The story of how I became an International student in the Netherlands and all the tea that goes with it.

By Fontys Academy for Creative Industries

Hoi, this is probably the first word I heard when I arrived in the Netherlands, so I figured there is no better way to welcome you to this blogpost : ). I am Karla and I am currently a 2nd year Marketing management student at Fontys ACI, I study Digital Business Concepts. Check it out at here.

I know, sounds super fancy right, that is one of the reasons why I was drawn to it in the first place, just the name itself sounds so cool I immediately knew it has to be super interesting, and let me tell you, I wasn’t wrong. I went to economy high school back in Croatia-my home country, so I was always kinda interested in Marketing and everything it had to do with it so I knew this study will be a perfect fit for me. But no worries even if you don’t have any prior marketing knowledge you will learn everything here. Since I have been here I have learned so much, got the opportunity to work on projects for real companies and cool assignments, unlike in high school where everything was mainly based on learning the theory. I mean how many people that you know can tell you that they filmed a vlog based on a Netflix show for their uni assignment. But there is a lot more to it, from creating websites to working on a campaign for a world-known chocolate brand.

My friends from Croatia often tell me they don’t how do I manage to do everything for uni while cooking, doing laundry and doing everything else that comes with being a student all by myself. I think that is the biggest difference between my life back in Croatia and here, you really learn how to take care of yourself and become independent among all the other things. But of course its not all roses, even though usually people say that the beginning is the hardest, well for me this wasn’t really the case, reality check hit me much later. The first 2 weeks when I came here I was too excited to even worry about anything, I was also too busy with buying and assembling the furniture in my room since I arranged the accommodation myself and got  an unfurnished room, which is often the case with student rooms in the Netherlands. Tip: do not do it by yourself if you don’t have to, you will save a lot of time and money. Fontys offers students help with arranging the accommodation, you can find more info on that at here.

After those 2 weeks of arranging everything I was finally ready to start my life here and that’s when it hit me, I’m here alone, no friends, no family, uni still hasn’t started so I didn’t have anything to keep me occupied. I was kind of overwhelmed by so many new changes that happened in such a short period. Luckily, I applied for attending the Fontys Intro week which is a week filled with different activities where you get the chance to meet your fellow students and have a blast, here, check it for yourself

I think that is what helped me the most, just being around people, so a tip I would give you is just to get out of the house, you can’t make friends and meet people by staying in your student room. Explore the city even if it is on your own, you can meet a lot of people and Tilburg is really a true student city that has so many things to offer you will never get bored. From karaoke bars, clubs, zoo, game halls to beautiful parks at every corner of the city, so even during corona when most of the facilities are closed there is a lot to do. In my free time I usually like to go to the most popular park in Tilburg called the Spoorpark and either play volleyball or just chill with my friends and have some drinks. The view from the tower located in the park is also a must-see.

Fontys Academy for Creative Industries

By far one of the best experiences was when I visited a safari park located a few km from Tilburg, If you like to spend time in nature Safaripark Beekse Bergen is a place to go, they have a lot of animals there you can get really close to, such as giraffes and elephants, you can make a whole day trip out o fit as well since inside the park itself there are a lot of food stands where you can try some Dutch food or well snacks hah, depends on who you ask.

That is probably one of the weirdest things that I will probably never get used to, having a sandwich or a toast for lunch, that is simply not something I can get past by, for lunch is a proper cooked meal but yeah that is just the way Dutchies do it so don’t be surprised by it. One of the things that kinda bothers me as well with Dutch people is the fact they kind of unintentionally sabotage my plan to learn Dutch. Whenever I am in the supermarket and try to greet someone or ask a shop employee a question in Dutch, the minute she/he realizes I am an international (by my accent) immediately switch to English, which is well kind of nice of them but doesn’t help me in learning the language.

So yeah, all in all, no worries, if you have zero interest in learning Dutch and prefer English you will have no problem since almost everyone I met here speaks English, If you do wanna learn it though I guess you just have to be more stubborn 🙂

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