As some of you may already know I’m currently studying Fashion Management at RGU in Aberdeen, but was given the chance to study abroad in a number of places which I jumped at the chance to experience. So I am now living in Enschede in The Netherlands for just over 5 months while studying Textile Engineering Management at Saxion University of Applied Sciences.
So like most young people I can’t wait to move out and claim my own independence, but moving to another country was slightly more tricky than the usual inter-city move (while packing your whole life into one suitcase, yes one!). Like most mothers would, mine was wondering how on earth I would manage without her but the answer was always the same “I’ll be fine, I’m basically an adult.”
Well, I’m not and although nothing disastrous has happened (yet), I have definitely learnt a few lessons already concerning travel, despite only being here 3 full days.
1. Cheaper Is Not Always Better
These suitcases are cheap for a reason, they usually weigh an absolute ton and so eat into your baggage allowance and the zips are awful so will break with the slightest force or strain, which mine did, exploding all of my clothes onto the floor of my bedroom (thankfully not in the airport!). This is the case I ended up buying which seems to be really good quality for the low price tag and only weighs 2.1kg so leaves more room for shoes. So invest in a decent case, it doesn’t have to be pretty, just functional!
2. Bring Some Home Away
My apartment room is student accommodation so just provides the basic (bed, sink, wardrobe, desk), so can feel quite cold and prison-like with its stark white walls and dull scratchy carpet. I brought a few posters and some fairy lights from Flying Tiger Copehagen to jazz up my room a little and make it more homely. Primark is also right outside my house which is dangerous for my pocket but does make buying some bits and bobs for your room a little easier, like these cute candles which were only 1 euro each! These items are ‘luxuries’ I suppose, but definitely have made me feel more at home!
3. Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees
A friend who recently returned from study abroad told me to research average prices of items in The Netherlands like groceries, toiletries, clothing, etc. (but guess what? I forgot). After being in Amsterdam twice and recalling it being somewhat pricey I figured this was just because it was the capital city and that the smaller city of Eschede would be much cheaper. I was not completely wrong but Enschede is not as cheap as I’d imagined and so I will have to be a little more frugal with my pennies than I had first thought. So if you are going on holiday, or definitely if you are planning to live in a country for a number of months – do your research and jot down a rough budget sheet to control and track your spending! Even just looking at local supermarket websites of the country will give you a rough idea of the prices of different items!
Everybody makes mistakes, just don’t make the same mistakes I did.