John - Utrecht University

B Mechanical Engimeering/Arts
Semester 2, 2018
When I left the country, I felt like I was leaving home.

Academic experience

I studied:
Medieval History from 400 A.D. to 1000 A.D.
Human Rights in The Transatlantic World Order from 1945 to Present
The Middle East after 1945
Playful Media Cultures

I really enjoyed how the lectures were 2 hours but spaced out with a 15 minute break in between them to allow us to relax and refocus. The teachers were very enthusiastic and were always eager to help us out with our study. 

The challenges of studying abroad included balancing time to study while enjoying my time doing other things on exchange. The other challenge was travelling to different campuses around the city of Utrecht to arrive to lectures and tutorials. I overcame both of these challenges by managing my time more effectively at University and making a time table of when I would get things done. Furthermore, it turned out to be quite amazing and serene riding on a bike around Utrecht and looking at the old buildings on the way to class.

The enrolment process was simple and required you to enrol 4 subjects in one semester. In each semester, there are two 9 week terms. In each of these terms, you must complete 2 subjects.

Personal experience

From this exchange I made many friends, which I hope I will keep in touch with in the future. I was able to make time to travel to a number of places that were geographically close, where I met many other fantastic people. From my experiences on the exchange I became more self disciplined and learned to handle my stress levels more effectively.

Accommodation

I lived off Campus in a shared house. In the house I liked living with multiple people who were also studying at Utrecht University as well as cooking with and joining them in other activities.

Costs

These are rough estimates for costs:
500 euros per month for rent
100 euros per week for food
100 euros per week for entertainment
1000 euros per trip for travel

Challenge

My landlord was turned out to be a crazy person, who was living in the same house as I, which made it even more awkward. He raised my stress levels for the time that I was living there for awhile. However, I eventually overcame the stress and learned to be mindful of the situation I was in and refocused on my work.

Professional Development

I developed a great level of discipline.
I developed a higher level of concentration.
I managed to stop bad habits that I got into back at home.
I learned how to commute everywhere in the Utrecht and I was able to plan and travel to different locations in Europe through Bus, Train and Plane.
I started trying new things and activities rather than going about the same routine I had back in Australia.

Highlight

The highlight of my trip was meeting and knowing a lot of very nice people and viewing the old European building architecture

Top tips

My advice to future students who plan to study at Utrecht is to explore the city of Utrecht and the Netherlands as much as possible. Utrecht is an amazing city and the Netherlands is a beautiful country with so many other cities to explore. Also explore as much of Europe as you can while so many countries are in such close proximity to your University. Finally, while it can be good fun to sign up with he international student organisations and meeting other international students through these, I highly recommend you try and meet as many local students as you can and participate in activities outside the International Student Organisations.