Hello everyone, I’m Jordan, a sophomore (senior standing) marketing/accounting major studying abroad in Rotterdam, which is 45 min. south of Amsterdam by train. At first glance, Rotterdam doesn’t seem that special. It doesn’t have the history, reputation, or glamour of London, Paris, Amsterdam, or Rome. But now that I’ve spent a month living in this city, I couldn’t have asked for anything more. Everyday life is great because I feel like I’ve had the true European experience, free from tourists. I buy my groceries at a huge outdoor market (ironically located in the Blaak neighborhood, making it the Blaak Market), I read at a park overlooking the Nieuwe Maas River and the famous Erasmus Bridge, and I take advantage of Rotterdam’s highly reputed nightlife.As much as we would all like studying abroad to be just about traveling, there is an academic component. The Rotterdam School of Management is much like UW. We have lectures a few times a week and tons and tons of group projects. To be honest, with classes usually only three days a week, I’ve had a lot of time to get to know the city and the school emphasizes the whole exchange experience—meaning they promote both curricular and extra-curricular activities. It seems like the school takes advantage of every opportunity to have social drinks or networking with drinks events. To sum it up, the school doesn’t mind having a little fun.
But really, I wanted to travel and being in the Netherlands has been wonderful. I arrived in Rotterdam a week before class started, so I spent my first weekend abroad in Belgium (Brussels and Antwerp) with one other exchange student, whom I met over facebook, and have since continued to travel with both international and Dutch students. When we’re not going out, we like to plan future trips. We’re going to Munich soon and northern Italy in a few weeks!
However, I’ve realized that I don’t need to leave the Netherlands to see some pretty amazing things. This Saturday is Queensday, and they’re expecting over two million people to flood the streets in Amsterdam for the country’s biggest street party. I’ll be heading up to Amsterdam with a group of friends and will be sure to let you know how it goes in my next blog post.