Once upon a Time…

It’s how all great fairytales start and the experience I have had so far has been nothing less than that. It’s day three of my student exchange at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands. I have spent the past six weeks in Fulda, Germany attending the International Summer University. It was FANTASTIC!!! I met some amazing people and have made life long friends. We had a group of 65, with 22 different nationalities- needless to say the class I took in Intercultural Communication was very useful.

The experience is one that I will never forget and could not recommend enough to other students. The program runs for a month, you take part in a selection of seminars and German language classes. I didn’t know any German before I arrived (and to be honest I’m hardly bilingual now) because Fulda is a smaller town the advice “don’t worry, everyone speaks English” was flawed at times, but hey that’s half the fun! I really felt at home by the end of the program and was so sad to leave. I’ve attached the link for the ISU program if anyone is interested in attending http://www.isu-hessen.de/front_content.php?client=17&idcat=0&idart=0&lang=16&error=1.

Like all fairytales, things go wrong along the way. For me that was my accommodation here in Maastricht! It is hard to know what you are in for sitting at a computer half way around the world. I unfortunately left my accommodation until the last minute and ended up a long walk from the city centre and university. Thankfully my prince in shining armour (aka maastrichthousing.com) came to my rescue and I’m much closer to everything now.

Orientation starts tomorrow, hopefully it will be Happily Ever After.

It begins…

Prepared
adjective

1. made ready or fit or suitable beforehand
2. having made preparations
3. equipped or prepared with necessary intellectual resources

As I am sitting here on my day of departure, I am looking at this definition and realising this does not apply to me. Being a typical young male, I left my run a little late with organising flights, visa and my accommodation for my semester abroad in Maastricht. I packed this morning, organised my flights roughly 4 weeks ago and applied for my visa weeks ago – and I have known about my exchange for months. But despite having majority of it organised now, I still feel like I don’t meet the definition of prepared.

So as I stumble my way through the strategic marketing course in the Netherlands using the PBL learning system, I hope you guys can learn and laugh with me. The first joke is on me – I have roughly 29 hours of travel to get there thanks to my late run. Please feel free to comment and make suggestions for what I should do on my travels.

Lesson one: If you’re going international, be prepared as early as possible!