Exchange studies in Rotterdam

06/11/2013

In few months, the application period for Student Exchange Program is going to open in our school. Approximately 300 students study a semester abroad each year. If you are either considering whether to apply or have already decided to do so but are still puzzled with the multitude of the possible locations, this blog post helps you to get started in the process early on. Here is a quick overview on Rotterdam School of Management (RSM), where I spent the last spring.

RSM is one of the top tier undergraduate exchange universities that our school offers in Europe. Having Triple Crown accreditation and being consistently ranked top 10 business schools in Europe by Financial Times, RSM offers high quality education right in the middle of the Europe. Compared to our school, RSM has more practical teaching approach. The target of the education is geared much more towards giving the students an MBA-style toolkit of wide range of skills needed in business. If you want use your minor studies to widen your set of business skills and get a broad knowledge on different disciplines, RSM is a strong choice.

Compared to our school, my experience is that the studying in RSM is much more independent and the grading is mostly based on the final exams. In RSM, I encountered much fewer group assignments than here in Finland. Note that my experience is limited to bachelors’ level program and some of these facts may not apply to the masters’ level, as teaching methods there seemed to be much more interactive with group assignments, workshops and presentations for company representatives.  The school has excellent connections to Dutch business life. As a large amount of multinational corporations headquarters in the Netherlands (for example, Shell, Unilever, Heineken, Philips, ING, ABN-AMRO, Aegon and KLM), securing an internship position for the summer in Amsterdam is a real possibility.

As in majority of other universities, student associations organize a large number of social events in Rotterdam (most of the activities take place in local nightclubs as the association does not have a place similar to KY Building). The student clubs also organize a number of trips around the Netherlands and Central Europe for exchange students. For example, a skiing trip to French Alps during the spring break offers real value for money. Every spring, the student association also organizes an excursion trip to Far East at a very affordable price.

In addition to trips organized by student clubs, Rotterdam offers excellent possibilities for independent traveling. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is only twenty minutes away and it offers a wide variety of destinations for weekend trips. Since exchange students in Rotterdam don’t often have very strict time constraints, you have a good chance to find cheap flights to interesting places (what a great synergy!). Traveling by train is another option, since most of the Dutch cities are less than two hours away. A ship can take you from Rotterdam to England very conveniently: Leave home in the evening, dock in Harwich early in the morning and arrive in London at 9 AM. For budget traveling, long distance bus trips are cheap but take a bit longer (for example, you can get a bus ticket to Paris for 20€).

To sum up, Rotterdam is a good destination for exchange if you want to learn a wide range of important tools needed in practical corporate environment and/or do some serious traveling in Europe. The only two big minuses I can think of are the weather (as one of my friends said, the Netherlands is the only place where she had experienced all the four seasons during one day!) and the cuisine (the Dutch eat horrendously lot of fries, filled baguettes and microwave meals). If you want a truly global exchange experience, RSM is a great place since the incoming exchange students are coming from all across the globe.

Tuomas Tomunen

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