Alexandra has spend six months as an exchange student at Tio. She has not only gained unforgettable experience, but has also found love while over here. Here’s her story.
“My name is Alexandra Constantinescu, I was born and raised in Brasov, Romania - also known as The city of Dracula. Ever since I was little I was attracted to learning foreign languages, geography and humanistic subjects. I decided to follow a tourism management undergraduate degree at Robert Gordon University (RGU) in Aberdeen, Scotland. The fact that RGU would give me the opportunity to undertake an Erasmus exchange program and a one year placement made it a lot more interesting for my 'traveller' personality.”
Study in Holland
“When I was faced with the list of countries that I could choose for my Erasmus exchange, I was actually amazed to see that there weren't that many choices for people who were pursuing a tourism degree. The only interesting choice I was left with was The Netherlands. I must say there weren't many things I knew about Holland - except the obvious tulips, windmills, Red Light District and Heineken.”
Integrate into Tio’s atmosphere
“My university didn't have much information to give me as it was the first time they were sending students to Tio. I wasn't expecting much before my arrival and that's why my expectations were soon surpassed. I got to meet new people and integrate into Tio's atmosphere. Such nice colleagues and amazing teachers! What surprised me most about Tio's teachers was that each of them had a story to tell. As most of them had previously worked in the industry, they could provide real, authentic stories that counted as great examples and made the subjects a lot easier to understand and prepare for.”
“Of course there are lots of differences between my home country and The Netherlands: from food, language, traditions and people's physical appearance to buildings architecture and the weather. Everything was different, however I didn't see it as a challenge but as an opportunity to learn more about another culture. And I believe I learned a lot as I met Dirk - my boyfriend – in Holland. We're still together, soon to be dating for nine months. Going back to Scotland in January was hard and painful, both because of having to leave Dirk here and because I was enjoying studying at Tio very, very much. All modules were tailored to tourism and management and students could combine it with languages - my passions, so I undertook Dutch, Spanish and German. And loved it!
“I hope what I studied here will help me in the future. Surely it will count for something if I want to return to the Netherlands for a postgraduate study or a job in the tourism industry. I hope everyone who has the opportunity to study at Tio at any point of their degree will take on this chance as it's a great experience! I'm sure I will take it with me no matter where the future may bring me. At present, I return to The Netherlands as often as I can - just now I am in Utrecht and I'm very happy to be here!
Follow Alexandra on LinkedIn.