Hello everyone, I am İrem, I graduated from Sabancı University Industrial Engineering. Since I entered the university, I have realized my dream of studying abroad thanks to the Erasmus program. In 2019, I completed my Erasmus education at the Netherlands Twente University in the second term of the 3rd grade between February and June.
Why Netherlands? Why University of Twente?
Everyone gets excited when Erasmus applications start at Sabancı. Finally, the awaited applications were opened. But when you log into the system, you are asked to make 5 choices, and that’s when you are done, you start doing research.
Sabancı University has the opportunity to do both Erasmus and Exchange. In other words, you can apply to European countries with the Erasmus Program and to the contracted schools in America and Asia with the Exchange program. Before I started my research, I decided whether I want to do Erasmus or Exchange. As a result, I chose Erasmus. Because the countries that I could go to with Exchange were far away and would be more expensive since I did not have a grant opportunity.
After deciding to do Erasmus, it was time to choose the country and school. While making this choice, which country gives education in which language, people who have gone before, the lessons they have taken in the schools they went to before, which lessons at Sabanci, language, dormitory facilities, etc. I gave priority to the subjects. I had certain countries in mind. These were Spain, Italy and the Netherlands.
I had not been to Spain or the Netherlands before, I went to Italy once and I was amazed. So they were at the top of my list. However, looking at the criteria I determined, I turned to the Netherlands, as there was a risk of not opening English courses in Italy and Spain.
Erasmus Education in the Netherlands
The language of instruction in the Netherlands was English. Besides, those who previously attended the contracted schools in the Netherlands had taken different courses and their comments were very good. In addition, its location was good even if it was in the north. Finally, when I put all the pros and cons side by side, I decided that the Netherlands was the right country for me.
Finally, it’s time to choose a school. There were certain schools that Sabancı had a contract with. All of these were in different cities. After determining my country and choosing a school, I also got ideas from those who went before. I looked at the courses taken, the ranking of the schools, their cities, dormitory facilities, and transportation conditions. After examining these, the University of Twente caught my attention.
Universities do not have campuses in the Netherlands, but the University of Twente has a huge campus. It is located in a border city neighboring Germany called Enschede. The city where it is located is actually a university city. In this respect, I thought it would not force me and it would be easier for me to get used to it.
Also, as someone who has been living in a big city like Istanbul for many years, I wanted to live in a small city rather than living in a big city in Erasmus. In addition, there was no such thing as not leaving a dormitory at school. The issue of accommodation was important to me. As a result, how many months would I live in a different country. As a result of all these evaluations, the application results were also announced and I was accepted to Twente University.
Before Going Erasmus: Visa Process – Course Selection
Twente University was really helpful in many issues such as visa and other dormitory applications, course selection. They supported me step by step through the whole process and they made my visa application. I was really lucky in this regard. I uploaded all the necessary documents to the system and when my application was finally made, I just went to the consulate and got my visa.
There were some difficulties in the course selection, of course. I could not get the lessons I wanted in the first place. Also, the Dutch education system is different. They also divide a period into two, so it is necessary to consider 2 separate periods. Twente University also guided this issue. As a result of their guidance, I got my classes approved at Sabancı University and took the appropriate courses before I went.
A Closer Look At Twente University And Enschede
Twente University is a highly entrepreneurial university. Even a research and technology university. Twente is ranked 65 in Reuters’ European Most Innovative Universities in 2017. According to Times Higher Education magazine, it is ranked 153 globally in 2018. It has a very nice campus. There are also a lot of students from different countries. Academics are very helpful about the lessons. The course load was not very intense. Since I took elective courses from Benserbest, I took some more verbal, economics, finance, international relations courses. Although outside of my field, the teachers and my friends in the lessons were very helpful. In this way, I passed all of my lessons with good grades.
There are dormitories both inside and outside the campus. I stayed in one-person dormitories with private bathrooms in the city center called ITC. It was a bit more expensive than the dormitories on campus, but it was very comfortable. The middle ones were the kitchen and laundry. I mostly cooked and ate my own food. I washed my laundry in the machines with the tokens I bought for a small fee.
Transportation to the school was by buses and bicycles in two ways. Like most Dutch people, I rented a bike and went to school with my bike during my Erasmus.
The campus was 20-25 minutes from the city center by bicycle. Even after getting used to it and driving a little fast, it was possible to go to the campus in 15 minutes. One of the things Holland is famous for is bicycles and they are so enjoyable. It is experienced not fully explained 🙂
Enschede, the city where Twente University is located, is a small city. The city is known for the FC Twente team and the factory for Grosch beer in the leading Dutch beer brands. A market was set up twice a week in the city center, and there were various markets in the center. I can say that it was a small but lively city in its own right.
Since the beginning of Erasmus, I have never had any difficulties in making friends. I had a few other friends from Sabanci who came with me. Their presence, of course, made my adjustment process easier. However, in addition to my friends from Sabancı, I made many friends thanks to both the orientation and the projects I did in my classes.
Besides, almost every school has a club called ESN called Erasmus Student Network. I became a member of this club and participated in its trips and events. I also made different friends there. I collected so many good memories together.
My Erasmus Trips
One of the things that make Erasmus fun and enjoyable is of course its trips. One of my Erasmus goals was to travel and get to know the country I went to. For this purpose, I had the opportunity to visit 10 different cities in the Netherlands. Since the Netherlands is surrounded by trains all over the world, I went to all cities by train. In fact, since the country is a small country, there were some cities I went to for a day. I was also very comfortable with the language because everyone from 7 to 70 spoke English and they were very helpful.
In terms of entertainment, almost every city was quite diverse. An area with bars, cafes, restaurants and clubs in Enschede, the city where I live, was especially frequented by young people.
In terms of weather, the Netherlands is a cold and rainy country. The weather, which rose above 20 degrees in 1 week in April, dropped to 10 degrees again in May. Therefore, even if you go to the Netherlands in spring, you should bring a lot of warm clothes with you.
Apart from the Netherlands, I had the opportunity to go to Germany, France and Belgium. I went to Germany and Belgium by train, and to Paris in France by Flixbus buses departing from Enschede. It was a 9-hour long journey but definitely worth it.
If you want to ride a lot of bicycles and trains in Europe, if you want to experience life in a peaceful country with friendly and helpful people and also get a good education, the Netherlands is for you.
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