It has been just a little over a month and a half and it has been a blast living and studying here. As we are preparing to go on fall break, I felt it would be a good time to post about my experiences so far.
I’ll begin with the city; it is absolutely amazing and beautiful. Every morning, I get to wake up to a beautiful sight looking out towards the city. The city center, which is a few minutes away on foot from the train station (Den Haag Holland Spoor), is tremendous. There are plenty of stores many of which are very high-end. One thing is for sure though; you cannot go hungry in this city. There are plenty of places to eat from small cafes to bars that serve anything from a nice juicy ribeye to Turkish pizza. One specialty over here is called patas which are pretty much French fries and are served a lot with main dishes. The one thing that makes it notability different is that they are served with mayonnaise…now I know what you are thinking, how do fries and mayonnaise go together? Well let me tell you that it is awesome. I would never dare do that back home but over here it works. Besides the city center, the beach is not too far away which is nice on a warm day. Next, I will talk about my living accommodation.
I live in an apartment very close to school. I have two roommates; one is from Egypt and the other is from France. Space here tends to be a little bit smaller than what seems normal back home but it is very manageable. We do a lot of cooking. Unfortunately for me, my cooking is very limited except for Ramen noodles which I have mastered. My French roommate is the main chef of the apartment so I am taking notes from him to bring back home because he can fix just about anything. One great thing about living in this apartment, besides being very close to school, is the amount of other exchange students that also live here. Students come from all over the world. I have made many new friends and there are always activities going on. Just the other day, a group of us found a local park that had several soccer fields to play on so we will be making return trips there very soon. The next thing I want to talk about is school and what I do on a normal basis.
The Hague University, or De Haagse Hogeschool in Dutch, is a neat school. There are about 30,000 students that study here. The HU is divided up into different sections or buildings which are connected which makes it easy to navigate to your other classes once you get the hand of things. Classes often change rooms depending on the day so it is always good to check beforehand where you need to go so you don’t end up late. Here is an awesome tip; there is an app you can download called HHS TimeTable which you can pull up class schedules very quickly. As far as classes go, I am taking classes in finance, management, and Dutch for exchange students. Other than that, I usually enjoy riding my bike around the city (which there is a cool non-profit organization called B-Cycle-It that offers bikes to rent to students at a very reasonable cost a month). I have also been refereeing soccer games at a local club that I just happened to find one day walking through Rijswijk on certain weekends. Finally, I’ll talk about my travels.
My traveling so far has taken me to Germany and Austria. In Germany, I went to Munich, Frankfurt, Regensburg, Hannover, and Berlin. In Austria, I went to Salzburg which is on the border of Germany. With fall break here, I plan on going to Italy and then working up towards France. One note I would like to make if you decide to come over here to study: ask other exchange students about places you are interested in. Like I said earlier, students come from all over the world. They are a great source of information and can give you great tips that the internet can’t offer.
Well that has been my experiences here so far. While I enjoy my time over here, I know the days are getting quicker and soon it will be the end of the semester. If you are interested in The Hague and would like to know more, feel free to contact me at my email, firstname.lastname@example.org.