Hello from Tilburg!
Hoi Hoi! My name is Jay and I will be beginning the last half of my junior year studying at Tilburg University in the Netherlands. I’m majoring in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing and minoring in Women’s and Gender studies. At Tilburg, I’ll mostly be taking business courses and additional breadth electives to go towards my major. It’s been so amazing living in a different country and having an extended amount of time not only to explore the host country, but the surrounding countries as well. The Netherlands is in a convenient location for traveling and many places can be reached within a few hours by train.
I’ve been in Tilburg for about a week and a half now and our TOP Orientation week (similar to NC State’s Winter Welcome Week) just ended. It’s been filled with incredible experiences and meeting people from all over the world. One of the most unforgettable experiences was this event called a cantus, where you basically just drink beer and sing along to live music. It was a great way to start the semester and I’m looking forward to see what new adventures await. Thanks for reading ☺
A Week in Dublin!
This past week, February 21st - 24th, a group of friends and I went on an excursion to Dublin, Ireland. Dublin is a wonderful place, full of live music, beautiful architecture, and restaurants lined up on every street. On the first full day, we did a walking city tour to learn more about the history of Dublin. We walked through the iconic streets of Temple Bar, briefly visited Trinity College, and learned about archaeology at the National Museum of Ireland - Archaeology.
The second day of the trip was my favorite - we took a tour bus about 2 hours west out of the city to Galway, and got the chance to experience the beauty of Ireland’s countryside. The Cliffs of Moher were absolutely breathtaking. It was a much needed change from the city scene to explore the country’s natural surroundings. Words cannot describe how incredible it felt to be on top of the Cliffs, overlooking the ocean and massive landscape. The Cliffs of Moher are quite a dangerous tourist site, since some of the edges are unstable and could break off at any moment. Nevertheless, we were cautious (for the most part) and got as close to the brink as we could. In one of the photos, you can see our stance as we look out at our impending doom.
The next stop on the tour was The Burren rocks, one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. We were able to walk on top of the limestone and view the ocean on a closer level than the Cliffs. A bit less exciting after coming from the Cliffs, but we still had a fun photo-op.
One last thing, on the way to Galway, we stopped in Moneygall at a place called the Barack Obama Plaza. Apparently, President Obama has a family lineage that traces back to Moneygall and this small village has completely exploited this fact. There was a bronze statue of Barack and Michelle waving at a field of nothing, and cardboard cutouts in the rest stop. It was a hilarious thing to witness because Moneygall has used the Obama’s as their sole tourist attraction. I hope you enjoy this photo we took with Barack and Michelle as much as we enjoyed meeting them.
It’s unbelievable how fast time has passed in the last couple of months. It feels like just yesterday that I arrived in Tilburg. I’d like to take this moment to reflect on the people I’ve met along my study abroad journey and of all the wonderful memories and experiences we’ve created together.
In my first blog post, I talked about how excited I was to travel and meet people from all over the world. I am happy to say that I have become friends with unique and diverse people ranging from Australia, South America, Turkey, Estonia, Canada, Hungary, and so many more. We’ve
traveled all over Europe, from Poland to France, and from Ireland to Iceland. These people have truly made my exchange memorable and a fulfilling learning experience.
It’s bittersweet to know that within a few months, we will all be going back to our normal lives.I’m going to miss all the traveling, the conversations, and the events we’ve been to. While I know that we won’t be as close to contact as we were while in Tilburg, these are the moments we will remember for a lifetime. We will forever be connected by our abroad journey, regardless if we’re on opposite sides of the planet.
My word of advice for students who wish to study abroad: don’t be afraid to venture out of your comfort zone; in fact, make it a goal to do so. I cannot recount the amount of times I’ve pushed myself to attend events or socialize with people when I didn’t have the energy or because I was alone. It’s also important to expand outside of your social circle. I was the only student from NC State to come to Tilburg University, so it really pushed me to make new friends, as opposed to sticking with familiar people. In the end, I’m extremely grateful for the experiences I’ve created and would hope everyone plans to study abroad. Cheers x