University: Radboud University Nijmegen
Which year you are in?: First Year
1. Why did you choose to study abroad?
After completing secondary school abroad, the most obvious choice for me was to remain in Spain or return to the UK to continue with my studies. However, due to personal preference, the availability of English courses, and the price of studying, I chose to study in the Netherlands.
2. How would you rate the assistance of the university before you arrived (the application process, finding accommodation, sorting out financial matters)?
The application process in the Netherlands was particularly daunting as it was completely different to the UK. Even though there are ways of finding out how to go about applying on the internet, sometimes it is easier if there is someone who with help you along every step of the way. The university was especially helpful when it came to applying and offered help for finding accommodation.
3. How would you rate the assistance of the university when you arrived (orientation etc)?
As soon as I arrived I felt that communication was on a much more personal level than I had experienced in the UK. Being in a new country, language is always a daunting prospect, however within a short period of time I realised this was not going to be an issue, and everyone around me spoke English.
4. Did you feel prepared when you arrived and/or what surprised you?
I moved to the Netherlands in the summer, before the course began so I could settle in, and prepare everything before starting university. As I needed a part-time job to get the financial help I needed, I spent this time working, and generally sorting out the things you need when moving to a new country. It did take me at least 3 months to get everything set up before I could start receiving study finance so my first advice would be to come in advance!
5. How would you rate the learning environment (teaching style, studying with other international students, non-native English speaking lecturers)?
The learning environment is particularly different to what I had experienced at University in the UK. Firstly, we are a very small group of students. This however means that we get taught on a much more personal level, and have the opportunity to ask questions. Also, as there is a wide range of different cultures in the classes it makes discussions a lot more interesting, especially to see things from different perspectives.
In terms of the lecturers, of course they do not have the fluency of a native English speaker, however, their English is very good, and I have never had a problem understanding them.
6. Would you recommend studying abroad to a 17-18 year old Brit who might never have thought about it before?
For someone who wants to try somewhere different, which is close to home, and speaks English almost everywhere, I would definitely recommend studying here. Also, from a financial perspective, it is a lot cheaper than anywhere else that I know of.
I was also surprised how friendly people are in general, especially to foreigners. In other countries I have been to in Europe, sometimes you feel a slight form of negativity when asking someone if they speak English. Here that is not the case; everyone I have come across has been very friendly, and helpful.
7. Is there anything you wish someone had told you at the time you applied?
Even though the whole process of moving abroad is quite simple once you know what you are doing, bear in mind that the Dutch like their paper work, and there are a lot of forms that you will have to fill in!
8. Would you recommend your course, university, city to British students?
If you are willing to try something different, and won’t find it too difficult being away from home for long periods of time, then yes, I would definitely recommend it! It is easy to settle in here, and it soon feels like home, especially as you don’t have the burden of learning a new language unless you want to.
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