Some of our students came together to answer the frequently asked questions (FAQs) of international students. The international students who contributed include Duncan Garde (Irish/Zimbabwean), Nazrawit Gebeto (Ethiopian), Hamdi Ataol Oktem (Turkish), Adri Simamora (Indonesian) and Sandeep Wadhwa (Indian). Enjoy their insights!
Transportation to and from Nyenrode
Does it make sense for me to have a bike if I stay on-campus?
Adri: Yes, as the matter of fact, a bike will make your life easier when you wanted to travel outside campus to nearest train station (10 minutes ride), or the nearest town center (5 minutes). To that note, biking is always a healthier option than sitting in a bus anyways.
Adri: You can buy a bike in the nearest fietswinkel (bike shop) in Breuekelen, Utrecht or Amsterdam. Alternatively you can use public website such as http://fiets.startpagina.nl and other website. Ask around, you might found that people are more than happy to help.
Duncan: Breukelen town center is within walking distance. Carrying back groceries can be tiring, but it is possible.
Duncan: Yes you can, and there is ample parking. As public transport is (relatively) expensive in the Netherlands if you can bring one, do it.
Adri: Every 30 minutes you can easily find a bus from the castle bus stop. This bus stop linked you to nearest major city in Netherlands (Amsterdam and Utrecht). The frequency is reduced to every hour for the late night bus (after 8pm) or during the weekends or holidays.
Hamdi: The Breukelen train station is 1.5 km away from the campus. You can take a bus to go there (5 min.), you can bike there (10 min.) or you can walk there (25 min.). Breukelen Station is in the main train line between Amsterdam and Utrecht so from the Breukelen station you can reach all cities in Netherlands. It takes approximately 20 minutes to reach Amsterdam and 18 minutes to reach Utrecht by train.
Duncan: Yes, definitely. 9292.nl is a great resource for planning trips using public transport, it uses buses, trains, trams etc. to plan your journey. For example, to get to Amstelveen i cycled to the train station then caught a bus towards Amstelveen, the route I figured out using 9292.nl.
Duncan: You have a couple of options: The best is to buy an ov-chipkaart, which you can only get from large train stations such as Utrecht or Amsterdam, You pay Euro 7.50 to get an anonymous chipcard, which you can load money onto and use for busses, as well as trains. With trains you need to go to a trainstation with helpers and get your OV chipkaart activated for train usage, or it won't work. You also need a minimum of 20 Euro on your chipcard to use it on trains Another option is to get a personal OV chipcard. You can order this online from http://www.ov-chipkaart.nl The train tickets cost the same if bought at the station or on your OV chipcard, but the busses are generally cheaper if you use your OV chipcard rather than buying tickets on the bus. PLEASE NOTE: The Breukelen train station is small and therefore doesn't have people to talk to. If you do not have an chipcard or a bank card, you need to take correct change to pay for tickets because the machines do not give change. You can buy tickets every time for trains and busses at the station or on the bus, but the chipcard is cheaper on busses and easier to use overall.
Adri: You can easily find basic Asian culinary in nearest Albert Heijn, a supermarket a 5 minutes bike ride from Nyenrode. Otherwise you can find authentic Asian/African basic food ingredients in nearest Oriental shop in Utrecht and Amsterdam. A short 30 minutes bus or train ride from Nyenrode castle, a nice escape from the castle and to enjoy the big city.
Adri: Stroopwafel- a is a typical Dutch waffle made from two thin layers with syrup waffle melted in between. Eat it while it’s hot, you will certainly want more. Kibbeling- a typical utch fried fish served with sauce, it’s so fresh and tasty. Herring- a very Dutch way of easting sashimi, raw herring and fresh onion pickles eaten with a distinct way upside down. Beware though… this only for the brave.
Hamdi: There are supermarkets, electronic shops, bicycle shop, bank branches, lots of different types of restaurants, hairdresser, bars etc.
Duncan: In Breukelen you find the closest stores for everyday shopping. There is a supermarket, Albert Heijn, which caters for most grocery needs. A bit further along there is an Aldi which is a discount supermarket with less selection but lower prices. I normally split my shopping between the two.
Duncan: When the new students are arriving, the previous students are leaving. This means you can usually pick up many of the essentials like pots and pans at very little cost, we just want to get rid of our stuff. You can pick up any number of things, from spoons to microwaves to couches. Later in the year, other students also leave (around January), this is another opportunity to get stuff cheaply. If you need other stuff urgently than there is a store called Marskramer in Breukelen which sells homeware, otherwise a trip to Maarsen or Utrecht, or even Amsterdam may be in order. In Amsterdam you can find an IKEA, although you will probably need a car if that is your plan, depending on the scale of things you are buying.
Duncan: Yes, there is one in Breukelen but it is difficult to find. Search on oogle maps for this address: De Angstel 34, 3621 WC Breukelen Ut, Nederland
The quickest way to get there is to cycle along the canal side leaving from the back entrance of Nyenrode.
Duncan: Near the Aldi you can find a Drugstore selling over the counter drugs and other miscellaneous items. Its name is Kruidvat.
Duncan: Bol.com is an Amazon-like seller in the Netherlands
Sandeep: There are few websites (Amazon.de, bBol.com) from where you can shop online, and the payment system that is accepted is iDeal which is linked with Debit Cards, and Bank accounts.
Sandeep: Yes, there are few places where you can get discounts in Netherlands, check the website http://www.studenten.nl/ for more details.
Adri: Surprisingly, the basic price for staple foods that you usually buy from the groceries is pretty reasonable here in Holland. You can buy one kilogram of chicken (yes, that four big pieces of drumsticks) for EUR2.50, and one reasonably big bread loaf by EUR1.50. Not that expensive after all.
What if I have a health issue during my stay?
Adri: You can go to a GP (general practitioner). Just arrange necessary appointment beforehand. A GP will help you in initial diagnoses. However, should further treatment needed, the GP will usher you to the nearest hospital or medical center. Don’t forget to bring your health insurance card for this visit-depends on insurance plan that you have. The GP and pharmacy is located in the Breukelen city center just 5 minutes bike from campus.
Hamdi: If it is an urgent case, you can always call Emergency lines 24 hours/day. If you need to see a doctor for a regular visit, there is a local practitioner in the Breukelen that you can see.
Duncan: You receive a factbook when you arrive on campus with some names of possible healthcare professionals. I know that people have had pleasant experiences with the professionals mentioned.
Duncan: Program management usually helps with this. They have an agreement with ABN-Amro to sort out accounts. If you want to go with another provider such as ING you will need to sort this out yourself. Different banks have different charge rates which you will need to investigate. They all provide some form of internet banking. With the account you will usually get a bank card which you can use to withdraw cash at an ATM or use in shops such as Albert Heijn. You can also load Chipknip onto the same card at a machine to use on campus for things such as the laundry room. Withdrawals are free from all machines, even from other ATMs so do not worry when drawing cash about charges.
Naz: You will need a number of documents most of which will be provided by the university. The additional documents you require is a copy of your passport and your visa. Once you have these you can start the process which will last two to three weeks depending on which bank you want to open an account with.
Sandeep: The Dutch system is not that friendly to credit cards. Debit cards are the most popular ones and accepted widely. For credit cards, you need to be earning and paying tax in Netherlands.
Hamdi: In the campus area, there is an ATM that you can withdraw money 24 hours/day
Naz: The nearest banks are less than a kilometer from campus. You have the option of choosing from two of the major banks that is ING and ABN Amro. Both have student friendly procedures and you can open an account with either of them.
Duncan: You can set up a monthly stop order from your account by filling in a form from housing, or using internet banking, which is my preferred choice. You can also pay with your credit card at the helpdesk.
Sandeep: There are various services available to transfer the funds to Netherlands. For example, XOOM.com offers cheap, fast and online service at competitive exchange rates from many countries. However, due to countries specific restrictions it may not work in your country. Check Xoom.com for more details.