For Ashwin Dayal George, language was never a barrier to understanding and experiencing Dutch culture.
The Eindhoven University of Technology (Technische Universiteit Eindhoven, TU/e), located in the city of Eindhoven, in the south of the Netherlands, is slowly gaining popularity among Indianstudents. Its green campus and friendly ambience are great draws for the students.
One of the major reasons why several students choose Universities in the U.S. is the problem with the language. But what they do not realise is that several Universities in the European Union offer courses in English. But of course, learning the native language of the foreign country you choose to pursue your higher education can help in better interaction with the locals. We spend over two years in a foreign land and therefore communication becomes important. The Dutch do speak English and are very helpful. I never learnt Dutch (which I am not proud of), yet I could lead life normally for the entire time that I was in the Netherlands.
I remember my first day when I landed in Amsterdam with two of my friends from Vellore Institute of Technology. We made a two-hour train journey from Amsterdam to Eindhoven. The ‘Meet and Greet’ service from the University met us at the railway station. We were dropped at our apartments (Master students are provided rooms in student apartments outside the University campus or in ‘space boxes’ inside the campus!) and also given a short tour around our neighbourhood to get familiar with the stores, shops, etc… We were even lucky enough to find an Indian store which had all the necessary food products from India.
Moving to a foreign country needs some adjusting. And that is exactly what I learnt here. The University arranged a host of events and activities for all the international students. We were split into small groups and then guided by two or three seniors, which included Dutch and other foreign nationals. The idea of this ‘Intro Week’ at the TU/e is to help us bond with each other, and get acclimatised to the new culture.
And of course, who would forget the bicycle when you are in the Netherlands. Riding a bicycle in the Netherlands is the way to go. There are cycle tracks everywhere and as a student the best way to go from place to place is with your bicycle and it is totally safe.
Throughout the course of the study, managing your academics and ensuring your course completion is up to the students.
There is an international office which keeps monitoring your progress, but there is no strict deadline for your course completion. International students can always take part in several extra-curricular activities as long as you have a balance between your studies and other activities.
The Professors are always ready to help you.
As for the lectures and examinations, one has to get used to the pattern followed here. The lectures are made mostly through presentations. Some courses are even recorded, to be watched later by those who were unable to attend class.
Although, it is not possible for international students to have a part-time job in the Netherlands, one can find part time jobs within the University campus. One can find part time jobs which include working in the library, assisting other students in the labs, conducting ‘Intro Week’ for your juniors, etc. for which you are paid well. Students are encouraged to take up responsibilities here on the campus.
During the weekends, one can plan short trips to neighbouring countries (even cycling to the Belgian border is possible), or just travel all around the Netherlands by train. The public transport here is excellent, and with cheap ‘day tickets’, one can travel anywhere in the Netherlands for as little as 15 Euros.
After the first year of courses and assignments, a student can choose to complete his internship and thesis either in a company or at the University.
One can find ample research opportunities in this region and one of the major contributing factors to this ‘tag is the TU/e. Life as a student at the TU/e was a truly unique experience. By the time you complete your studies and graduate from TU/e, you are left with fond memories.
The writer completed his masters in automotive technology at Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands.