Cameron - Delft University of Technology

B Engineering (Honours)/M Engineering

Motivation

I was very keen to spend some time living in another country and gain new experiences, and the exchange program was a great opportunity to do that! I chose TU Delft because I had heard of its prestige as an engineering university, and was excited to be in the Netherlands.

 

Personal Development

Making friends from all kinds of different backgrounds was a massive highlight, and really made my exchange memorable. I was able to travel to 11 different countries, and enjoyed immersing myself in different cultures. I also think moving out into a completely new environment was also very positive for my personal development – I gained more independence, found new hobbies, and became more comfortable and confident with myself!

 

Academic Development

The Dutch/TU Delft teaching style is different to UQ – courses utilise very little contact hours and have high expectations about your self-led learning. Once I became accustomed to this style, I found it very practical for this experience. I was able to schedule my own learning at a pace that suited me, then balance it well with travelling and socialising. I found some courses were more challenging then others regardless of ECTS load, but I made sure to use my electives to pick courses which aligned well with my interests.

 

Professional Development

I believe this experience helped me develop my teamwork and communication skills. Because TU Delft is a very international university, the group projects I was involved in usually consisted of people from a variety of cultures and backgrounds, and with this came differing expectations of workload and communication. Through these experiences, however, I learnt how to develop strategies with my group that took advantage of everyone’s strengths.

 

Costs

I initially formed a budget based on friends’ exchange experiences, which helped me save beforehand and complete any required deposits early, which definitely helped me with accommodation. Overall, I believe I spent ~$18000, including flights, travel and living expenses, which was more than I predicted and I recommended accounting for beforehand. The cost of living was slightly more than Australia, but you can be smart about it with grocery shopping. I would recommend looking into travel cards with currency exchange and budget tracking, which helped me while I was traveling.

 

Funding

I received UQ’s Widening Participation Grant ($2000) and an OS-HELP Loan (~$7000) to put towards my experience. These were very helpful to me in forming a good basis for my fixed expenses like rent, and gave me more freedom to go to events and travel!

 

Accommodation

I arranged my housing through the TU Delft/DUWO housing service, and secured a good room at Prof. Schermerhornstraat – the international student housing. This consisted of a shared kitchen with 6 other people, and a room with my own bathroom. This was a great location both for university and the social life of the dorm. If you wish to use the housing service (which I recommend), it is really important that you get your deposit in ASAP! This will get you earlier access to accommodations and alleviate some of the stresses of trying through rental agencies or private landlords.

 

Highlight

King’s Day stands out as a highlight of the experience! It is a Dutch national holiday where the streets of Netherlands are packed with festivities and orange. My friends and I spent the day in Amsterdam and had an amazing time! Other highlights include tulip season, a music festival in Brussels, and a well-needed beach trip in Croatia.

 

Advice/Top Tips

  • Talk with your academic advisor to get more courses approved than you need, as I ran into a couple of issues with timetabling and had to readvise my study plan a few times.
  • Once you get accepted to TU Delft, send in your deposit as soon as possible! This will give you earlier access to the housing system and relieve some of the stress with finding housing.
  • Book your registration and immigration appointments early, as this can be quite a bottleneck in other errands, such as getting a Dutch bank account and a rails pass.
  • Make an effort to meet and connect with other exchange students in the early weeks! Go to events and make plans with friends – finding your group will make this experience a lot of fun!