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50 things to do while studying in Amsterdam

By Hannah Wheeler, Vrije Universiteit, Netherlands

Here is a list of some of the best things, both touristy and Dutchie, to do in Amsterdam and the Netherlands. I hope it has something that will appeal to everyone: from club recommendations to must try cookies…

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San Francisco in 3 days

By Holly Smith – Wellesley College, MA

My post-study travels include a variety of places in the U.S. but one headliner is definitely San Francisco. I write this blog post having just got off an overnight bus from San Fran to L.A so all reflection are fresh and honest.

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Sustainable Eating in Hong Kong

By Gemma Dignam (University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)

One of my favourite parts of living in Hong Kong was the food, but I quickly realised that the food and eating culture here was not very sustainable. It was quite different to my experience in the UK, where I would cook at home and eat out very little. However, in Hong Kong it’s the opposite! Grocery shopping is quite expensive and the kitchen space is quite small in any accommodation, and this along with a busy schedule would mean that most meals you tend to eat out, as this is quite cheap. However, I did notice it came with some environmental costs.

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A (relatively) comprehensive list of the best things I have done since moving to Helsinki

by Amber Musgrove-Benford (University of Helsinki, Finland)

With only just over a fortnight left before I move back to the UK after nine or so months in Finland, I thought I would look back at the top things I have done whilst living in Helsinki – and hopefully give you some ideas of what can be done while studying at UoH.

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Random things I’ve noticed about Arizona State (ASU) and the United States of America (USA)

I wish there was some coherency and consistency to this post but it is merely an elaborative list of things I’ve noticed about living in America, especially at ASU.

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Adjusting To The Dutch Academic System: The Way To An Easier Life 

By Hannah Wheeler, Vrije Universiteit, Netherlands

When preparing to go to the Netherlands, I didn’t think much about how the dutch academic system would be different. My mind was preoccupied with thoughts about housing, friends and Covid.

Now that I’ve been studying in the Netherlands for 8 months I wanted to share some tips to help deal with the different academic style.

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The differences in teaching and learning in the Netherlands

When I came to study in Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VUA) I was shocked with how different the block system vs the Manchester semester system was. Here are some of the key differences I experienced and what I learnt through these different contexts. 

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Cheap Springtime activities to do in the Netherlands!

Written on 4th of May, 2022

Spring has by far been my favourite season in the Netherlands, with the rise in temperatures I have been able to take advantage of all the green spaces available in this beautiful European country! Here are a few springtime activities, on a budget, I have enjoyed thus far! 

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Dealing with emergencies in Toulouse

By: Eva Kristinova (Sciences Po Toulouse, France)

By this point you surely realize how incredibly fun it can be to study abroad. But let’s be real, it might not always be. All the same, know that if you ever find yourself in a less welcoming, stressful, or (God forbid) emergency medical situation, there are places you can go and seek help from. Here are some insights for what to do if you find yourself in need in Toulouse.

Physical and mental health support and advice

The best place to look for support and advice related to anything to do with health is the University Medical Centre. All you need to do is call the office number, and you can be professionally assessed by a nurse directly on the phone. She usually asks you about the issue and offers advice right away, but if you deem it necessary, she can also set up an appointment with a specialist depending on your needs. This is usually quick, even the same day. The centre provides generalist medical services, but also has nutritionist, gynecology, or mental health specialists. You might think it quite daunting to pick up the phone or even talk to someone in a foreign situation, but there is no need to worry, even when it comes to the language barrier. If you don’t speak French, it’s no big deal – most specialists also speak English and/or Spanish.

Link: https://www.ut-capitole.fr/universite/gouvernance/services-administratifs-et-techniques/service-interuniversitaire-de-medecine-preventive-simpps–42796.kjsp

Medical emergencies

For most purposes, the University Medical Centre should be your go-to, however there might also be times when you find yourself in a situation requiring urgent medical care and cannot wait for an appointment, or when the issue cannot be resolved over the phone. In that case, I recommend going straight to the nearest walk-in emergency clinic (Urgences in French). These can be isolated clinics or part of larger hospitals. For such a visit, you will need to bring your identity card (usually a passport) and medical insurance card. In these situations it’s much easier if you can speak French so that the doctor can ask questions and examine you without any barriers, however, most places in big cities like Toulouse will also have professionals who speak English.

If you find that you cannot get to an emergency clinic on your own, here are the necessary emergency numbers you can call (not just medical):

112 (European number for all emergencies)

15 (Medical emergencies)

17 (Police)

18 (Fire brigade)

114 (Number for people with impaired hearing)

A note on insurance

In terms of the documents you will need in these places, thankfully, the University Medical Centre doesn’t require anything besides your student card. For walk-in emergency clinics or hospitals, you will need an identification card of some sort, whether it is a country-issued ID card (EU) or a passport. In addition, you will need an insurance card. Note that although UoM insurance covers you for some incidents, it might not cover you for everything in France. Likewise with an EU-issued insurance card from another country. To avoid paying for the clinics services, I suggest you get a carte vitale (French medical card) as soon as you arrive in France. This can be obtained on request at the local mairie if you already have an EU insurance card. Alternatively you will need to apply for it ahead of time, the same way you would for visa and social security in France, and pick it up when you arrive.

Social security: https://www.securite-sociale.fr/accueil

Carte vitale: https://www.ameli.fr/assure/remboursements/etre-bien-rembourse/carte-vitale

Needless to say, I hope you won’t need to use any of the above information, but it never hurts to be prepared.

What Are Fraternities Really Like?

This post will try to demystify frats for exchange students going to North America, and hopefully persuade you to get involved.

By Joseph McCabe (University of Toronto, Canada)

The inner workings of fraternities are often left as somewhat of a mystery for exchange students. Their obscurity and emphasis on secrecy means that infamous stereotypes usually surround any conversation about frats and, by extension, the guys that are members/brothers within them. This blog should give you some insight into what they’re actually about and encourage you (if you’re a guy) to join one because it has made my year infinitely better – girls can join sororities, but you will have to ask someone else about them.

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A Practical Guide to Accommodation in Toronto

By Joseph McCabe (University of Toronto, Canada)

There are four main options for accommodation for exchange students in Toronto: University Halls, Private students’ residence, student co-op housing, and Private renting. I opted to go for a private residence on the edge of campus, which was perfect for me, but I will talk about that later. I will give some general advice first; then, I will go through each of these (there will be a sentence overview after each one if you don’t want to read the whole thing) and finish with what I would advise to make sorting accommodation as stress-free as possible.

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