My Student Exchange Experience

JMC Academy student Ashleigh Clifford spent 6 months in the Netherlands on our student exchange programme with Fontys Academy for Creative Industries, and talks us through her time, experiences and everything she has learnt!

This time last year, I could never have guessed how much my life would soon change. Receiving the news that I was accepted into the 2016 Fontys exchange program was so exciting. The thought of spending six months overseas studying in another country and travelling around Europe sounded like a dream come true. January 25th could not come quick enough. Then, in a whirlwind of excitement, stress, and what seemed like an eternity of packing and saying goodbyes, I was boarding the plane at Brisbane airport.
It was a long trip but eventually I landed in Amsterdam airport, and the true journey began. The next few weeks were a whirlwind of emotions. Meeting and getting to know people from all around the world was amazing, starting classes in another country was scary but fun, and exploring my new home was exciting. Tilburg is a quaint little town that feels so homey. Riding your bike around the canals and through parks is definitely a must, and the people there are super friendly.
Fontys Academy of Creative Arts and everyone involved were absolutely great. Michelle and her team at Fontys made the move so much easier with get-togethers, little activities, and setting up Dutch buddies for us to help us get settled into our new home. The teachers were always willing to give a hand, and the classes were always interesting. Having so many breaks between class weeks wasn’t so bad either, because there was plenty of time to do loads of travelling.
For me, though, the people were the biggest highlight. I’ve always been a shy person, but being thrown into the same situation with over 60 other people from around the world really gives you something to connect with. From Scotland, to Norway, to Brazil, to South Korea, and more, I now have people that I call family from all around the world.
As much as I love Tilburg and still call it home, the people are what made the trip so completely and utterly life changing. It sounds cliché, but this trip brought me out of my shell, and gave me a confidence that I could only dream about previously. It was the best trip of my life, and the experiences I had there were second to none. If I could, I would start my degree all over again just so I could go back. It was the experience of a lifetime and I am so very lucky to have been given the opportunity to participate. I cannot thank JMC and the international team enough for providing students with this opportunity, and I cannot recommend it enough for students to apply.  I guarantee, you will not regret it.


Find out more about taking part in the next student exchange programme at Fontys Here. 

Other articles you may be interested in: