Experience at Tilburg University :
For those people interested in attending Tilburg University, I highly recommend that you do. The University is fully equipped for international students. It has a wonderful program that will assist you with academic as well as social/person matters. This program will not only help you to get situated in Tilburg in the beginning of your exchange but it will also help you throughout your exchange. Further, it has an amazing social calendar. The University and the I*ESN (the international student association) put a lot of effort into their exchange program and what I have gathered from other exchange students at other universities is that it is not always the case.
Academically Tilburg University is known for its economic and management department as well as its law department. These departments are considered challenging. I, being an industrial psychology student, took subjects in social and behavioural sciences department and compared to Stellenbosch University these subjects were easier and the workload was less. You do however learn a variety of things they do not teach at Stellenbosch and approach assignments differently from what you are used to. It is also similar in that most of your classes are not mandatory but that there are tutorials that you do have to attend. These tutorials were different from what I am use to but it was manageable. Tilburg also uses a variety of means to test your knowledge similar to Stellenbosch, such as tests on computers, workshops, presentations, and usual assignments, reflection reports and so on. Honestly, I was worried about the standards of Tilburg and if I would be able to manage academically but now I know I should not have worried and I believe that it will be the same for you.
I have to say I really did not want to leave Tilburg or Europe. I was enjoying myself so much and made a lot of new friends who I did not want to say goodbye to, but as they say all good things must come to an end. It was difficult and sad; tears were shed and promises were made to see each other again. And hopefully these promises will be kept. I think what helped a lot with returning to reality was that I travelled for two months after my exchange and after the constant traveling I was ready to come home, see my loved ones and start working on my thesis. Traveling is tiring. Of course it is amazing, but so tiring. It felt like I could sleep for a week and I actually did. My first week back I did absolutely nothing and it was wonderful. However, getting back into it is difficult. I’m struggling to be productive, but I know I just have to force myself and start somewhere, anywhere… progress will follow.
Thinking about my exchange I believe that if I could I would have extended my exchange, but unfortunately I have responsibilities at home that need attention. I will, however, definitely do something like this again if the opportunity presents itself. I am even thinking of working overseas for a few years, which I have never done before. This is what I especially liked about the exchange experience, for the first time I am thinking about things I have never thought about and if I’m honest for the first time it feels like all possibilities are open to me. Also, I feel more open to experiences and have developed a wanderlust that drives me to experience more, to try new things. I am even more interested in South Africa and Africa. I want to know about our history, what is going on now and where we fit in the world.
All in all this experience was amazing. I am a better person because of it and would not change anything about it. It has given me memories that I will cherish forever.