Greetings from the Netherlands. I’ve just completed a semester exchange at the Delft University of Technology, specialising in aerospace engineering. As a third year Bachelor of Engineering student doing a dual major in mechanical and aerospace engineering, this university was the perfect choice for me: they have a world leading aerospace faculty, I wanted to study in Europe and they teach the aerospace courses in English.

When it came to courses, I struggled to get course credit, and later found that Delft had updated their curriculum. These are some of the difficulties you should expect, and one of the hurdles you will have to overcome. But actually studying in another country with a different mindset is worth it. You notice all the differences and peculiarities, and sometimes you will find that your exchange university will do things that suit you better than at home.

At first my arrival into Delft, like for all exchange students, was a daunting task. You are immediately in a foreign environment where you know absolutely no-one. I was lucky that Delft had a two week introductory programme that gave us the opportunity to learn about our surroundings, while at the same time get to know many other international students. These friendships forged in the early days, remained for the duration of my exchange, and I’m sure I will meet up with these friends sometime in the future.

In my time at Delft, I joined the Rugby team, took judo classes, and joined EuroAvia, the European Society for Aerospace Students. This was the best way to get involved in the life of the university, meet people and have a good time. With EuroAvia, I travelled to Madrid to visit aerospace companies and learn about the industry in Europe. With the rugby team, we travelled around the Dutch country side playing other teams. I actually learnt that the Dutch actually have drinking teams, with a rugby problem!

When it comes to budgeting, it depends a lot on the accommodation you are able to secure. Accommodation can be mightily expensive, but try not to get a place with too many frills, as you’ll want to try and be out and about. I lived in a ‘space box’ on campus, which was organised prior to my arrival. I would only recommend this as a last resort. I don’t suggest organising accommodation after you get there, as there is high demand for places. Prices can be anywhere from 200-500 euros per month, but you have to consider the location, and what is included (water, power, internet etc.) Some accommodation will be furnished, so you won’t need to buy household items. While the university will recommend DUWO as the organisation to handle your accommodation, I recommend otherwise. You will be able to find much better places for less, if you search websites and get in contact with people at Delft.

With regards to other costs, a bike is a must and don’t forget a decent bike lock as well. Many a bike has ended up on the bottom of a canal. Try to get a second hand bike from a departing student, for around 50 euros. If you cook at least half of your meals, and don’t eat like royalty every day, you can budget 10-15 euros a day on food. If you drink (and you will), add a few euros more. You will probably need 500-800 euros to settle in and buy the things for your place (generally from Ikea), unless fully furnished.

My top five tips are:

  • Buy the 40% discount train pass – you’ll save heaps!
  • Join a sports club and or a student association to get to know the Dutch and other foreign students.
  • Get shared accommodation – living by yourself can get difficult after a while.
  • Hoi, doei, dank u wel and alstublieft are all the ‘Nederlands’ you need to survive.
  • You must try rozijnen bollen and speculoospasta – absolutely to die for!

If you have any questions about going on exchange to Delft, don’t hesitate to contact me. I’m easy to find on Facebook.

Tot ziens.

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