Hello, and welcome to BAISmag’s The Student Diaries, a comprehensive-ish guide to moving to The Netherlands as an international student! Our eighth article is dedicated to General tips that might be useful for newcomer students provided by some experienced students.
Overall, moving to another country and beginning a new life there can be both stressful and overwhelming, so we have gathered a couple of general tips from students who have already been living in the city for one or more years and have some experience with life in The Hague. Despite students coming from different backgrounds and having different stories, there are similar situations and moments that they faced and that you will face at one point or another during the university experiences. Therefore, these tips could come handy at any given moment of your new life.
- Explore the city
The Hague is a diverse and beautiful city and has many things to offer, so take time to explore its parks, the beach, cute streets, nice coffee places, its monuments and more. Find places or things that make you feel at home or that you can escape to when you feel stressed or need to get away from everything for a bit. Whilst doing this, you will find new charms within the city and will slowly begin feeling more at home or at least more comfortable.
- Get a bike!
Public transport in The Hague for students over time is pretty expensive, but thanks to the design of the cities here in the Netherlands, there are bike lanes virtually everywhere. Getting around with just a bike is very easy and efficient. You can either rent a bike with Swapfiets or you can look for bikes to buy on the Facebook Marketplaces or Whatsapp groups, where people sell them for cheap prices.
- Weather apps
When living in The Hague, weather apps such as ‘Buienradar’ are your best friends. The weather most of the time is either rainy, windy or both at the same time (there are some sunny days during the year tho) and so knowing what the weather will be like before leaving your apartment might be the right move. Sometimes you will need to change your clothes or grab another jacket, gloves, raincoat or even leave your bike and grab the tram. It is good to know because despite the usual weather of this city characterized by rain, cloudiness and wind, it can change for the better or the worse and it is good to be prepared.
- Find the cheap places
As students, our budget can be a bit limited, and for some students, groceries here are more expensive than the ones in their home countries. It is important to look for stores which aren’t very pricey, as it is any easy way to really help your bank accounts. There are places such as Haagse Markt or Aldi where you can get some food for good prices and they have many sales.
- Tips for Housing in The Hague
Finding housing is a very difficult process for many students due to the housing crisis in The Netherlands. For first year students, you have the possibility of choosing student housing offered by the university or might decide to live elsewhere but as a tip for the future, check for housing as soon and early as possible. This is also specially for first year students living in the offered student housing where the contracts are usually for one year. So, make sure you check the housing possibilities and offers on time and as early as you can. Try Facebook groups, Whatsapp groups, different websites and any other type of advertisement for rooms. As a last tip, be careful with scammers on all platforms and don’t pay anyone or sign anything before checking the house before-hand and making sure everything is legit.
- Ask for help!
Don’t be scared to ask for help. Most people at uni have gone or are going through the same things and perhaps struggling with some of the same issues as you so it will make you feel less alone to know that you’re not alone. Seek help from your friends, classmates, tutors and/or professors who know how stressful the first year can be.
- Don’t stress too much
Make sure you stay calm and don’t stress too much as it can be very intense to immediately move to a new country and adjust to a new culture, a new routine, a new city and everything else, even if you might think the change is not so big. Things always end up working out and you will surround yourself with people who will help you along the way.
- Enjoyyy 🙂
It’s a whole new life so give yourself time to make new friends, build your life and do what you enjoy doing. Meet people, explore a bit, get to know the city and perhaps even yourself. Try new foods, find some ‘you time’ if you like, read a nice book at one of the parks and much much more. Don’t solely focus on studying and working, but also seek starting a life outside of university as well and make awesome memories.
With these general tips, your new life at The Hague will begin to feel more secure and organized. Now that you have the foundational elements to starting anew, look at our next article on how to find happiness and live your best life.
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