Dominic – Delft University of Technology – The Netherlands
Semester 1, 2023
Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) / Bachelor of Mathematics
Applying and preparing for exchange was a journey in and of itself. I had always been curious about study abroad after hearing various stories about fantastic experiences, some I even retold to prospective students as a student ambassador. After attending the Exchange 101 session I had almost committed myself to the process, convinced by the promises of travel, growth, and an unforgettable experience. How right these promises were. Talking to my friends and family was really what made me commit. Drawing up some dreamy, unrealistic expectations and hopes really was an exercise for building a more realistic understanding of what it was that I wanted out of exchange. Taking the time to really understand which universities and countries could serve me best (but were also available to me as a complicated double degree student) was an important step but was a true test of resilience. The time between beginning my application and finalising my study plan was much longer than I had hoped or expected. The near-three months of research, while necessary and worthwhile, was not the end of woes for my study planning. You must be prepared for the likelihood that exchange will muck up your study plan, possibly for the rest of your degree. Flexibility is the first and most important virtue of exchange, and if you can’t be flexible with your study plan then exchange will be a difficult experience.
My enjoyable life at TU Delft
Adaptation, shaking and reforming expectations of myself and my experience, and putting myself out there really formed the basis of my experience at TU Delft. It can be one of the hardest things to do on exchange, but putting yourself out there is the most important part and will define your exchange experience. Staying in student accommodation was one of the best choices I could have made while on exchange. Having social events organised, meeting other exchange students, TU students, and even professionals opened a whole new avenue of opportunities to explore – despite the much more alarming cost. The best thing I did to make up for this cost was buying a Eurail pass. Paying for as much as I could in advance, including trains and transport for mainland Europe meant that I could have a much more clear understanding of what I had to spend while studying or on holiday. Trains in Europe can be ludicrously expensive, and having the Eurail pass meant that I had no guilt for wanting to travel when it could have cost hundreds of dollars to take a four-hour train one way.
Take your time with your application. This is a six month dedication that can have implications for the rest of your degree. Save as much as you can. Money can get tight while you’re there but having constant guilt on your spending can ruin a trip quite quickly. Lastly, take as many opportunities as you can. This is a chance to be someone entirely different. Nobody knows you there and it can be a chance to rewrite who you are.
Find out how you can apply for exchange via the QUT Student Exchange website.