HAN University of Applied Sciences has launched a new student blog website in English with entries from international students. In their posts, students describe their experience with living in the Netherlands and studying at HAN’s Business faculty, the Arnhem Business School. Below are some of the student entries featured on the site that may be helpful for prospective and new students.
Common struggles for international students in Holland
Quynh Mai writes about some of the struggles she encountered after making the move to Arnhem, including the long distance from her home, low finances, and a lack of proficiency in the Dutch language.
Travelling home for Quynh is expensive and takes about 27 hours so she has to stay in Holland even during the holiday seasons. She misses family sometimes, but believes that being independent and having her own space compensates for this discomfort.
Financing is another struggle Quynh mentions. Her passion is travelling, but a student budget makes it difficult to pay for many trips. To help solve this problem, she has found a part-time job. Although combining work with studying is quite challenging, Quynh is sure this challenge makes her stronger and teaches her to value money more.
Quynh doesn’t speak Dutch and that is another serious problem. While English is enough for studying, Dutch is essential in daily life, at work, and with friends. Many things she interacts with everyday are written in Dutch and locals speak Dutch amongst themselves, unless talking directly with someone international, which sometimes makes Quynh feel like the odd one out.
“Mentioned above are only a few of my struggles,” — she adds, — “but as much as I complain about them, those are the things that help me grow and make me a better person, and for that, I am grateful!”
Practical tips for new students
Daniel Cuperman gives a few tips to new students in the Netherlands, especially when it comes to saving some money. Upon arriving to the Netherlands, Daniel urges students to buy a second-hand bike, get an OV-chipkaart, and find a cheap supermarket to buy food at. Students should also arrange accommodation as soon as possible if they failed to do that before arriving.
The best bike for a student is the oldest and rustiest one, says Daniel, as it will be less likely stolen if it is more beat up. Buying a solid lock for a bike is a good idea and it will protect it from theft, but not forever. For those who prefer to use public transport, Daniel recommends buying an OV-chipkaart which is cheaper than buying tickets every time you travel.
Finding a place to buy cheap food is another important step for new students, according to Daniel. He recommends the Lidl supermarket for students studying in Arnhem as he finds it to be the cheapest. Daniel advises to spend some time finding the cheapest shop, not the closest one, in order to save some money on food and other groceries.
The housing market, especially for students, is very competitive in the Netherlands so finding a room may be tough. For the students who didn’t yet find a room, Daniel advises them to focus on specialised groups on Facebook. A good strategy is to join these groups, sit in front of your laptop, and refresh the browser page literally every minute to pick up an accommodation offer before competitors. Students studying in Arnhem can make use of groups like Kamerarnhem and Kamermarkt.
More blog posts to learn from
Many more helpful posts can be found on the HAN student blog. Batty Tran compiled a list of websites which might be useful for students. Duy Pham wrote a story about his first year in the Communication programme. Ksenia Andrejeva described a presentation at the HAN Automotive Institute where students showcased a Formula 1 build. See all of these student posts and more on the HAN student blog website.