by Molly Hayward, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
Having done a year studying Social and Behavioural Sciences at the University of Amsterdam, and two years studying Geography at University of Manchester these are just five overall differences I noticed in university teaching style.
by Molly Hayward, the University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
Welcome to the gastronomic wonderland that is Amsterdam. Nestled along picturesque canals and charming cobblestone streets, this city is not only a feast for the eyes but also a paradise for food enthusiasts. From quaint cafes serving buttery stroopwafels to trendy eateries offering innovative fusion cuisine, Amsterdam has something to tantalize every palate. In this blog, I will guide you to the hidden gems and well-known favourites that make Amsterdam a true food lover’s haven.
Join us as we meander through the city’s historic neighbourhoods, discovering the stories and flavours that make each dining spot unique. From traditional Dutch dishes like bitterballen and poffertjes to international delights from every corner of the globe, Amsterdam’s dining scene is as diverse as its residents. Get ready to indulge your senses and ignite your taste buds as we uncover the best places to eat in Amsterdam, one delectable bite at a time.
by Sofia Roche, National University of Singapore, Singapore
Going to a new university is a big change. It’s kind of like starting as a Yr. 1 and having to get used to a new campus, learning styles, applications and much more. The positive side is NUS is extremely organized and everything you need will be communicated to your through you NUS email.
It has only been 10 days since I moved to Milan, and it already feels like a new home. To be honest, I did not have the best of welcomes, since the day I arrived we were on a government alert for heavy rain and the flight was delayed several times. However, the amazing experiences I have lived so far overweigh the chaos of the first days.
By Olivia Bucherer-Ezer, University of Toronto, Canada
It’s been just over a year since I packed up my life and set across the pond to start my year abroad in Toronto and it got me thinking about all the thoughts, fears and anxieties I had that, in retrospect, I truly didn’t need to worry about. So I thought it was suitable to whack them in a blog in case they provide any reassurance for those heading out this coming September.
Confession: I had never been to Canada until two weeks ago when I moved to Toronto to study abroad, so I wanted to share a few things that helped me get started.
There are two main things to consider: 1: Moving into a new city, and 2: Starting at a new university.
Moving to a new city
For the starting transition weeks, I had very few classes to attend, which made for a perfect opportunity to explore the city and get set up.
If you are also moving to Toronto, I would definitely recommend getting a Presto card for transportation as this can be used as fare for the subway, tramcars and buses (make sure to get the student discount when purchasing your card, too) and download the TTC app for help getting around. If you plan on travelling outside of Canada, be sure to carry your study permit as well as your passport.
I travelled around the city, mainly by using the subway, to integrate into the city and understand how to use public transport. I obviously had to visit tourist destinations such as the CN tower, Toronto Islands, and St Lawrence Market. I checked out a few events that were going on, like the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival and the Canadian National Exhibit, all of which I enjoyed.
I also decided to open a Canadian bank account as my study here is for eight months, making it easier to pay for things with no foreign transaction fee. Also, make sure to keep some Canadian dollars on you just in case.
Getting a new sim card also helped as this is cheaper than being charged roaming fees, and I can also contact other Canadian numbers, which is helpful in an emergency.
Doing everyday things like going to the supermarket, shopping, getting food and walking around is also a good idea for making yourself feel more comfortable so that you know where you may need to buy essentials. I also did this to understand the culture better; for example, tipping/ gratuity is pretty standard here.
Starting at a new university
It’s a good idea to get emergency numbers such as the police, ambulance, and campus security, just in case—also the key emails for your exchange and knowing who to contact.
The university should send an email to exchange students stating what you’ll need, such as a student ID card, a login for the website, insurance or healthcare (it is really important to sort out your healthcare insurance), etc. I would make sure these requirements are completed first as there’s usually a deadline for them, and it helps to keep you organised.
The university system may also be different regarding how things are graded when exams are, and the expectation that you will buy your books, so check with your professors or syllabus before class. Also, books can be expensive, so you might want to check if it’s available online first.
Once I found out where I could buy essentials, I started setting my room up with anything I may need for the year, like plates, mugs, a kettle, bedding, etc., but I did bring a few things from home, too, as a nice reminder for me. I also familiarised myself with where I could get food from and where I could do my laundry, the buildings I would be in, the library and student services.
Attending an exchange student orientation really helps to meet fellow exchange students and begin building connections as they likely feel the same as you in terms of moving and may be in your classes. Orientations or other on-campus events are usually good for meeting people, especially if you are interested in a society/ sport.
… I’m still settling in here, so we’ll have to see what the future brings.
By Molly Hayward, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amsterdam can be a very expensive city so any ways to save money are always welcome. I decided at the beginning of the year to buy the MuseumKaart for 64.90 Euros. In this post I will outline some of the galleries it covers in Amsterdam and how much money was saved.
By Mia Campbell, University of New South Wales, Australia
Studying abroad on the other side of the world is already daunting, so it is important to feel at home swiftly. Admittedly this does take time, but the list I will commence is a faster next step in the right direction.
by Sofia Roche Vidaurre, National University of Singapore, Singapore
The first thing that stands out about the city is the abundant nature. It is great for those who enjoy walking around metropolitan areas while having the option of getting lost in nature. The famous Gardens by the Bay is a mix between the futuristic Super trees and Cloud Forest, providing a sanctuary of greenery and tranquility. And only 30min away by public transport there is beaches on Sentosa Island to enjoy hotter tropical days!
By Olivia Bucherer-Ezer, University of Toronto, Canada
**subjective of course**
Whether you’re heading out to Toronto in September, perhaps along with a family member or are expecting visitors throughout the year, here are some top tips to give you the most fulfilling experience of the big T-city.