Nicholas Kezimana

Date: SP5, 2013
Degree Program: Bachelor of Business (Property) 
Host University: Arhhem Business School
Host Country: The Netherlands

Why did you choose your host university?

The Netherlands always appealed to me, Arnhem was the only business school available and I was just excited to have the opportunity to study in The Netherlands. Arnhem was also one hour from Amsterdam by train which made it more desirable.

Nicholas KezimanaWhat was the university like?

The classes were a little bigger than what I was use to but most of the teachers were friendly, helpful and accepted drafts which was a pleasant surprise. My classes consisted of only exchange students which was surprising since I was looking forward to studying with locals. I took Business Ethics, Project Dutch Economy, and Event management. The highlight was event management since we were able to raise 600 euros for children with cleft lips in China for a charity called Care4Tina. I was in a group with 8 people from 6 different nationalities which made things very interesting. As well as studying a practical topic for the first time, I had the opportunity to make a difference. I also enjoyed Project Dutch Economy, since I am interested in Economics and I was able to gain valuable information about the European and Dutch economy. Marking criteria for Oral presentation was tougher than the South Australian system therefore I would advise anyone going to The Netherlands to thoroughly prepare for oral presentations. Orientation week was great since we were assigned buddies to show us around.

What did you gain from your exchange experience and has it changed the way you think or altered your approach to life?

This was a life changing opportunity.  It has definitely changed my approach to life and has given me a deeper appreciation of different cultures and has allowed me to see the beauty and benefits of associating with people from all over the world. As well as now being able to travel to many different countries around the world and having friends who live there. 

What accommodation options were available to you?  How affordable was accommodation and would you recommend the same option to others?

The accommodation available was student hostel-type accommodation called ‘De Honigkamp’ and ‘The Tower’.  The Tower was slightly more expensive, gave you more privacy but didn’t offer internet connection. De Honigkamp housed over 110 exchange students and offered internet connection, thus was a better option if you wish to be in a more social environment. De Honigkamp didn’t give you much privacy, bathrooms and kitchens were shared but this was great since you could live and cook with people from different nationalities and explore different types of food. There was a great balance in ‘De Honigkamp’ and although it had a reputation for hosting great social events, when it was exam time people were able to stop partying and concentrate on their school work. 

Describe your travel experiences; did you travel locally or to neighbouring countries? 

I was able to travel, locally to many different cities. It's easy to get around to different cities using the train in the Netherlands. During my autumn break I was able to visit Warsaw, Prague and Budapest and this was affordable using the budget airline Ryan Air. Over the weekends, since I had Mondays off, I was able to go to Dublin, Amsterdam and Munich for ‘Oktoberfest’ as well as going to Manchester for Christmas. 

Nicholas Kezimana 1Describe how you adjusted to life in a different country and how you met new people.

Adjusting to life in The Netherlands wasn’t very difficult, it's a bilingual country and most people speak English. It was easy to meet exchange students in De Honigkamp.  Having said this, meeting locals was challenging at the beginning. In order to meet locals, you have to attend social events run by the University or if you are adventurous, attend underground parties which will almost guarantee that you will meet some friendly locals. 

Can you see any benefits from this exchange to your future career?

I was only able to complete electives as Arnhem Business School didn’t offer any Property topics. I was able to work with people from different nationalities, thus if I plan to work overseas, the transition will be easier since I have gained experience  working with people from different backgrounds. In addition, I am better able to respond to unpredictable situations and have greater self confidence. 

What advice would you give to a student who was hesitant or considering joining the exchange program?

The paper work is extensive but you have a great support network from UniSA Study Overseas team that helps you throughout this stressful procedure. Furthermore, it’s a great opportunity to travel without having to take a gap year, and will most likely be the best experience you will have studying at university.

Top Tips:
Be open minded and optimistic, say 'yes' to everything.  Try not to stress while you're overseas and try to travel as much as you can even if you have a busy schedule.

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