Location: Utrecht, Netherlands
Language of Instruction: English
History Year Abroad Student Views
- What surprised me most about living and studying abroad was the differences in lifestyle. The Dutch have a far more relaxed approach to life, with the attitude of ‘live to work’ rather than ‘work to live’, for example taking half days when the weather is nice or having drinks after work in the evening with friends, family or colleagues.
- Cycling became one of the major changes in my lifestyle, from taking the bus at Warwick to cycling 10km a day in Utrecht! I will really miss cycling every day, as well as trying to balance my groceries on the front of my bike (my Dutch friends commented I was becoming a real Dutchie by perfecting this skill)! Another bike related shock was the number of people that ride on the front or back of the bike . . .Giving lifts on the back of bikes and clinging on for dear life is what I now associate with Dutch cycling, having seen three people on one bike many times and the skilful balance.
- In the Netherlands, supermarkets are smaller with less choice than the larger ones I am used to in the UK. For example, I had been used to a whole aisle of cereal, but in the Netherlands, you only had the choice of 10 different types of cereal and nowhere sold Cadburys!
- The university facilities are so modern, there are two large libraries, as well as newly fitted lecture theatres with good projection facilities (although no lecture capture).
- Compulsory attendance and penalties for missing classes was new to me. My attendance incredibly improved this year. I hope I will keep this up next year as I found I was more motivated and focused, rather than blasé about missing classes.
- In Utrecht I was required (for some seminars) to find my own secondary and primary sources for the seminars. This meant that I was actively doing my own research, not relying on set texts. Therefore, I used more databases and archives than what I had in the U.K.
- took part in activities and trips organised by ESN Utrecht (Erasmus Student Network) these included: day trip to Bruges, Sintaklaas parade, Pool and Poker Night, Poema Club Parties, Beer Cantus, among other activities. ESN did lots of cultural activities that were affordable and allowed me to travel to different parts of the Netherlands. In the second semester for the ESN intro day I volunteered as a guide, touring new international students around Utrecht, which I loved doing.
- I did a beginners and intermediate Dutch course, taking an exam and passing! I wanted to learn Dutch because while my course was in English, I wanted to be able to have conversations with people and communicate in Dutch.
- I had the opportunity to travel extensively. I visited so many beautiful places in the Netherlands such as, Amsterdam, The Hague, Haarlem, Amersfoort, Deventer, Keukenhof also known as the Garden of Europe (famous for its tulip fields) as well as other smaller towns and villages. I was also able to visit Belgium, going to Brussels, Bruges, Antwerp and Kortrijk. Furthermore, I visited friends from Warwick in Rome and friends I made at Utrecht in Vienna.
- For example, what was very interesting and surprising to me was the influence of different cultures on Dutch culture. There is a great influence of Indonesian, Surinamese, Turkish and Moroccan culture on everyday life and food in the Netherlands.
- I was lucky to take a module about Dutch culture in the first period, and this helped me to understand and cope with the culture shock I experienced. Interestingly what I learnt from that module was that even Dutch people did not know what their culture is and it is heavily debated in society, with lifestyle (cycling and food) forming what they believe is their culture.
Please note that not all institutions are available each year, and places will be allocated on a competitive basis. Partnerships may be added or withdrawn at any time, and are always subject to availability. The institutions available each year will be posted in the preceding Autumn Term.
Year Abroad Contacts:
Professor Tim Lockley
Director of Study Abroad Programmes
Mrs Val Melling
Tel: +44 (0)24 765 22502
HistoryOffice at warwick dot ac dot uk