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5 Tips on how to navigate your first year at university

Are you a first year student who is struggling to adapt to the new way of life? Well, welcome to the club of the freshers, where thousands of other (international) students still do not have any clue what is going on. It is true that this moment can be quite stressful, especially if you are away from home and everything is unfamiliar to you. But do not worry, almost everyone has been in your position. This article will provide some advice on how to get through the first year of your study without (almost) any worries.


Tip 1: Find a buddy

Are you wondering how to make the most of your first year at a university? Begin by connecting with classmates who share your interests and passions. These like-minded individuals could become your lifelong companions, providing invaluable support during both tough times and exciting social outings.

Tip 2: Connect with a Fellow Countryman

As an international student, bonding with fellow nationals can be useful. They can offer invaluable guidance as you navigate your way. These connections can also provide a comforting bridge to home and help you overcome the feelings of homesickness. So look out for familiar accents and dialects!

Tip 3: Dive into Local Culture

Ready to explore the vibrant cultural scene of your new city? Check out TripAdvisor for the best spots and upcoming events. From leisurely picnics to intimate bars with cozy atmospheres, and even adventurous night-time escapades, immersing yourself in the local culture will swiftly make you feel like an integral part of the lively community.

Tip 4: Be part of the university life

Embrace university life by joining clubs or associations aligned with your passions and connect with peers who share the same passion as you. You will see how fast these connections will enrich your personal and professional growth.

Tip 5: Balance Work and Play

Yes, it’s crucial to enjoy your social life, but remember the main goal: your studies. Take diligent notes, don’t hesitate to ask for help when needed, and keep yourself on track. Striking a perfect balance between your studies and social activities will set the tone for the years ahead.

This first year at university is an invaluable chapter. Take the leap beyond your comfort zone, seize the opportunities that come your way, and remember—the greatest achievements often arise from embracing challenges. 

Kalina Ivanova

Educational Consultant at The Discov

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With over 33,000 students in over 50 programs, among which 5 international bachelor’s programs and 2 international master’s, Avans University of Applied Sciences is one of the largest University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands. For 11 consecutive years, students have rated it as the best large University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands (Keuzegids HBO, 2023). Here is why you should consider studying at Avans:


#1. Small scale and personal approach

What makes Avans special is the small scale environment and personal guidance during your studies. You work in small groups on real-life projects. This unique combination creates a dynamic learning atmosphere, ensuring that you do not only gain knowledge but also develop professional skills that will benefit you throughout your academic journey and future career.

#2. International community 

Avans University has a vibrant multicultural student community. This is an amazing opportunity to connect with people from all over the world and to get to know other cultures while learning together. Studying at Avans will not only allow you to enhance your intercultural competence but also prepare you for the globalized professional field.

#3. City of Breda and ‘s-Hertogenbosch

Breda and ‘s-Hertogenbosch are the international campus cities of Avans. With a rich history and a vibrant atmosphere, these charming cities are located in the southern part of the Netherlands. As a student you will never feel bored; From museums to live events and concerts to plenty of restaurants, bars and nightclubs. The province is also home to Brainport, one of Europe’s leading technology hubs which provides excellent career opportunities after your graduation.

#4. Partner universities and internship opportunities

Do you want to do your exchange in the US? Or maybe you want to go to Brazil? How about Japan? At Avans you can choose from over 250 partner universities in more than 50 countries, offering you a wide range of exciting international opportunities to enhance your academic and personal experience. Next to that, there are also plenty of internship opportunities at international companies you can pursue during your studies.

Try our online matchmaker to find out how the university fits your preferences!

In the last few years the Netherlands has become a popular destination for students all over the world. With its globally recognized universities, innovative teaching methods, great professional perspectives as well as multicultural society, The Netherlands proves to be a great fit for students looking to have a great study experience abroad. Here are the top 5 reasons why you should consider studying in The Netherlands:

Study in Netherlands Master's

#1 World class education on affordable prices 

Dutch education is relatively affordable compared to the UK, US or Australia, while boasting some of the world’s most prestigious in the world, with 7 universities in the top 100 of The Times Higher Education Ranking. What also sets Dutch Higer Education apart from other popular study destinations are its innovative and beyond-the-classroom teaching methods. You don’t only build theoretical knowledge and analytical thinking, but you also develop hands-on experience to prepare you for the job market.

#2 English-taught programs 

One of the biggest advantages of Dutch higher education is the high number of English-taught programs across different study fields. Every year, over 75,000 students from around the world choose to study in the Netherlands, enrolling in a variety of English-taught degree programs. Of all countries where English is not the official language, The Netherlands offers the highest number of English-taught programs.

#3 Multilingual society

By choosing to study in the Netherlands, you will submerge in a diverse and rich society where English is widely spoken.  Your classroom will be filled with a lot of different nationalities. This is a great opportunity for you to get to know other cultures, while being able to network and create connections for future work collaborations. Discover the different university cities in our recent blog on Exploring The Vibrant University Cities of The Netherlands: A Guide for International Students

#4 Great prospects after graduation

Another perk of studying in the Netherlands is the many work opportunities available to international students – both during you studies and after graduation. The Netherlands is home to many international companies, research institutions, and startups which welcome people from different backgrounds looking to start their careers.

If you are from an EU/EEA country, you won’t even need a visa to work during or after your studies. As a non EU/EEA student, you you have the option to extend your stay through the Dutch orientation year, which gives you one year to seek employment or start your own businesses after you graduate.

#5 Unbeatable location and travel opportunities

The Netherlands is in the heart of Europe which makes it the perfect place for all travel enthusiasts. Its strategic location offers a gateway to some of the most iconic cities on the continent. Within just a few hours of travel, you can find yourself in London, Paris, Brussels or – why not – Berlin.

Do you think The Netherlands is the right study destination for you? We can help you find best match. Fill in your preferences via https://discov.ai/find-your-university/  and receive a free report with your top study options!

So, you have just arrived in the Netherlands? Welcome! In this article you get to know what kind of procedures you need to go through in order to set up your life here. In the end you will know how to register in the City Hall, how to open a bank account and other not that fun, but important things which you need to do ASAP as an international.



City Hall Registration

Upon arrival, your priority is City Hall registration. This crucial step solidifies your legal presence in the Netherlands. Schedule an appointment for your Citizen Personal Number (BSN) on your city’s official website under the Citizen Service Number section. Remember to bring your passport/ID, translated birth certificate, rental agreement, and proof of enrollment. Your BSN is your gateway to vital tasks like setting up a bank account, legal employment, and health insurance.

Setting up your bank account

With your BSN secured, you can now open a bank account. The Netherlands offers various options like ING, Rabobank, and ABN AMRO. Opt for a student card to enjoy fee-free transactions. Prepare the necessary documents: BSN, ID, rental agreement, and proof of enrollment. A well-managed account empowers you to handle finances effectively throughout your academic journey.

Caring for Your Well-being: Health Insurance Essentials

For your work or medical needs, a health insurance is essential. Many students choose the basic insurance for those aged 18 and above. Reputed providers like United Consumers and Zilveren Kruis offer a comprehensive coverage. Visit their websites for plan details that suit your needs.

Finding your home away from home

Finding accommodation can be daunting, but not impossible. Check your university’s accommodation page and explore platforms like Kamernet, Pararius, Housinganywhere, and TheSocialHub. Be cautious with Facebook groups due to potential scams. Never pay without a legitimate contract.

With these tasks in order, consider yourself an integrated citizen! Once you are done with the boring stuff, enjoy your time in the Netherlands 🙂

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