What’s it like to study in Rotterdam as an international student? | Top Universities

What’s it like to study in Rotterdam as an international student?

By Stephanie L

Updated May 4, 2021 Updated May 4, 2021

Sponsored by Erasmus School of Economics

Wondering what life is like as an international student living and studying thousands of miles away from home? Over the years, the revived city of Rotterdam with its diverse and tolerant culture, urban flair and abundance of cultural attractions has established itself as a popular study destination for students from all over the world. In the most recent QS World University Rankings, 13 Dutch universities were featured in the ranking – with the Erasmus University, which is located in Rotterdam, being one of them.

TopUniversities spoke to Andreea and Sigita, two international students from the Erasmus School of Economics in Rotterdam, to find out more about their study experiences so far and find out what life is like as an international student in the Netherlands’ outspoken second city.

There are so many choices when it comes to studying abroad in Europe. What made you choose to study in Rotterdam at the Erasmus School of Economics?

Andreea: Erasmus School of Economics is very high in the rankings and a friend of mine who studied here told me about all the benefits. I also love travelling and had never been to the Netherlands before, and it’s very easy to visit other countries from here. I also like the country as a whole, but out of all the places I’ve visited here, Rotterdam is my favorite. Having both green and urban parts makes it a really nice city.

Sigita: For me it was all about the university. I wanted to do something with mathematics and not become a professor or a teacher, which is basically the only thing you can do in Latvia which is where I am from. Since you can’t study econometrics there, I looked for options abroad. I checked out possibilities in Amsterdam and Tilburg as well, but I liked Rotterdam the most.

Is the experience what you expected it to be so far?

Andreea: It’s more than I expected! I thought you’d just go to classes, study a lot and maybe have drinks with your friends every now and then. But I really made friends like back home in Romania, whom I’m sure I’ll be friends with for a long time.

Sigita: It was very challenging in the beginning. All these adjustments, meeting all these new people. It was overwhelming and exciting at the same time. But I quickly found a group of friends who had my back and I know that we’ll be friends for a lifetime.

Andreea: I found it challenging at first as well. I came here alone and had never lived by myself. It took a while to get to know people, but in my second year a steady group of friends emerged. I’ve had my ups and downs, but now I really enjoy it and I will do my master’s here as well.

Sigita: I’m not sure what I expected exactly, but there is so much going on and that’s so cool. Every time I look at Facebook there’s a new event, and at the university there are so many companies visiting the campus.

Andreea: The university helps out a lot with tutorials and mentors too. One of the things that worked out very well for me was setting small goals. Students also like helping each other.

Sigita: The first FAECTOR-weekend helped me greatly, the people who organised it became my friends instantly and helped me out with basic stuff such as books and setting up a bank account.

Andreea: At first I focused mainly on my studies because the first two semesters were very challenging. Later I focused more on my social life, which helped me through periods of stress and homesickness.

Sigita: You have to remember – you’re never alone in this.

Andrea: And you need to be motivated, that will help you through everything.

Was there anything that surprised you about Dutch culture compared to your own?

Sigita: Only in the accents, the ‘g’ can be soft or hard.

Andreea: Weather-wise, some areas are a bit colder. There’s so much wind here by the way, we don’t have that in Romania. Apart from that, everything’s perfect here.

What advice do you have for prospective or first-year international students?

Sigita: Whether it’s just going to the gym, joining a student association, or taking dancing classes – don’t focus on studying only. Sometimes I feel like I should prioritise my studies more, but I prefer a good life to finishing everything in time. And if you take care of having a plan and time management, you’ll come a long way.

Andreea: I agree, it’s like Sigita read my mind. Maybe pick just one activity in the beginning. You have to find a balance between your education and your social life. Activities help you to get to know yourself, which will help you later in life as well. For example, working in different organisations has improved both my soft and hard skills a lot.

And would you recommend studying abroad in Rotterdam?

What’s It Like to Study in Rotterdam as an International Student?

Sigita moved from Riga to Rotterdam to study a Double Bachelor’s in Econometrics and Economics, with a major in marketing. She is also chairman of the Freshmen Committee of FAECTOR, project manager at the Happy Student Society, and works as a social media student assistant for Erasmus School of Economics. Image credit: Evgeny Astapov

Sigita: Yes! It will be amazing.

Andreea: It doesn’t even have to be Erasmus School of Economics necessarily; you have to choose what inspires you. But I do recommend Erasmus University highly. The fact that you’re exposed to so many cultures here is so exciting!

Lead image: Andreea moved to Rotterdam from Romania three years ago. Aside from studying economics and business economics with a major in marketing, she works part-time as a marketing officer. She is also active in the Eastern European Student Association and is an ambassador for Erasmus School of Economics. Lead image credit: Michelle Muus

This article was originally published in February 2021 . It was last updated in May 2021

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Written by

As the Head of Sponsored Content for TopUniversities.com and TopMBA.com (until September 2021), Stephanie created and published a wide range of articles for universities and business schools across the world. She attended the University of Portsmouth where she earned a BA in English Language and an MA in Communication and Applied Linguistics.

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