Yasseen - Technical University of Delft

B. Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering
Semester 1, 2016

Academic experience

TU Delft's aerospace faculty is pretty awesome. As a result, they attract excellent people from all over the world to do their degrees. I chose to do a variety of courses including control systems, systems and composites at 2nd/4th, 3rd, and masters levels respectively. 

I would caution you against taking masters course because they are quite time-consuming. That said, the small class sizes offer one the opportunity to connect with the lecturer and potentially get some work out of it. Better yet, you may be encouraged to pursue further study under said lecturer. I would also be wary of taking on an advanced course which is built upon an introductory course taken at UQ. There may be gaps in knowledge so the best thing to do is email the lecturer and check. Adding onto that, bachelor course credit weighting is frustratingly inconsistent. Some courses required plenty more effort for the same amount of credits. 

It is an engineering course not physics. How hard can it be! You only need to pass so keep that in mind.

My challenge was with SC4015. It really stretched my knowledge of control. Consulting with the head tutor who was only happy to help on a regular basis got me an excellent result which I am very proud to have done.

Personal experience

My reasoning for doing exchange was to check out the opportunities available in aerospace in Europe. In this pursuit I learned a lot about the industry and myself at the same time. In this regards, writing in a blog, journaling or just engaging people in conversations were all important. 

You don't need a goal when coming here. Be open and pursue experiences, it makes exchange so worth it. I have had the opportunity to go around Europe (hostels>Airbnbs). Talking to people in hostels, walking around and eating everything interesting and doing free tours (tip well!). I've picked up some Dutch while I have been here without going to classes. Made some great friends some of which I intend to keep in contact with.

Accommodation

All students in the Netherlands have housing offered through DUO. It is by far the easiest option. You sign yourself up for the program, then you choose a particular room and registration with the municipality is organised easily. Room selection is kind of like class enrollment in that it opens and there is a mad dash to get the best rooms. I would recommend a share house, your flatmates are likely to be some of your best friends. 

That said there are a few things to note about DUO

  • As the locals tend to live in share houses for the duration of their degree it is unlikely to have a Dutch roommate, just a bunch of exchange students living in share houses.
  • Avoid the space boxes/converted containers.
  • DUO is not the cheapest option, you can do better on your own if you don't mind doing a bit extra! 

I got a place on my own in the Hague, like a 20 minute commute away from the University. I got it on a website called Kamernet. My roommate found the place on Nestpick. Nestpick has an Airbnb vibe and is pretty good for Rotterdam/the Hague if you don't mind commuting in every day. Others find places on "Find a room(mate) in Delft" Facebook group. There are "find a room(mate) in CITYNAME" for a bunch of Dutch cities. The facebook group is most active in at the end of semesters obviously so hit them up then. 

There is a risk you won't get a room on your own if you are terribly unorganized, just use DUO. Either way, you should try to spend as much time outside of your room having fun on exchange.

Budget

The budget they required for you is a great estimate. If you get the OS Help Loan and save up a bunch you'll be just fine for one semester. 

All in Euro unless otherwise indicated:

  • Rent 300-400 p/m - This is an agreeable bracket, You can go either way depending on budget
  • Food 30-100+ p/w - Depending on eating in or out. A filling kebab sets one back 3 Eur but the actual good food is expensive. 
  • Phone 5-15 p/m - Decent amount of data with some credit. Don't get a sim card in the airport, they give you one in the intro program.
  • Entertainment 300p/m - Again depending, this account for festivals etc.
  • Insurance 40p/m - compulsory third party insurance.
  • One offs:
    • Travel 1500 AUD
    • Bike 80-150
    • Gym 60-80 p sem (changes if you sign on later)

Professional development and employability

I'd say learning the importance of focus and asking for help. Spreading myself thin with three courses in new subject matter was not the wisest thing I could do. Then throwing over that all the extra curricular I was involved in did not make it easier. Choosing something, committing to it single mindedly while finding the right people is a great way to solve problems.

Highlight

I did a workshop with an entrepreneur named Rick Salmon. This was found through my pursuit of work in the space industry. The workshop connected me with talented people who I have a profound respect for and have guided me in my personal development.

There was also the best gelato I've ever had in Milan. I still think about how good that was one month later.

Top tips

Figure out what you want to get out of exchange or even what you want to avoid and just do that. It is what you make of it.