Jamila Osman – Business Management – Level 2
Saxion University of Applied Sciences, Netherlands
Various things motivated me to go on my exchange semester. Firstly, I wanted to experience living in a different country and doing it while you’re a student on an exchange is a great opportunity to do so because you receive a lot of support. Secondly, I would really like to live and work abroad after my studies so this was a good chance to get a taster of how it would be to move and study/work in a different country. Finally, as much as I love my home city Edinburgh, I really just wanted a change of scenery.
I left applying for an exchange pretty late and therefore had less choices of where I could go – would not recommend this! We had to narrow it down to three options in order of preference and my three in order were Hong Kong, the Netherlands and Germany. I had begun applying for the university in Hong Kong and was accepted, started applying for my student visa there and ended up realising I was too scared to move to Hong Kong – the other side of the world where I had never even visited. Truthfully, I was too scared to move so far away. I then was unsure if I could choose another option as it was so late however, I received support in choosing a different university. Between the university in the Netherlands and the one in Germany I chose the Dutch one as I would be studying in English. I would’ve preferred to live in Germany, but I knew learning at my level in German, a language I only knew basically, would be extremely hard.
Looking back, there are a few things I would do differently. I would definitely explore accommodation option more. I received feedback from previous student who went to the exchange university I was going to who said they wished they had stayed in student accommodation and not private accommodation. This made me choose the student accommodation without much deliberation however looking back I think I would’ve explored both options fully first. I also would have researched the cities I was considering moving to as this may have influenced my choice. The town which I lived in, Deventer in the Netherlands, was a very quiet and peaceful town. There was not much to fault however the social life in the town was terrible and as this plays a big part, I may have chosen another university if I knew this information beforehand. Finally, I would have organised my finances better. It’s easy to get carried away when you live abroad but planning monthly budgets for shopping, leisure etc would have helped me be more organised.
I also had the opportunity to visit China as a part of my business case in my exchange semester. I visited three cities in China, Beijing, Huangshan and Shanghai, and it was an incredible once-in-a-lifetime experience.