through the Netherlands in about a day.

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(c) Reetta Aho

The only way I know how to put my exchange experience in words is: once in a lifetime experience. And for someone, who is considering doing their exchange year in the Netherlands, I can just say that it would be a great choice.

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(c) Reetta Aho

Greetings from The Hague!

I study game development and simulation at The Hague University of Applied Sciences. I live next to the main campus in The Hague but my classes are in Delft so I have to travel every day by train the campus. My first few weeks have been hectic since I still haven’t quite adapted to studying after summer vacation and the pace we have to study has been almost overwhelmingly fast. We have practical workshops and theory lectures for about 4 weeks in which we study the basics of 3D modelling, game programming, physics, math etc. After that we don’t have any classes to attend to and we are supposed to make a game for the HTC Vive virtual glasses in groups of five students.

This type of studying is something I’ve never had in Finland and it has its positive and negative sides. It gives us freedom to work how and when we want but it’s all up to the team to get things done before the deadline. Since I personally haven’t had any game development classes and I don’t have any previous 3D modelling or Unity game engine experience I have to study extra hard to be worthwhile in the team. Luckily, other students have been extremely kind and helpful if I need help with my assignments or with anything else.

One huge difference is that school cafeteria only serves sandwiches, snacks, warm pastries etc. It’s not very cheap so some/most of students bring their own lunch. I find it hard to adapt because I’m used to having a full meal at school in Finland. Fortunately, our school days are pretty short so breakfast is enough to survive through the day.

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View from my roof terrace

I haven’t had much spare time during these few weeks but when I do I have been trying out new culinary experiences and beers. So far I have been pleasantly surprised. The rest of my spare time goes to buying necessities to my apartment and figuring out everyday things like how can I wash my clothes and stuff. After few weeks I’m sure I have more time to do something more fun.

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Finally had the chance to taste KFC

That’s pretty much everything I can say at the moment. All in all, my stay has been enjoyable so far and I’ve learned a lot. I’m curious what the future holds.

Exchange in Zwolle, the Netherlands

 

Zwolle from above
Zwolle from above

 
A little bit more than half of a year has already passed since I’ve came back from my study exchange in Zwolle, but memories are still alive. Even though, frankly speaking, I did not like Windesheim University of Applied Sciences for certain reasons I’ve described in the exchange report, Zwolle itself still made a better impression on me.
The ones who are crazy about big and noisy European capitals would not probably like Zwolle that much, because the town is rather calm and small, to be more precise – just 200 thousands people living there and its small start-shaped city center can be crossed on foot just in 25 minutes. But because I happen to be creeped out by huge, stuffy, crowded, dirty and smoggy megapolises, Zwolle was just of a perfect size for me. Even though Zwolle is quite little, it is still that type of town where everything one might need can be found. It is a very cozy place: nice small streets, little cafes, every now and then street merchants and street entertainers, a couple of middle-aged churches – in a word, everything in the best traditions of little neat towns of Europe. But also Zwolle is “very Dutch”. When you come there you can’t really confuse what country you are in: canals, omnipresent bicycles, traditional Dutch fast food, and coffeeshops 😀 are surrounding you from the first moment you reach the place.
Legendary Dutch canals
City centre view
The location of the town is also convenient, it is just 100km away from Amsterdam, around 40km to the border of Germany, and also rather close to a few other well-known Dutch cities.

The tallest building in the city centre, Pepperbus
The tallest building in the city centre, Pepperbus

Do I miss it? Hard to say; even though I would not probably agree to spend another 5 months there, it would still be nice to visit it again and have some reminiscence moments at some point.