A Year in the Netherlands

Ellie Amos studies BA Business and Management with European Study and studied abroad at Tilburg University, The Netherlands

  • A memorable challenge on your year abroad? 

In my second week in the Netherlands my flat was broken into and my flatmates and I had our laptops stolen. This was a difficult experience that made settling in harder. It was also difficult dealing with the Dutch police. However, having dealt with the police and the insurance company I am now in a better position to handle any issues like this in the future.

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  • Favourite local holiday you celebrated?

Kingsday (the King’s birthday) or Carnaval (a week long festival where you dress up every day). Both of these local holidays were especially memorable. On Kingsday everyone dresses up in orange and we headed to a festival in Amsterdam. Carnaval is a festival that is only celebrated in the south of the Netherlands and was an incredible experience. Locals descended on the streets and drunk, sung and danced all day and night for five days. It was lovely to see older people joining in the fun too!

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  • How did you celebrate Christmas?

I was introduced to the Dutch celebration of Sinterklaas. During this celebration children dress up as ‘Black Piet’, which is currently a very controversial topic, and hand out sweets. Presents are typically given on the evening of the 5th December and Dutch families have a large meal that evening.

 

  • Weirdest culture clash moment?

Obviously I expected to cycle in the Netherlands but I didn’t realise how much I would come to rely on, and love, my bike. One of the weirdest experiences was cycling when drunk. The Dutch are very talented at this but it took a while for me to feel safe on a bike having had a drink.

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  • Did you bring enough money?

I did have enough money but I didn’t rely on the Erasmus Grant alone. Between my maintenance loan and the Erasmus Grant I was able to have a great year and to travel where I wanted too, although on a budget.

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  • Have you noticed any changes since you’ve gotten back?
    • Mosaic has changed to Rosies?! There are also lots of new bars and restaurants that I want to try.
    • Re-adapting to the Exeter way of doing things has been challenging as I have been used to another university for a year.

 

  • How did you find your accommodation back in Exeter?

Before I left Exeter I knew who I would live with in fourth year, 3 languages students, a student who did a year in industry and another who went to Australia for a year. I visited Exeter in November of my year abroad and my friend on placement in London came down for the weekend so we could view and sign for a house.

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