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A typical Dutch day for Tio exchange students

In the train on their way to the Zaanse Schans, teacher Connie hands over a bag full of sweets and cookies to Norwegian Tio student Andreas. Thirty Tio exchange students from Amsterdam and Utrecht are on an excursion to a typical Dutch neighborhood with windmills and 'Zaanse' houses. 

An enthusiastic Andreas is handing out the typical Dutch sweets to his fellow students from all over the world. He shares his experiences at Tio: “It’s a lot of work for everyone. It’s tough sometimes but that’s why we come here. Tio has the best studies.” And: “Please quote me on this: Connie is a very good teacher!”

From under the Tio umbrella  

Since it’s raining today, a lot of students wisely carry an umbrella. Jieun Song from Korea for example, she even has one with the Tio logo on it! On the walk between the windmills she says: “It’s really nice in Holland, except the weather…” What did appeal to her was the website of Tio. “It’s well written, in correct English, so it was easy to get information about the school.” Another plus: “I can learn both English and Dutch!” 

Say cheese!

The students are making group pictures at the Zaanse Schans and pointing out the sights. They are tourists for a day, but usually they are hardworking students: “It’s more work than back home”, Rut from Spain tells, “but we learn more as well!”  

Then the students stroll into the cheese tasting. After a short introduction they go into the shop where all kinds of cheeses can be tasted. Diana - all the way from Mexico - is off for a second round of cheese tasting. She’s the only student from Mexico but luckily Duwo brought her in contact with a buddy, also from Mexico. “It’s really nice to have someone to talk to. And I live with other Tio students and that’s very nice. We have movie nights, go out together and we’re even planning a barbecue.”

Dutch languages

All exchange students attend the course Dutch Language and Culture. Might sound difficult, but it’s Diana’s favorite: “The teacher, Annemieke, is like a mom to me. It’s very relaxing.” Diana also likes the fact that classes at Tio are relatively small: “Our lessons in Mexico are in much bigger groups.” 

Perks of studying at Tio

David Nelson from Chicago is used to having classes in small groups. Back home he studies at a small, private university. “The assignments are very different at Tio”, David says. “Tio is much more practical than my university in the States. And we have small intermissions during class so we can go outside for a little break.” Another perk of studying at Tio: “On Friday, after our last class, we often go for a beer together.”

Outgoing people

David did come to the Netherlands in the first place because of the Dutch culture, the laws and regulations, and because he was interested in the city Amsterdam. Furthermore, he heard that the Dutch people would be nice and outgoing. And, are they? “We mostly hang out with other exchange students but often Dutch guys come to ask if we want to play foosball in the canteen. Probably because they beat us every time”, David confesses. Just like most students from abroad, he stays here for just one semester: “I wish it was longer though.” 

Read more about: exchange, tourism