Isabel - Maastricht University (School of Business and Economics)

B Business Management / B Science
Semester 1, 2023
One big highlight was the ease of being able to travel during time off.


Exchange has always been on my bucket list and my motivation for this was because of the opportunity it provides; it provides an excellent experience to be fully immersed in another culture, whilst also being able to make lifelong friends and to easily travel.

Personal Development

I gained so much from my experience. Firstly, being immersed in another culture, whilst initially quite daunting and overwhelming, turned out to be so incredible; it was so cool to see how other cultures operate and to learn new norms. My favourite, was experience my host country's public holidays and their celebrations for these, this is so different to Australia and it was amazing to be a part of this. Doing exchange in continental Europe was also amazing for the travel opportunities that came with this. In Australia we are so isolated from any other country. However, at my host country, I was mere hours away from nearby countries and because it was so easy and cheap to get to nearby destinations, I ended up travelling to 14 countries during my time abroad. I will also always cherish the connection and friendships I made during this time abroad. Because you are all experiencing the same thing at the same time, you have a connection that sets you apart from your previous friendships and relationships and allows you to become closer to these people. This is something I hadn't ever experienced before and I now believe these will be lifelong friends due to this.

Academic Development

I think the academic development I gained from this experience will benefit me not only for the remainder of my studies but also in my career. This is because the host university I attended had a completely different learning technique to UQ. Therefore, having to understand and operate under new methods was a challenge in the beginning but something I came to appreciate. I think it was also just very cool to experience a different way of learning because prior to this I was very comfortable and familiar with my practices, but overcoming this and learning something new will prove invaluable.

Professional Development

I think a major attribute I developed during my experience was confidence and I think this is a major benefit for my professional development as well as future employability. Obviously moving overseas and meeting new people in a new environment is quite far out of your comfort zone, so pushing yourself to do it definitely boosts your confidence and makes you more sure of yourself and your capabilities. I definitely found that getting through the challenges that come with making new friends, adjusting to a new culture and learning a new university's teaching method, instills confidence and courage in yourself.


To be very honest I went overseas with a big budget because I knew it would be expensive over there and I was also in the mindset that I wanted to really enjoy my time over there. Also, because I was in Europe I had the mindset that it would be cheaper for me to travel over there this time because I was already there, rather than come and go from Australia. So my advice would be to go with a big budget, as well as some backup savings, just in case things happen.


The funding I received for my experience was the $7,000 OS-Help Loan, as well as the UQ $2,000 grant. This came very well in handy. I think majority of this was spent on my accommodation. I completed exchange in the Netherlands which is a notoriously expensive country and so my accommodation was quite expensive (more for a student room with shared facilities than my rent in Brisbane). As well, expenses on food was more than I was used to so I put this money towards this.


I found out about my accommodation options just through the University's website that included housing information. They recommended for exchange students to stay in their university-affiliated student housing. There were definitely pros and cons to this. Obvious pros were that you were immediately surrounded by other students and in my case, all other exchange students. I found this to be really beneficial because I immediately had friends who were all like-minded and had the same priorities because we were all on exchange. It meant that I was supported and surrounded by people going through the same thing as I was and who could relate to the same experience I was having. Cons, however, included that it was student housing. So, the facilities weren't the best, and also it was communal living so I was sharing the kitchen, living room and bathroom with approx. 14 people which comes with its own challenges. However, I would still recommend this form of accommodation to anyone doing exchange because in my opinion the pros definitely outweighed the cons.


It is so hard to pinpoint only one highlight from the abroad experience. The entire 6 months was a highlight of my life. In saying this, two immediate experiences come to mind; firstly, as I completed my exchange in continental Europe, one big highlight was the ease of being able to travel during time off there. During week 3 of my exchange, the university had a scheduled break due to a country holiday. So, one week prior to knowing this, myself and an exchange friend I had just made there decided to do a 5 day trip to 2 nearby countries. The way that this was able to be organised so easily, quickly and cheaply was so foreign to me, especially coming from Australia where travelling to another country is usually a big deal. Another highlight was a much simpler one, but it was sitting on the lawn during the spring time with all of my friends from the accommodation and chatting about our home countries. It was always so interesting to hear the differences everyone had and comparing these was always fun.

Advice/Top Tips

Do it! I can’t recommend the exchange experience enough. Advice for exchange as well is to embrace and enjoy every minute. My exchange went so incredibly quickly and it almost doesn't feel real looking back on it in reflection. Also, say yes to everything you can when abroad! You never know what will come of these experiences.