Things to know about Netherlands:
There are 2 types of coffee shops: ones that sell actually coffee, and one’s that sell something closer to the plant variety. You will know the latter by smell; unfortunately, the smell of coffee loses out to the smell of weed. If you want to try weed, please eat something first.
Shops close early, ~5pm and are probably not open on Sundays, or have shorter opening hours. Take note especially if you are rushing a project and need to buy materials.
Intercity travel within Netherlands can be expensive; the further you go, the more expensive the ticket.
http://www.ns.nl/spoordeelwinkel – this website has monthly promotions to various parts of Netherlands
ns.nl is their version of SMRT; you can also use to check train timings
9292.nl is like gothere.sg
http://www.treinreiziger.nl/tags/ns_dagkaart_actie – Various shops will also sell a day card (dag kaart) every once in a while, so grab it if you can. This website tells you which shop sells it at which period of time. The day ticket costs about 15 euros round trip. This is worth it if you want to travel to some exciting but ulu location (round trip may cost up to 50 euros)
http://translate.google.com/ – Let me introduce you to your new best friend
It rains. A lot.
Rainbows in Netherlands are equivalent to the Northern Lights in Norway
Things to know about the Dutch:
They are known for being frank/blunt; this may be at odds with our Asian thinking of “saving face” etc. So, if they 不客气 to you, just feel free to 不客气 back
But of course there are always friendly Dutch
There is also quite a large international community, especially amongst the Master students
Dutch food… they eat sandwiches for lunch >< (2 cold meals in the day, and one hot meal for dinner)
Almost all Dutch speak English proficiently
TU Delft/School Stuff:
This is the student housing body that we apply through for lodging. We stayed in Papsouwselaan, Poptahof area; it’s about 420 euros each for a 4 room HDB-like flat. Prices for housing are about 300-600 euros/month. For exchange students, the period of rent is fixed and cannot be changed. It should start around mid-August and end in 1st Feb (5.5 months). As an exchange student, you pay for the first 1.5 months and the last 2 months of your stay there via deposit while you are still in Singapore. So when you transfer money to your Dutch bank, remember that you still need to pay for 2 months of rent when you are in the Netherlands.
TU Delft only
List of modules to choose from, per studio: http://www.studiegids.tudelft.nl/a101_displayProgram.do?program_tree_id=11860
Before you leave for Netherlands:
- Get your visa application in time (especially if you want to travel before school). Dutch visa is arranged through the school; your school should send you the relevant documents to fill up, which you send back to them, which they will process with the relevant authorities in Netherlands, and then send it to the embassy in Singapore (what a long process!). You should give a minimum of 6 weeks for this process to avoid any heart attacks (e.g.your visa does not arrive before your fly).
- Forms that you need (the school should send you these forms for you to fill up and send back):
- Bank Statement (they are quite strict about this bank statement. If I am not wrong, it should come from a current account, implying that we have easy access to cash. Most of us only have savings account)
- Health Statement
- Passport photo (the requirements of the photo are different from Singapore. e.g. you cannot smile in the photo/show your teeth. Pls check this up)
- Antecedents Certificate
- Visa Confirmation form
- You will also need to make some prior payment to the school, this includes visa application payment, and the rental fees mentioned above
Article contributed by Samantha Chia