Anna C. Pellegrino, Italy
My name is Anna Pellegrino, I’m a (almost) 21 years old Italian girl and I just finished my first year of International Business Administration at the University of Twente. This first year at the University of Twente has been life changing. I met people from all over the world, with my same expectations and ambitions. I have worked in groups with my fellow students and I have learned how to always challenge myself.
Why did you choose to study IBA at the University of Twente?
I chose to study IBA at the University of Twente after my one year experience in the USA as an au pair, where I also took marketing classes at Georgetown University in Washington DC. After one year abroad I fell in love with the idea of living in another country and getting to know a new culture, so I decided not to go back to Italy for university, but to try to discover a new country instead. The University of Twente had everything I was looking for: a project-based IBA program entirely taught in English, an international perspective and a big and green campus (the only one in the Netherlands). My decision to study IBA was based on a previous business administration education in high school and the marketing classes that I followed in America. It was not an easy decision, and it is definitely not easy to study in another country. Nevertheless, it has been a decision that has already given me great satisfaction.
How did you prepare for your stay?
The first step that I took as soon as I received my admission letter and all the paperwork was done was to find an accommodation. The UT has an agreement with Acasa, an housing association based on campus. I applied for a room through the university, but decided to look at rooms on my own as well. I looked into various Facebook pages where there were plenty of offers from other students, and there I found the perfect room for me: an apartment in the Twekkelerveld area (right between the campus and the city center) shared with other international students (Turkish and German). After that, it was time to pack my suitcases. I did some research on the weather in the Netherlands and especially in Enschede and I found out that what I mainly had to pack was warm sweaters and heavy rain jackets.
How were your first weeks?
I arrived in Enschede on the 20th of August 2014, so my first week here was during the Kick-In. I had a great first impression of the University, because the Kick-In was a perfect first week. I got to meet so many new friends, I got to know the city and the campus and all of the sports, activities, culture clubs and associations of the UT. Moreover, with the Formality Market, the university helped all of the international students with the paperwork and bureaucracy: for example, they helped me register in the city hall and open a bank account. After the Kick-In the academic year started, and with that the lectures and tutorials. The first module, TOP (Technology, Organization and People) was a good way to start the study, because it gave you an overview of how companies work and I learned things that I needed later in the study. The teachers in the first module are all very understanding and helpful: they know that we don’t really know much of the study or how the university works, so they always try to help out. In addition to this, what I really liked about the first module was that we were assigned to groups and every group was made of people of different nationalities, genders and ages, so on one hand, we had the chance to work with people from different cultures, on the other hand, we got to meet new people and make new friends.
I really enjoyed my first few weeks in Enschede and at the UT, I met so many friends from all over the world and learned new things about the Dutch culture and the Netherlands.
Do you have tips for other international students?
- Bring warm clothes and coats – as I mentioned before, in the Netherlands the weather is pretty cold: when I first arrived I realized that I had no idea what the word “cold” meant.
- Don’t forget your umbrella – another important feature of the Dutch weather is that it always rains, sometimes even just out of the blue, so it’s good to have always an umbrella with you, just to be safe.
- Find a place to live in before moving to Enschede – for your own good and safety and in order for you to completely enjoy the kick-in and not to stress out during the first few weeks, it’s better to find accommodation before moving here.
- Brush up your English – unless you speak Dutch, and even if your classes are not in English, English is going to save you, every time. Almost everyone in the Netherlands can speak English, which is your only way of communication. You want to be sure that your English is good enough in order for people to understand you.
- Join the Kick-In – as I mentioned before, the kick-in creates great friendships and memories, so I would suggest everyone to join!
- Get a (second-hand) bike – you should know that in the Netherlands everyone bikes everywhere. Moreover, it’s a cheap and convenient way to move around, especially for students.
- Remember to register at the city hall – during the kick-in market the university helps out with the paperwork, but if you are not able to join it, you should be sure that this has been taken care of.
- Don’t forget the doctor! – the law states that for a longer period is mandatory to register to a doctor in the Netherlands.
- Open a bank account – a Dutch bank account is always useful, even if you already have a bank account in your country.
- Get a Dutch number – in order for people to contact you at a not-so-expensive rate, you need to have a Dutch phone number.
Also preparing for your stay? The International student website may be helpful for you.