My name is Stanley, 18 years old and I am doing a 3 year bachelors degree "abroad" in the Netherlands. I got the grades AABBC(Russian, Maths, Further Maths, Chemistry, Computing) for A-Level and the university got back to me within 2 days of applying in April with a conditional offer so only good news there!
Why did I decide to study in another EU country? Well simply put because I was unhappy with taking a loan out to pay for my studies of the extortionate amount of £9,000 per annum. When you take into account the interest which you have to pay back I said - no, thank you.
So now here I am after 5 months in the Netherlands, sitting at home back in London and writing to just inform more people to get out of their comfort zone and go study somewhere else apart from the "world class" universities in the UK.
I am studying Computer Science - Software Science and Web Science at Eindhoven university. That is the Eindhoven University of Technology - not to be confused with Fontys school which is also higher education but not a real university for academics and just a more low budget and not as good version - really. Don't go there - you're better of staying in the UK if you can't get into the real universities over here. That being said, one does have a significant competitive advantage when applying as a non Dutch student, especially from the EU since the university needs to increase the figures of the amount of international students it takes on every year, so if you have the basic entry requirements (which was on an A in maths for me) then you're pretty much in there guaranteed.
So here I begin with all the advantages that these 5 months have brought and the future will bring:
- fees of only euro 1,774 per year
- school days from 8:30-17:30 most days with pretty much full schedules
- being integrated into the Dutch community straight away
- learning another language within the first 2 quartiles
- enjoying the cleanliness of the environment and the smooth roads
- never being far from home
- doing a year abroad, while "abroad"
- a completely English degree programme!
And yes, the program is all in English, in fact it always surprises me when people doubt this fact. Have a look on the websites of many of the dutch universities and this fact will become clear from first glance that there are indeed full programs conducted in English - through my 4 months of education, I have had absolutely no problem understanding the professors or any of the other Dutch students who all speak good English (otherwise they wouldn't be doing an English programme would they?)
So to run down some other key issues from my experience:
Living costs are the same if not cheaper than in the UK. All in all 400 euros max for housing and 400 euros per month for everything else has been fine so far for me. Of course some people manage to get by on 200 euros per month for everything else but that is really up to you to decide what kind of student you are. Housing is pretty varied in quality and price in Eindhoven. I currently pay 395 euros per month all inc. to live with 3 other people with two bathrooms, a living room and a shared kitchen. So compared to halls of residence at UK unis, it does come out to be a lot cheaper. My first house was a disgrace but that's the school of life for you - and an experience that I definitely don't regret having! Having to deal with greedy landlords is indeed worth your while.
Next, the quality of teaching is a big item on the agenda. You could argue that the UK has some of the worlds best universities - but in what respect? Look at the league tables and it's pretty much all American and UK big universities in the top 10 and maybe even 20. But what really matters is the quality of teaching, would you not agree? So Eindhoven, being ranked in just under 50th position on the league tables may sound not as appealing but trust me it . For both the 1st and 2nd quartiles I had a pretty much full day from 8:30 - 17:30 everyday, 5 days a week. that includes lectures and practical sessions. When you combine this with the 8 hours per week per subject self study that you have to do to pass all your courses it really amounts to quite a lot. Her I can vouch for the fact that you definitely get your monies worth for education. I found the lecturers to be very good and if you put in your own work too combined with your hectic schedule it makes for the perfect programme. + none of my lectures have been cancelled ever which is more than I can say for some UK universities. One complaint? The overpriced textbooks, but I just bought a tablet and put electronic versions onto there which saves a LOT of money. I have already needed 6 books for on average 50 euros each in the first 4 months!
The year itself is split up into two terms of two quarries each. You start the first week of September - have 7 weeks of education, then 1 week for recap and then 2 exam weeks - after that no break but straight onto the next quartile for the same thing all over again - very intense indeed!
So now that my education was looking great I needed to integrate right? Well even now I haven't joined any sports club although I do go to the gym frequently (on my own most of the time but still ) . begin surrounded by Dutch people with few international bachelor students makes it necessary to integrate which is the best part, you'll have many dutch friends - the ones that want to be friends with internationals and the ones who don;t are clearly visible during the first couple of weeks.
I would have joined the rowing club, or maybe Tae-kwon-do, but I instantly signed up for Dutch lesson instead. I personally wouldn't believe what other people say about Dutch being difficult. I never found a problem especially with the understanding of Dutch - the sounds are fine to pronounce. The word order of the language is very different but once you've got past that little gimmick then it's really just like any other language you've ever learned.
With regards to living and going out. Food - more expensive. Restaurants - uber expensive. Beer? 1 euro per half pint on barrel nights (you're going to have to come along to find out what those are ) and at other times ridiculously expensive for 2.5 euro - 3 euro. But then again I have too much work to do to be going out drinking so that's never been a problem for me.
And finally the international travel. Eindhoven has it's own low budget airport with rancid as one of it's carriers which is great! But if that gets too expensive sometimes for what it is (which it often does) there is an overnight Eurolines service nightly from Eindhoven to London. But if that's too cheap and uncomfortable for you (which it really is) then there is always the train and you could even get cityjet from Eindhoven airport which is a "normal" company to London city airport which I do regularly for only 120 euros return at good times.
Overall there is so much to tell but I shan't bore you any longer - it is a lot to read. So if there are any questions about the fantastic time that I have been having ask them and in the mean time I shall definitely be writing back next month about how the 2nd set of exams went and the general state of things.
PS - so far so good with 20 ECTS earned in the first quartile - now studying during my 2 week Christmas break for the next set of exams in order to get another 15! Either way I'm solidly on track at the moment.
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- Thread Starter
- 31-12-2012 16:42
- 31-03-2013 17:09
My name is Vincent, and I was accepted to TU/e with a conditional acceptance as well. My intended major is a Bachelor's in Computer Science w/ Software Engineering and I was curious to know how your studies are going now. I'll be starting my degree in September of 2013 and the only thing I'm really worried about it not having enough time to anything else besides school/study; Ideally, it'd be nice to have a life outside of school as I would much like to participate in sports/clubs. Also, would you happen to know the difficulty of finding a studio apartment as opposed to a house with rooms?
I'm really looking forward to attending TU/e because of the school's reputation with innovation and partnerships. I'm coming from New York City and I guess I'm also a bit worried about the change in scenery, if in fact there will be one. All of my family lives in England & Luxembourg, would you happen to have an approximation for the price if I was to take the Euroline? Any advice would be much appreciated and thanks a ton Stanley!