Karol – ‘People think it’s expensive to live here, but you can eat and reside for a good price. You just have to look for it.’

Name: Karol Hudyka
Country: Poland
Study: International Business Administration (Bachelor)
Location: Tilburg University

How did you come across this study at this location?
“My primary goal was to find a study in Europe, given in English. So first, I looked at the ranking of European universities and Tilburg was in the top ten. I went to an open house day and that was positive. I liked the fact that it’s not a very big university, but it’s specialised in social sciences. If you’re looking for a speciality in technological studies, you can find those in Eindhoven. That’s a good system. Plus the Netherlands seemed like a sweet spot to me, because of the life quality and relative low living costs. “

How did you prepare for your international move to Brabant?
“I had to pass an English language test, so first I did that. Than I had to write a motivational letter and send my grade list and high school diploma. That was it. The educational process was really easy. But I didn’t prepare for living in a different country at all. I found a room in a building for international students via the university and than my parents drove me to Tilburg to get settled in. I had been to the Netherlands a few times before, so I knew the culture a bit. And I knew that there are lots of cheap flights from here to Poland, so I could go back home whenever I liked. That was an extra reason for me to choose this location.”

What are your plans after graduation? Will you stay in this area?
“I’ve almost achieved my Bachelor’s degree and I would like to continue my education, so I’m looking for a Master’s degree now. Maybe in Tilburg or in Rotterdam, it depends on the length of the Master. But I’m not sure yet, perhaps I want to look for an internship or a job instead. In that case, I think Brabant is a good place to be, because of the local supply chain. There are a lot of interesting companies here. And English is a common language in most work places.”

Which factor is leading in choosing your first job in the Netherlands?
“The use of the English language. But learning the Dutch language is also important for me. If you speak the local language, it improves your living situation and you become more part of the society. So a job where both languages are possible would be great. The university offers Dutch courses, but I didn’t find the time unfortunately.”

Would you like to keep on living in Brabant, regardless where you end up working?
“I lived in Tilburg for almost three years now and I would like stay here. It’s a small town, but there are many students. You can meet lots of young people in cafes, which the city has quite a lot of. So it’s easy to make new connections. It makes me feel at home here. I don’t think I would like a bigger city, I’m afraid I would lose myself.”

What advice would you give other international students who want to come here?
“Just do it! When you study abroad, you learn more about different cultures and become more open minded. Growing up, you think that your own environment is all there is. You don’t know there’s more to discover. Living and studying in another country enables you to do just that. And once you’ve made that decision, make sure you find a really good educational program, visit the location beforehand so you get a taste of it and always be curious towards your new surroundings.”

Any points of improvement?
“Better communication about public transportation. It’s such a difficult system and not very accessible. It’s also quite expensive. But I would like to emphasize that for the most parts, living in the Netherlands is not as expensive as many people abroad think. You can live and eat here for a good price. But you have to search for it.”

What is the most remarkable, typical Dutch phenomenon you experienced?
“Dutch people only eat bread with cheese and/or ham all day. Or snacks from the ‘frituur’ for lunch. Because it’s cheap and convenient? I’m still not sure about that.”

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