Masters of Architecture
Masters of Architecture

The last 8 months of travel, study and crazy adventures have been incredible, beyond my imagination, and bigger than any dream I had when I set off, (too much luggage in hand) to the Netherlands. I am a Masters student, and studied Public Buildings under the Architecture banner while at TU Delft. TU Delft is one of the best universities in the world and the workload is intense, as a full time student I would advise that if you can stretch your course or take less subjects, I would, it will be a thousand times more enjoyable! Public Buildings wasn’t exactly what I expected and throughout each course there is a strange relationship with deadlines and course outlines, for the studio subject deadlines shifted quite regularly and there was no solid outline or description of any of the work we would be completing over the semester. Other subjects I also found to be quite vague on requirements, which was tricky coming in as an exchange student and trying to determine where you stand in terms of marks. This was the biggest adjustment for me, not being used to the processes and simply understanding what is required of you, this is also something I just didn’t consider would be a problem. The theory at TU Delft is exceptional however and the campus is insane! It’s the same size as the city and sits just south in its own zone. The buildings are world class and the lectures are the same, beyond anything possible here in Australia simply due to access. I did not learn Dutch while I was there, when I expressed my ambition the locals looked at me funny and simply couldn’t understand why, suffice to say that English is spoken everywhere!

I think it’s a given that going on exchange you are going to end up in some amazing places with some amazing people. I was quite unwell while I was away and I had a whole family worth of friends that were so kind and caring, truly wonderful people. I cannot speak more highly of travel insurance either, don’t skimp, you never know what might happen. I have come home with so many incredible international friends and people that I will know for the rest of my life, that’s the expectation but it is so true, I could go on and on but it is truly the friendships formed and the people you meet that make the experience. They are what I will miss most. The travel bug also bites hard!

I lived on campus, I was lucky enough to swap accommodation with a girl that was coming to Australia and without a doubt I had the best room of any of the exchange students. I also got to live with other Dutch students, which you don’t normally get to do, this meant that I was much more integrated into the Dutch life. The international community tends to stick together so if you can arrange something like this I would recommend it. In terms of expenses I continued to pay my rent in Australia due to my housing arrangement, food was the only other real cost. I found that overall the cost of most things were similar to Australia, don’t go to the Netherlands expecting everything to be cheaper because its in ‘Europe’, Prague on the other hand, so cheap! If I could say anything about cost is prepare a realistic budget and then add 20%, having a cushion makes the experience that much more enjoyable!

Overall exchange has changed my whole life, my outlook, my attitude and the way in which I will study and pursue my dreams in the future. If you are trying to decide to go on exchange, do the paperwork and GO, if you are trying to decide if the Netherlands is the place to go I would highly recommend it.

Hot Tips

  1. Shop at the markets! Shopping at the markets in AUS is great, but only slightly cheaper than in the supermarket. In Delft shopping at the markets was significantly cheaper, 2 bags of groceries for 8E cheap! And the strawberries are way better!
  2. Don’t take too much luggage, you wont need it, no stop, take the extra jumper out of the bag now and save yourself the hassle later. I went with 22.2kg in my main bag, I posted 10kgs home and lugged a 30kg main bag plus, way over the limit (20kg), hand luggage home. This is not advised people. Pack less!
  3. There is no such thing as summer in the Netherlands, at least not as you know it. I got back in July and I am wearing the same clothes here in winter that I was there in summer, occasionally shorts or a summer dress but that’s as close as you will get.
  4. Don’t stress about the paperwork, the Dutch have a thousand systems and in the end they are pretty laid back about most of them. Get it in but don’t expect to be kicked out of the country if you don’t have it done the minute you arrive.
  5. Consider swapping accommodation with someone on exchange here, for me it was the BEST experience.
  6. Don’t feel like you have to travel every second you are there, actually living somewhere overseas is an experience in itself.
  7. Expect to pay more for your bike than you wanted to.
  8. ‘Kek Café’ – The best coffee
  9. Join a club or take advantage of the programs at the cultural center, everything from jewelry making to hip hop and its pretty cheap.
  10.  Get in early and pay for the orientation – best money I ever spent.


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