RSM Erasmus University

First month in Rotterdam

Friday, September 25th, 2009

Renninger (1)Hi, my name is Rachel Renninger, and I am a junior at the Foster School of Business but am currently studying at RSM Erasmus University in the Netherlands.  I have already been in Rotterdam a little over a month now and time is flying by!  I have made friends with people from all over the world and am truly having an international experience.

The university put on a two day integration trip the weekend before classes started, which was a great way to meet everyone in the program.  I choose to live at Casa Erasmus, one of the student buildings and am very glad I did.  Although some students found nicer places that were less expensive it is great to be around other students and only have a 10 minute walk to campus and is close to downtown as well.Renninger

One of the reasons why I chose to study in Rotterdam was because of its excellent location.  It is very easy to travel to other countries in Europe from Rotterdam and I have already been to Belgium, Italy, and Germany and am going to London in a couple weeks.  Pretty much everyone in the Netherlands speaks English, which makes it very easy to get around.  The Dutch are also some of the nicest and friendliest people I have met.

I chose to take a minor while studying at RSM, which is 15 ECTS credits.  The minor I chose was Principles of Negotiation.  I only have class Tuesdays and Thursdays for 3 hours, which is very nice as it gives me time to travel to other cities in Europe.  There are only about 18 students in my class which is really nice, and there are three professors teaching during the trimester.  My grade for the class is based on a reflection journal of my experiences in class and a final paper on a negotiation topic of my choice.  So far I have not found my experiences in the classroom all that different from at Foster.

Going on exchange can definitely be overwhelming at times but I strongly recommend it to everyone.  I have had an amazing time so far, and it has been the best decision I have made while at UW.

Renninger (2)

Greetings from Rotterdam!

Friday, September 18th, 2009

Griffin, 2My name is Emily, and I’m attending Rotterdam School of Management at Erasmus University in The Netherlands.   I’ve been here for almost a month now and have been having an amazing time.

The transition from home to living in Rotterdam proved quite easy thanks to wonderful introductory program the RSM organized for all the international exchange students.  At RSM there are students from over 80 countries all studying under the same roof.  The opportunity to interact with them has been the highlight of my experiences so far.  We all participated in a two day introductory program that was designed to get us to know each other quickly.  We spent almost a whole day in an acrobatic workshop (yes, acrobatic) and then spent the night in a youth hostel located in a nature reserve outside of Rotterdam.  We truly did get to know each other well and now have a great network of support.  There is always somewhere to go and someone to go with!

I’m taking a course called a “minor” which is basically one class worth several credits.  The course composition is fairly similar to classes at Foster.   My minor has two classes a week that are two hours and 45 minutes long.  We have a few small assignments, reading, a major paper and an exam.  While this is considered a full course load I’m finding that the amount of work is very manageable and I have plenty of time to travel.  There are very few student associations and extracurricular activities outside of sports.  If I Griffin, 3could change one thing here, it would be to have more student associations.  I’ve discovered that as students at Foster we are very privileged to have so many opportunities outside of the classroom.

Life outside of the classroom has been just as pleasant.  I love travelling all over town by bicycle.  There are streets and traffic signals dedicated to bicycles, and it is so flat here cycling several kilometers isn’t a big deal.  If you love night life Rotterdam is definitely the place to be!  There are many places to go dancing and no matter what the day you can always find someone who is ready to dance the night away.  Clubs are open here much later.  Typical clubs are open until around 5 AM.  While clubs may stay open all night long I’ve found that every other business has much shorter hours.  Stores tend to open 11 AM and close around 6 or 7 PM.  It took some getting used to but now I plan Griffin, 1my midnight snacks in advance.

The Netherlands is a wonderful place to be, not only for Holland itself, but also for its proximity to many other European destinations.  A few hours train ride will get you to Germany, Belgium, and France (to name just a few).  So far I’ve visited a few cities in Holland; Amsterdam, Den Haag, and Delft.  In the next three weeks I’m going to Germany and France!

Tot ziens!

Make good local friends!

Monday, April 20th, 2009

I’m going to be honest with all of you, when I first decided to do the exchange, I spent most of my time worrying about where I wanted to travel to, whom I was going to visit, and how many places I could go in 12 short weeks. I even went as far as scheduling my classes (all of which meet weekly), on Monday and Tuesday, greatly freeing up my availability to roam from Fri-Sun to Wed-Sun.

So I started making lots of REALLY great plans. I was probably only in Rotterdam my first month there a handful of days. If you don’t recall, my living situation was a little different from the others on my program because I had decided to rent a room from a local Dutch girl going on exchange herself. Her roommate also went on exchange simultaneously, and the girl renting from her wouldn’t get to Rotterdam until February. But since I was essentially living alone, it was lots of guilt free traveling.

When my new roommate moved in (a Dutch girl who was doing an internship at a large hotel in Rotterdam), I helped her get settled in a little in exchange for some basic Dutch lessons.

At this point I should provide a brief background on some basic things The Netherlands. Education is heavily subsidized. Local students pay less than we do per quarter for the year, receiving a monthly housing/living stipend, and a transportation card that permits FREE public transportation travel (like the U-pass) on everything IN THE COUNTRY. That’s right. Buses, trams, metros, inter-city trains. FREE. (but MUCH better than the U-Pass). The only catch is that I can use it on weekdays only. On weekends, I get 40% off.

Being an exchange student makes me healthy contributor to the housing rental and transportation industries of Holland. My friends and I griped regularly. But boy, was my luck about to change… (more…)

Hello from the Netherlands

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

An introduction of myself, eh? My name is Joey Hwong, and I’m currently a super senior at Foster, studying in Rotterdam, The Netherlands for winter quarter. It took quite a lot of effort to get me here, so I thought sharing this experience would be most interesting as a late introduction of myself.

After I received my acceptance letter in spring 2008, I promptly submitted all of the required documents, including the housing request form to stadswonen (the company that handles all student accommodations). I didn’t hear back until…probably late September or October, with notification that I hadn’t submitted “anything” at all. After a couple follow-up emails, I realized my only option was to resubmit. This late into the game, I was left with but one option over 7 km from school and in a “shadier area of town.” (My buddy’s words, not mine.) It was also quite pricey. After several more emails with stadswonen/Foster Exchanges/my parents/my buddy concerning the safety of this location, the practicality of going to school, it was decided that I would need them to find me alternative housing, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to go. In the meantime, throughout this discussion, instead of working with me to provide a solution, stadswonen contacted me and canceled their housing proposal because I had exceeded their 24 hours window for acceptance.

I spent a good week seeking all possible alternatives and finally found a girl on facebook who was studying abroad to Vancouver, BC for her winter trimester. Worked out well, it was 2/3 of the rent stadswonen wanted to charge and only 2 km from school. And she’s lent me her bicycle to use, which saves me a bit of money in transportation/bike acquisition costs.

Following, there was another fiasco involving the contract and deposit, since I was going on vacation, and so was she. I couldn’t wire money from my bank account in the States. But that’s less interesting, so I’ll skip those parts.

So, a week or two ago, there was a welcome dinner, and I spent the evening talking to a gentleman who was serving as the photographer for the evening. Turns out he’s part of the weekly magazine the university puts out and I’m not the only person whose had the worst experiences with stadswonen. I’ll be in a small segment (with photo) sometime next week in their magazine. The magazine is doing an expose on stadswonen and the fact the university outsources the housing to them.

At the moment, I’m currently enjoying my flat, conveniently located next to a grocery store, trams, metros, and the usage of my bicycle. It makes me feel less like I’m “studying abroad” here and more like I’m trying to immerse myself into the culture, which is nice.

That’s all for now.

Returning Home

Friday, January 2nd, 2009

apartment-view-2.JPGSo I just returned home last week from Rotterdam. It was hard to leave all the people that I’d meet while abroad, but once they started leaving to go home I started feeling ready to go. It made me realize that the people I met and the time I had with them, although for only a few months, were the best part of my time abroad.

paris-079.JPGI was also able to travel quite a bit after I was done with classes, which was the main reason I wanted to study in Europe. Everything is so close to each other that you can take a plane or train anywhere for a relatively cheap price. I traveled with a couple people I’d met in my exchange group the two weeks prior to coming home. We went to Edinburgh which was a really cool, old looking city with a castle right in the middle. Then on to Paris and London. We spent almost a week in London and still weren’t able to do everything that we wanted to. There are so many things to do and see. I would also recommend purchasing the London pass to anyone who is traveling to London next semester. It was about 50pounds, and it gets you admission paris-091.JPGinto a lot of different things around London (Tower of London, London Bridge, Globe Theatre, Unlimited subway ticket, and lots more) we easily got our money’s worth. I think out of the places I went to and visited, London and Amsterdam were my favorite.

paris-009.JPGAs far as Rotterdam, it started feeling like home after a while and was a great place to live. I think before I left I was wishing that maybe the program would be based in Amsterdam because it would be a better experience to live there, but in the end I’m glad I was in Rotterdam. There are still a lot of things to do there; it’s not as touristy and less crowded. Amsterdam is still only 50 minutes away, and it seemed like a lot of people still came down to Rotterdam for their bars and clubs.

These pictures are: view from my apartment room in Rotterdam, us outside of Notre Dame Cathedral, in front of the Arc de Triumph at night, and the campus at Erasmus University.

I would totally recommend some sort of study abroad program to anyone wanting a new experience, a change, and a challenge.

Update from Rotterdam

Friday, October 31st, 2008

Just finished my last lecture at RSM which is nice because it’s probably only midterm week back home.  The classes here are pretty similar to those at Foster, since the lectures and readings are in English it doesn’t feel too different, but other things are.  The school has sponsored two huge parties for the business students where they’ve rented out a club and hired a bunch of DJ’s.  The European students go crazy over the popular DJ’s, they seem to be more popular than actors, sport stars, everybody.  There’s also a bar on the first level of the business school building in case you have a bad exam.  I’d be interested to talk to students from RSM who are on exchange at Foster to see what they thought was really different there compared to back home in Holland.

With classes almost being over I’m going to be doing a lot of traveling starting next week.  I’m leaving for Scotland on the 10th (I’ll have to try the Haggis after reading some of the other blogs) and London, Paris, Dublin, Berlin during the following weeks.  We’re trying to plan a trip to Italy as well, but time is going by pretty fast so I don’t know if we’ll be able to.  Being in Rotterdam is also nice because it’s only about an hour by train to Amsterdam (which is my favorite city I’ve been to so far).  Everyone studying abroad in Europe should visit if they haven’t already.

Between me and the 3 other US students (from Ohio State-they keep making fun of our football team) we are really enjoying Rotterdam and Erasmus Univ.   I feel it’s been a great experience so far, and I’ve made friends with a lot of people from all over the world and if nothing else I’ll have a place to stay in a lot of great cities when I come back!!!

Talk to everyone later!

My First Month Abroad

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

belgium-109.JPGHello, my name is Kyle Richards.  I am a finance major at the Foster Business School and am currently on exchange finishing up my studies to graduate in the winter.  I grew up on the eastside of Lake Washington in Kirkland and have spent 4 years at UW and now am spending a quarter abroad in Rotterdam, Netherlands studying at Erasmus University.

I chose to come to Rotterdam because of the great reputation Erasmus has regarding its business program and to travel and experience all that Europe has to offer.  Rotterdam is in a great location to be able to travel from.  Amsterdam is less than an hour away by train and both Germany and Belgium are less than 2.  You can also find cheap airfare leaving from Schipol Airport (35 min. from Rotterdam) if you want to travel to countries that are a bit far for the train.

After living in Rotterdam for only 5 weeks I already feel at home here.  The city doesn’t have the typical look of a lot of other European cities with the old buildings and architecture, but there is a lot to do and it is very easy to get around with the tram and bus system.  The university also has put on many school functions not only for exchange students, but for all business school students in general.

I have also met a lot of new friends from all over the world here.  The University put on a 3 day excursion when we first arrived for all the exchange students which helped all of us get to know each other.  Most students live in the same area of Kralingen which is nice because it’s easy to hang out with each other, and because its only about a 10 minute walk from campus.  About 10 of us have started to travel over the past few weeks including going to Brugge, Brussels, and Amsterdam.  We are planning to go to Munich next week to catch the end of the October Festival.

So far I am very glad I made the decision to study abroad.  I’ve met a lot of very cool people from all over the world and am getting to experience a lot of different things and places.

You can email me at kyler3@u.washington.edu if anyone has any questions about Rotterdam, Erasmus U, or just studying abroad in general.

A Truly International Experience

Monday, May 5th, 2008

11-my-new-school.jpgWhy limit your exposure to only one foreign culture when you can study abroad in the Netherlands and get hundreds? At Erasmus University in Rotterdam, the Netherlands you’ll find yourself surrounded by people from across the globe.

The Netherlands (commonly, though incorrectly referred to as “Holland“) is situated in the heart of Europe, and draws students from across the continent – and the world. I share a classroom not only with Dutch students, but also Norwegians, Fins, Germans, Brits, Italians, Canadians, Australians and other Americans, just to name a few. I’m not only immersed in one culture; I’m surrounded by many. This is a truly international experience.

The common language is of course English, so while it’s nice to learn Dutch, it’s totally unnecessary. Though seemingly a minority, try to meet at least a few Dutch students. The Dutch have got to be some of the nicest people in the world and are always willing to help you out or show you around (and they’ll happily do it in perfect English).

04-more-bikes.jpgMy Recommendations: When in the Netherlands do as the Dutch, and get a bike! Although public transportation is ubiquitous, reliable and affordable, you’ll be missing part of the experience if you main mode of transportation isn’t a bike. You can do it the legal way and pay 150 Euros at the bike shop, or you can bump into one of the many street salesman where you can usually find one for 10 Euros. But be warned: spend twice as much on the lock as you did on the bike, otherwise it’ll be your bike that’s for sale.

amsterdam-010.jpgAlso, travel! The Netherlands are ideally situated in the middle of Europe, and all the history it has to offer. School here isn’t as intense, so you should have many long (3-5 day) weekends to explore Holland and neighboring countries. Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Amsterdam, Prague, and Italy are all weekend trips away, and with affordable airfare within the continent (see: skyscanner.net) you may get round-trip for under 100 Euros.

Holland itself has tons of places to visit, most of which are within a few hours train ride away. Of course you need to visit Amsterdam, be sure to check out the Red Light District. And know the difference between a cafe and a coffee shop. The capital, Den Haag, the quaint city of Utrecht, Castle de Haar, Keukenhof (flower gardens), and St. John’s Cathedral in Hertogenbosch are all worth the trips.

flowers.jpgIf you can, try to come during the spring. With a maritime climate, the Netherlands have weather very similar to Seattle. It gets pretty cold, rainy and windy during the winter, so coming in spring when all the tulips are blooming is perfect. This way you’ll also catch Queen’s Day (April 30th), which is a national holiday on par with Carnival, an experience you won’t want to miss.