“My names Nick, I’ve been studying Entertainment Business Management and recently got back from the Netherlands exchange. I was over there for 7 months, although the last month was mainly just hanging around and travelling a bit. The first 2 months were the first period of classes which included trend watching, theme park conception and strategic communications, so really creative, hands-on subjects in my opinion!
WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE STUDYING ABROAD?
Obviously, the weather. When I got there, it was snowing and it was my first time seeing snow so that was awesome. All the Dutch spoke very fluent English, so for me there was no real issue in terms of language.
WHAT DO YOU THINK WAS THE MOST VALUABLE THING YOU LEARNT?
Probably to be a lot more open minded. We were in an exchange with people literally from all over the world so it was like, if you really didn’t go in there open minded and willing to listen to everyone and talk to everyone, I don’t think it would work. There were language barriers with some people, so if you aren’t as open minded and don’t take the time to listen, that would be a big issue.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
For me personally, I had never travelled to Europe before that. So, after doing that, it’s made me be like, okay, there’s a lot more out there than just Australia. I think as well it was a good experience for me to live on my own, I’ve never done that so it was cool being in another country with all new people. It was a good experience.
Yeah, definitely. I’ve come back now and I want to start working so that I can set up my next trip!
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE TRIP?
One of the biggest highlights for me was that every day I learnt something new. Either about someone else’s culture, or just about the Netherlands itself or within my classes. You’re just having conversations with people – some of my good friends over there were from Canada, Scotland and Peru. So, every time we had a conversation, something new would come up that none of us had any idea about and then you would explain it – it was a good experience. You don’t really get that here; you don’t have a conversation with your mates and really walk away with a lot more knowledge.
People were really shocked about shoeys. Like, really shocked. They were actually like “why do you do that?!” haha.
HAVE YOUR GOALS/CAREER PREFERENCES CHANGED SINCE THE EXCHANGE?
To be honest, I don’t really want to live in Australia my whole life. I’d like to go somewhere, work for a bit, then maybe come back. Just after that experience – I don’t think anything will compare to it. Especially doing it during uni where you can just kind of enjoy yourself with the people around you. I feel like it was a once in a lifetime type of thing.
Whenever you feel tired, or you’re a bit “eh, I might not do that” – I feel like you should just push yourself to do it. I went into it with that mentality of ‘try and not miss out on stuff’ and there were a few things that I actually had to miss out on and I regretted it. I just wish I pushed myself that little bit more because it would have been a good experience. I think if anyone is going, push yourself and prepare to be put out of your comfort zone a lot. I was definitely out of my comfort zone so many times. Especially when I first arrived to my apartment with all my housemates – they had already been there for 6 months, so I remember when I walked in I felt really uncomfortable and it didn’t really feel like home. By the end of it though, I was like “this is my house, this is my home”.
That’s another thing, it goes extremely fast – so do as much as you can while you’re there, because before you know it you’re back here.
DID YOU MAKE ANY LONG-TERM FRIENDSHIPS?
Yeah, definitely. The group I was hanging out with, we’re already planning to try meet up more and more. Luckily, I had one other Australian – she’s from Brisbane, Sarah. I feel both of us were each other’s own piece of home to interact with. So many other countries had like big groups, like the Scottish had 8 or 9 so they were all together and they could all talk their slang and everything. So, it was good when me and Sarah got to do that.
Another cool thing about the exchange was all the free festivals they had on all the time and every couple weekends they would have some sort of parade. And if you like hard style music, you should definitely go. I went to Tomorrowland for the first time, that was a pretty cool experience. I’ve been to a lot of festivals around the Netherlands and that, but I really don’t think anything could compare to it. You couldn’t even imagine it, it was crazy.“
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