My time in Rotterdam is coming to a close, and I’ll be leaving this lovely city in one week. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been here for almost four months now! I feel so privileged for having had the opportunity to not only study in The Netherlands but to also travel to so many places in Europe. I truly didn’t imagine I’d cover so much ground during my time here.
A word for those of you considering an exchange with RSM:
My overall experience at the school itself was pretty positive. I took a minor called “E-Marketing” that was very fascinating, and I believe relevant for all business students. The course focused on marketing in the “new economy,” and spent most of the time examining the importance for businesses to adapt how they do business as the internet becomes more and more integrated into society. The course composition was much like any class at Foster and included lectures, class discussions, group work, a major paper and an exam. If you are thinking of doing your exchange during autumn quarter you will have the opportunity to take a minor (which is worth 15 ECTS). I suggest that if you chose to take a minor, you also chose at least one other course to take. I only took the one minor and found that I had a lot of extra time on my hands. It might not sound like such a bad thing until all the people you know are busy with school work.
If you are looking for a highly academic environment with a lot of extra seminars, lectures and workshops to participate in outside of the classroom, then I suggest you look at other universities. While there are some academic events to participate in they are few and far between and always cost extra. There is an “academic” club called STAR which organizes events throughout the year. Unfortunately, in order to actively participate in the club you must be staying longer than a quarter because of project timeframes. On the other hand, if you are looking to attend a lot of parties then RSM is for you. There are always school sponsored parties (sometimes the school even provides drinks) and weekly social drinks. There is rarely a night when someone isn’t having some sort of party. The school also organizes several trips outside of Rotterdam so that you get to know other cities in The Netherlands.
The Dutch have a “do-it-yourself” mentality. That makes some things very difficult to accomplish. If you come to RSM you will notice immediately that there isn’t much coordination between RSM and the rest of Erasmus University. For example, in order to print you need a “print card,” which inconveniently cannot be your student card, and you must have a separate print card for every building you wish to print in. So if you only want to have one print card you may find yourself taking several trips across campus.
Erasmus also does not have dormitories. You’ll need to conduct a housing search on your own. Erasmus refers students to a company that offers dorm style housing. You’ll need to figure out what is best for you. If you chose to go through this company your accommodations will be akin to standard student dorms and cost more than if you found housing on your own. The plus side is that you would be living with a lot of other students so making friends would be very easy. I chose to find housing on my own and am very happy with my situation. I posted a message on a Facebook page for RSM students and was offered to sublet an apartment from a student who was leaving Rotterdam to do her own exchange. My apartment is further away from the school (about 15 minutes by bike) but located in the Center of Rotterdam which is close to shopping, outdoor markets, restaurants, bars and a multitude of clubs. I also pay about 150-250 Euros less than what other students pay.
If you are planning to do a lot of traveling during your exchange then Rotterdam is a great place to be because of its central location. Since you are basically in the center of Europe you can go pretty much anywhere by train or a quick flight on one of Europe’s budget airlines. I’ve been to Germany, Belgium, France, Czech Republic, Italy and Spain.
I hope this information proves useful for you in choosing where you want to go on your exchange. If you have any other questions about RSM I’d be happy to answer them for you. I’ve had an incredible time and have learned so much about the World! Good luck in your own travels!