Pat Graham & Sarah Mills

Exchange fall 2016-2017

Sarah and I arrived in Tilburg homeless, with no friends and a very half-arsed study plan. To say we were apprehensive about what the future held was an understatement. We missed out on the accomodation at verbs and were wondering, because of this, if we’d truly get the opportunity to make friends, join in on parties and live that famous “exchange life”.

Upon reflection, we can definitely both say that this has been one of the best experiences we’ve ever had. We know now we should never have worried.

You very quickly realise that everyone is in the deep end. Be enthusiastic, participate in everything and get very good at learning names and you’ll really have no problems settling in. The I*ESN section here is full of wild, kind-hearted souls who seriously put themselves out there to make settling in as easy as possible. So easy, that in fact you will most likely not want to go home.

Why? Firstly, some of the people you’ll meet will become some of the best friends you’ll ever make. The culmination of so many shared experiences really leads to some lasting bonds – your new “fam” may mean more to you when it’s time to leave than you ever expected.

Secondly, the parties are absolutely crazy. And when we say that, we don’t just mean that in a booze-fest alcohol hazed kind of way. They are FUN. You won’t realise, but in no time you’ll find yourself caught up in a rollercoaster wave of social events that ends all too soon. Whether you’re dancing to Will Griggs, downing those cheap Carpe drinks, or making friends in Heuval Chicken (seriously, Heuval Chicken is your friend), every Tuesday is a night to remember.

Thirdly, the travel is spectacular. Every weekend offers a new adventure. Ask around, talk to people and you’ll always be able to find a trip to tag along with – there’s always a new corner of the Netherlands to explore, or a new country to visit! Especially make time to commit to the I*ESN trips, as these in themselves provide major opportunities to meet other exchangies and have some truly amazing and unique experiences (just get used to sleeping on a bus!!).

Do we have any words of wisdom? Not really. Just know that AH beer grows on you, don’t stinge on a good bike lock, and most importantly – go to everything!!

Yours truly,
Two Australian Idiots

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