14 April 2014

Erasmus (Erasmus University)

Do you want to know who wrote this article?

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I am a fifth year student at Bocconi School of Law in Milan. To be honest, right now, I’d rather be in Rotterdam. It is exactly where I was one year ago: I will explain everything in this article.

Why did you choose this destination?

I spent the second semester of my fourth year as an exchange student at Erasmus University of Rotterdam (Netherlands). I do not actually know why I chose Rotterdam: since I came to know about the exchange program, I have been thinking that I would have really liked to go to the Netherlands. But it is just that there was something whispering to me “go there, that is the place”. And I did it. I did it, even though many friends had told me that Erasmus University was quite difficult and that I would have spent a lot of time on books. Today, I can say that, notwithstanding the fact that Erasmus is one of the best universities in Europe, I did not study that much, but I had to face a completely different method.

Rotterdam

How did the selection work?

My home university has two main requirements: weighted average and a good English. I had already successfully passed my English exams so I didn’t need to take any test to demonstrate that my English was good enough, however a B2 level is what is needed if you want to  go on exchange in the Netherlands (not only in Rotterdam). Average requirements concern the possibility to access to the exchange program, in general. In other words your average should not be lower than 22/30 and you need a certain amount of credits to submit your application (more details are available on Bocconi website).

What should one keep in mind before leaving?

One of the nicest memories I have about the Netherlands is that when I arrived in Rotterdam the first thing I heard from a Dutch who saw me (I am kind of short) carrying my huge suitcase (don’t bring a lot of stuff with you: you won’t need it) and having no idea on what to do and where to go was “can I help you?”. I was not asking for help and this shows how dutch people are awesome. They are open- minded, they are glad to make you love the Netherlands. Therefore, just be as respectful as they are, try to act as they do, try to learn how to reply to them in their language, try to feel a little Dutch … they will appreciate it and you will do too.

Any practical tip?

The Netherlands is what you call a “civilized country”. It is not a legend. For instance, public transportation is very efficient. In this regard, the first thing you should do, after you land, is getting an OV-chipkaart. An OV- chipkaart is the card you use for every type of public transportation in the Netherlands: you can upload it with your credit card and use it both for train tickets and for trams and metros, in Rotterdam, in Amsterdam, in Utrecht, in Eindhoven, etc.. It is incredibly comfortable. But, yes, it is not as cheap as its name would suggest, even though the sum you pay to travel is always proportionate to the length of it.

The Netherlands are, more or less, as expensive as Milan: for those who are not from Milan, this means that with 900 euros per month you can pay the rent, eat, drink a and go to exchange parties whenever you want (since almost all of them are free entry). Moreover, you will find out that Rotterdam is a very lively city and it is one of the most interesting places if you like good music and cinema.

As to how to get there, you can fly to Amsterdam with Alitalia or to Eindhoven with Ryanair. If you book on time, you’ll get a cheap flight (about 60 euros from Milan). You will spend about 15 euros to get to Rotterdam from Amsterdam and about 20 to get to Rotterdam from Eindhoven, by train.

Lastly, another thing that makes the Netherlands a very civilized country is that wherever you go, even in a dirty McDonald’s or Subway, you will enjoy wifi connection.

Where did you live?

I used to live in the F- building which is a student house inside the Campus. There are four other student houses: among them I recommend the Student Hotel and the International House which you can book through Vestia Stadswonen, an association dealing with accommodations.

Rotterdam

Which difficulties did you face in your experience?

None, as far as I remember. And if I really try to think about unhappy things that happened to me when I was in Rotterdam, the first thing that comes to my mind is how we were all together in facing everything.

Which exams did you take and, among them, which did you decide to convert at your home university?

I took International Criminal Law, International Trade Law and Intellectual Property Rights. I converted International Criminal Law and International Trade Law.

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