Angela: Thank you Utrecht!See you:)

Sadly this is my second and the last blog 😢

Honestly everything is still like a dream for me. I’ve never imagined this is how I ended my exchange journey. At the beginning of coronavirus outbreak, I didn’t see leaving the Netherlands as an option. I didn’t realise how serious the situation was and how fast it spreads. Then friends around me started being called back to their home country. I then reconsidered the option of dropping out from the exchange programme. 

The view on the day of leaving Utrecht 🙂

Everything was changing so fast before I left. I (or most of the exchange students) wasn’t sure whether I would stay or go.  I’ve only got 2 days from the day I booked my ticket and the day I left the Netherlands. On the night that I booked my flight ticket, I was at my friend’s farewell party. Ironically, I turned out to be leaving before she did. Although my exchange wasn’t quite the same as I pictured it (5 weeks instead of 5 months haha) and I had only gone travelling once, this is still one of the most precious experiences I have had. 

People 

People is definitely what made me so reluctant to leave Utrecht. I’ve made a bunch of life-time friends who never gave me chances to feel lonely or isolated in a place I had never been to. I chose to stay in a 12-people flat. At first, flatmates were my most worrying part. HOWEVER, this is the BEST decision ever. I love all of my flatmates. This is by far the most homey flat I’ve ever lived in.

Cheers to all my flatmates ❤️ @weekly family dinner
Amazing people I met in Utrecht
My flatmates woke up around 6ish to say goodbye 😭

Dutch people are also very friendly. There were a time I was struggling with Dutch in the supermarket. I reached out for help. The lady was walking around showing me which one is which and gave me a little Dutch session 😉

Culture 

The advantage of being an exchange student is to be surrounded with people from very different backgrounds.  I’ve got so many opportunities to view things from different perspectives, know new things and explore. I got to know how to say basic phrases in Spanish, Italian, Swedish, Cantonese and so on. I went to the Netherlands. However, the environment gave me the opportunity to learn the customs of many other countries. 

University Life

Utrecht University has a couple of campuses. My courses were mainly at Science park which is the biggest campus located 15 minutes bike away from city centre. The campus is huge, beautiful and very W-I-N-D-Y.

Utrecht University is definitely worthy of the reputation. The lecture time didn’t seem much compare to UoA. However, it was never easy to pass courses. I found that the Dutch classroom was so active. Everyone was very willing to express their thoughts! Both students and lecturers were open to different perspectives.

I’m missing my life in Holland so much. Utrecht was such a beautiful city. It’s so young and attractive. I miss biking around the alleys and stopping by a random canal. Till next time!

Angela: First week at Utrecht

Hello! Welcome to my first post for Utrecht University the Netherlands.

I’ve landed at Schipol airport 10 days ago. However, I’m still finding it hard to believe that I’m in the Europe. 

The classic tourist photo outside the Schipol airport 🙂

To be honest, the first impression I had for The Netherlands was kinda like New Zealand – not too many people, quite a lot natural resources and relaxed lifestyle. However, it is never too late to be amazed by all the little things such as canals everywhere, people and the old buildings. 

Saying that the country has the same vibe as New Zealand at the first sight. I still feel everything here is so new to me. So I just can’t stop wandering around (and also taking A LOT OF photos). Utrecht university is located in Utrecht and is the largest university in the country. Utrecht is a city which is 30-min away from Amsterdam. It is the hub of the Netherlands( yea, it is extremely easy for us- exchange students to travel around.) I’ve been spending a week in Utrecht. Being completely honest, I’m falling in love with Utrecht. It is a city full of young, lively and energetic vibes. 

canal+bikes=the Netherlands (@Utrecht city centre)

The first week of uni was basically like what we did in UoA- heaps of orientation events. On the mandatory orientation, they assigned us to different groups where you get to know quite a lot of international students who are also under the same faculty. It is really fun to meet people all over the world!! If you ever hesitated to come to the Netherlands to do your exchange because of the language. Don’t be worried at all. It is really common to hear people speaking English in the campus. Outside the campus, most of them are usually speaking Dutch. However, when you talk to them in English they are usually really nice and respond in English. Some interesting fact that the Netherlands is actually ranked as the European country that speaks English the best. (except the fact that THERE ARE NO ENGLISH LABELS IN THE SUPERMARKETS. I’m struggling every time when I do grocery shopping)

The view after the mandatory orientation while I was waiting for the bus

These are some thoughts and some note-worthy things I’ve experienced in my first week at Utrecht. (although other trivial moments are still special to me in some ways haha). Thank you for reading my first blog! Stay tuned for more!