Your new student life: tips for first year students

"Buy a raincoat. Whoever said it rains a lot in the United Kingdom has never been to the Netherlands!"

Taking a new step in life as a first year student can be very challenging. Moving away from home, a new environment, adapting to living on yourself, it can be overwhelming. Therefore, I’ve decided to write down a couple of tips for you in order to make this first step a bit easier! My name is Anastasiia Korotina and I am currently a fourth year student at Hotel School Maastricht. So here you go, advice from someone who has been dealing with student life for almost four years now!

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What do I take with me?

This question arises even before actually moving to your new campus room. I can imagine how stressful it can be to pack your suitcase, so my advice is to pack only the necessities: don’t bring too many clothes. There is a very high chance of you going shopping in the first couple of months and buying new stuff. Thus, you just need a suitcase or two, which should be enough for a while. It’s also a good idea to take a couple of pictures of your friends and family, or your favourite little elements of décor, like candles, so your room feels much cosier! Other than the absolute necessities you use every day, you don’t need anything else. While you have your own room on campus you can decorate as you please, it is smart to pack wisely because you don't want a overcrowded room filled up with stuff and having no more space to move around. 

“I miss you!”

The first and, most likely, the most difficult test will be saying goodbye to your parents. Yes, when you still live with your mom and dad, their care and attention are often taken for granted. However, when you have moved out, you might  suddenly realize that you madly long for and miss your parents, need advice on everyday things and just feel nostalgic. In this case, it is great to remember that your parents will always be happy if you call and tell them about, let’s say, your first day of practicals! 

Knock, knock

The next very important step of a first year student is settling into a new place: our beloved campus. Campus life is one of the most remarkable times in a student’s life at Hotel School, anyone would tell you that. Your campus room becomes your home for the first year of your studies, which gives you a brilliant opportunity to meet  lots of people, make life-time friends, and party like crazy. Don’t stay in your campus room too much, no matter how cosy it might be ‘cause of all the décor you brought, and don’t forget that you will be building your social life foundation starting with the very first day of your move. 

“So.., you are telling me I need to do groceries for the food to appear in the fridge?”

Having moved from their parents, many students also face difficulties with budgeting. After all, at home, parents paid utility bills and bought food, which seemed like appeared in the fridge itself and was never ending. Let’s be honest, somehow students tend to spend quite a bit of money when going out or spending time in the city, no matter how much they get from their parents or earn at their job. Therefore, make sure you take care of your budget, because you will have a lot of expenses. It is a smart idea to try and write down your weekly or monthly costs and keep an overview of your budget!

Some tips for international students

If you are an international student coming from abroad to live here, here are some additional tips for you. Make sure you have a health insurance that is accepted locally. It is also wise to get a Dutch bank account. Check out the website MyMaastricht.nl, this website provides you with lots of tips on how to settle in when moving from another country to the Netherlands. They provide information on the Dutch insurance systems, help you with instructions on how to get a back account, and share a lot of other useful tips about things you need to arrange when living in the Netherlands. 

Get a bike. Maastricht is a small city and especially in the city centre, a bike is very useful.  You can buy a bike, new or second hand. Or check out a company called SwapFiets, where you can take a ‘subscription’ on a bike. If you want to travel in the city and the rest of the country by public transport, make sure to get a OV-chip card. Another helpful app for public transport is 9292 to check all the travel routes of busses and trains. 

Another great app is 'Thuisbezorgd', it is a food delivery app and your best friend app when you are hungry!

Last but not least: Buy a raincoat. Whoever said it rains a lot in the United Kingdom has never been to the Netherlands!

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