My experience studying in the Netherlands

By Maria

Since I left Poland to study in the Netherlands, I’ve received many questions about life here. My family, friends, or even friends of friends often ask about the good and the bad sides of this decision.

I remember that 3 years ago, I was trying to find any information or opinions about Wageningen. It felt very strange, like I was possibly taking quite a big risk! (Which it was, indeed, but it turned out to be an amazing journey in the end). Now, it has come to my mind to share my experiences and give a bit of insight from this adventure. Many of you might be in the middle of the decision-making process and, perhaps reading a piece of real thoughts will bring you some clarity. Enjoy!

Alone in a new country? alone in the new country

When I arrived in the Netherlands, the first day felt the most strange ever. I realised that from that moment on, it was just me, myself and I! Honestly, I have never experienced such an emotion – knowing that I was alone, and I didn’t know anything or anyone besides what I had read online. BUT, only the first day was like this; later, everything came together, and I easily found myself here.

Reflecting on that arrival day was actually pretty exciting as well. It was all in one: scary, fascinating and life-changing. It was good, the challenge of being on my own taught me a lot – I’d even say it has been the best lesson I have ever had. HA! And I gave it to myself. 😛 What a roller coaster, I can say now.

Story time – trusting or being clueless ?

Before arriving here, I got information that my room was unfurnished, which was quite weird for me. In Poland, at least 99% of the time, you will find a bed and a wardrobe when you rent a room. So, I had a small problem to fix from another country, not knowing anyone there. Luckily, on the Wageningen Facebook group, I found a good offer – some people were giving away their mattress for free. I texted them and reserved it.

The funniest thing about it wasn’t just how lucky I was to arrange for a bed, but the people I met because of it. Maaike and Bernd, who gave me the mattress, picked me up from Ede and brought the new bed to my new house in Wageningen. They helped me with buying a bike and showing me around. This was over 2 years ago, and we still keep in touch and meet each other sometimes. They even visited me and my family last summer in Poland, which was absolutely wonderful!

And the lesson of it is…

And why am I telling this story? Well, I have to add that before leaving Poland, I was of course discussing things with my parents and sisters. They were unfortunately very worried about all of this. The idea that two complete strangers will pick up their daughter and give her things for free was not trustworthy that moment, which is understandable. Meeting someone online is a risk, and I tried to be careful that day. But, in the end, Maaike and Bernd became my ‘foster family’ here, helping me a lot, supporting me, and suddenly becoming close to me.

All I want to say through this story is that being on your own is scary and can definitely be lonely. From my experience, the best way to overcome it is to simply trust people and ask for help. You can never predict how things will develop, but I believe that letting go, being open, and showing your true self will bring you good people wherever you are.

Different education

After settling in and remembering the route from my home to uni without Google Maps, came the time for studying. I was fully astonished with how amazing and neat WUR was; everything was so well organised. The infrastructure was designed so well for students, with beautiful labs and classrooms. Let’s just say that my home university looked slightly less organised. So, the change was really impressive, but I loved it.

However, these were only material things. More importantly, I was amazed by the quality of teaching here. Lecturers, whose English was mostly perfect, shared needed study materials online, recorded lectures, etc. It was all new for me. Back in Poland, at least at my university, teachers were pretty strict. You couldn’t take a single photo of a presentation, so you had to make notes at the speed of light. Here, I was absolutely in love with the approach towards students, and that it was all very accessible. Now, I know that is this is the way to go, and I have to say that I have never studied as well as I have here.

On the other hand…dutch weather

Unfortunately, living here also comes with difficulties, and the biggest one, I would say, is the weather. I guess it is well-known outside of the Netherlands that it rains a lot here. But somehow, I managed not to bring any rain jacket when I first arrived here! Oh, what a surprise I had when I realised the stupid mistake I made. And yes, of course, it rained the whole day after a week of my life here… So the important message form this is: TAKE A GOOD RAINCOAT!

Summing up!

All in all, I am very proud that I came to the Netherlands and that I went abroad to study. I’m still living up to this challenge. It can be scary at the beginning, but, soon after, it all becomes a new great adventure that everyone should try! I highly recommend coming to WUR to study and finding a new home here. <3

By Maria

There are 4 comments.

  1. By: Teknik Informatika · 28-12-2023 at 19:40

    Studying in the Netherlands is transformative, fostering personal and academic growth. Embrace cultural diversity and unique learning experiences.Telkom University
    Visit us Telkom University

    1. By: Maria · 16-01-2024 at 14:30

      Hello 🙂 Thank you for your comment !
      Best greetings,

  2. By: 000 · 08-01-2024 at 10:10

    Hello, the educational system of my country is very different from the Netherlands, that’s why I wanted to know how the lecture, seminar, workshop, etc. is in the Netherlands? For example, I wanted to know what students usually do in a seminar or workshop and What does the teacher usually do in the workshop and seminar? Can you give examples of what you did in the seminar and workshop?

    1. By: Maria · 16-01-2024 at 14:29

      Hello 🙂 I’m happy to see your comment and interest in the WUR.
      Here during studies we attend to lectures, practicals and tutorials – depending on the course you’re doing. Most of the lectures take place on campus so you can come and listen to the teacher. There is usually a presentation with slides supporting the teacher’s speech, which in most cases you will be able to access and read again at home. Often lectures are recorded so it’s much easier to study for exams. Except presentations, lecturers also share lots of other online materials to help students with understanding topics. Teachers at WUR speak English very well so there shouldn’t be a language-wise problem. About practicals and tutorials – it all depends on what kind of studies and courses you do. But a common rule for most of the courses is that teachers want students to apply knowledge in practice. There will be exercises to train it then, some in lab/classroom/external place. For some practical classes students need laptops or just pen and paper. It all depends on the course. But there are always supervisors who are helping and guiding students so the material should be well understood.

      Hope this answers your question:) if you would want to know something more specific or have more questions don’t hesitate to contact me via the UniBuddy platform 🙂
      Best greetings,

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