EXCHANGE – NOTTINGHAM 2016
By Tjimka Hofstee
Well, well, it seems you’re interested in going on exchange in Nottingham! But first, let me explain what that is like.
My decision to go to Nottingham was based mainly on its geographical location and the information on the Wikipedia page. Although that cannot be considered a well-founded choice, it turned out to be a good one. At a mere two hours north of London, Nottingham is the perfect location from which to discover the rest of the UK. During my stay, I’ve visited among others Manchester, London, Dublin, Glasgow, and Edinburgh. Luckily for me, the second semester included a break of one month, so there was plenty of time to travel.
While studying there, I discovered that Nottingham is in the top 5 of UK’s best student cities, and I found out why. As students who are used to the vibrant city of Groningen, you will appreciate a place that offers plenty of activities. Nottingham has plenty of museums, restaurants, bars, several cinemas, a mini-golf course, an ice-skating centre, multiple shopping malls, plenty of clubs, as well as nice parks to relax in. Basically, it has everything you need.
For those who may be worried that it will be difficult to make contact with other students: Stop worrying! There are a lot of international students in Nottingham and they are all trying to make friends, so you are never on your own. Besides this, there are a lot of associations that are very welcoming to new additions. Also, be sure to take the heft into your own hands to make friends. Everyone is nervous on the first day, so it helps to make plans together straight away and add them on Facebook.
I realize that I paint a very rose picture of exchange, but I’m willing to admit that I am extremely biased at this point in time. Therefore, I would like to balance it out by giving some of the negative points of my exchange period. Several less than obvious cultural differences made adjusting to British life very hard. First of all, the university uses letters to signify different floors, so instead of saying you’re on the second floor, you’ll end up saying you’re on B… Secondly, an interesting difference between the Netherlands and the UK is the fact that TV commercials in the UK are extremely weird… I mean, seriously, Skittles, what the hell is this shit?! Another “negative” point of my exchange was the fact that I came here to improve my British accent, but ended up with something completely different. The friends I have made come from all over the world, but I do not have that much contact with British people. This has resulted in some strange combination of a Nottinghamshire-Dutch accent, mingled with Canadian, Australian, and possibly Finnish slang.
Although the exchange also includes a lot of studying (please don’t underestimate this portion, since your modules abroad may be more difficult than you are used to), I’ve found that the most important part is the intercultural contact. Meeting people from all over the world has taught me a lot about other cultures and making friends is always incredible. I would recommend an exchange period to everyone who is lucky enough to get this opportunity!
Should you have any more questions about exchange in general or Nottingham specifically, don’t hesitate to find me on Facebook and ask me!
A few useful things if you are planning to study in Nottingham:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nottingham Visit this page if you want to look up some more general information on the city itself.
http://www.su.nottingham.ac.uk/ Page of the University of Nottingham’s Student’s Union, to find out which associations you can join and what events are going on.
TIP: Find the ‘Nottingham Erasmus + Internationals’ Group of your year on Facebook. People use it to get in contact, post events, or sell items.