PREPARATION STUDY ABROAD PERIOD

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1 UU Report form - Erasmus faculty/college Social Sciences level bachelor s master s PhD name study programme General Social Sciences destination city & country name university abroad start date end date Madrid, Spain Universidad Autonoma de Madrid 06 / 09 / 2015 (dd/mm/yyyy) 23 / 01 / 2016 (dd/mm/yyyy) exchange application process PREPARATION When you have decided where to go to, the application process is very easy. The University of Utrecht arranged the application process very well. The forms are a lot of work, but also very good for your own preparation. counselling & support at Utrecht University The support at Utrecht University is very good, the preparation meeting was personal and there was enough opportunity to ask questions. After this meeting I knew very well what to expect and what I had to arrange. Also, if I had questions, I got a very rapid respons on my s. academic preparation The only academic preparation I could do was searching for courses I wanted to do. There was no literature in advance and the courses I was going to do were very new for me, so I had no idea what to expect. language preparation Before I started to study I had a gapyear where I learned some Spanish. But this was a long time ago and my leven of Spanish wasn't that good anymore. For the real starters I could advice to use the application Duolingo. For myself, I took some language courses to refresh my grammar and other knowledge. This helped a bit, but not as much as I hoped for, but in the end you will learn the language way faster in Spain. finances I worked a lot before I went to Spain, so I had some savings. I loaned some extra every month and with the Eramus money and the replacement for my transport card it was exactly enough to live, but also to do a lot of excursions, parties and other fun stuff. study programme (content and organisational issues) STUDY ABROAD PERIOD I studied psychology in Spain, in stead of General Social Sciences, so a lot of the course material was new for me. I had to go to the university more than I'm used to in the Netherlands and the language was defenitly a big threshold for me. The assigments were quite difficult, but when you take in account that you will just need a bit more time, and start in time, it is okay. Some exams were multiple choice, some were written exams. Some proffesors even asked me if they had to make an adjusted exam for me, which was very nice of them. You won't get less points because of bad Spanish and you can use a diccionairy. So if you just learn enough, you will pass the exams! The organisation on the faculty of UAM is very different than in the Netherlands. Not everything was very clear for me, but luckely I had a buddy who could help me with my questions. So a tip: when they ask you if you want page 1 of 10

2 to join the buddy programm, join! It's very helpful. Also the secretary in the faculty could help me with a lot of my questions. academic quality of education activities I think the academic quality was a high as it is in the Netherlands. I expected it to be easier, and maybe it just seemed more difficult because of the language, but the lectures were very good and the assigments and exams were of high level. counselling & support at receiving university abroad I arrived in Madrid after the introduction on the university, which was announced very late. But when I had my first school day, there was not a lot of counseling. I had to figure out a lot on my own, for example I had no idea what my course schedule was. I had to figure out how to work with Moodle (kind of BlackBoard) and had my own acount, but I also received the mail for normal students and for students for the whole university. So I had to filter a lot of information and had to find out what was important for me. I did not feel a lot of support and did not get very much help from the International Office. So you really have to discover a lot on your own. transfer of credits On UAM they work in semesters. So you study for half a year and follow 5 courses, each 6 ECTS. They rate 0 to 10, so you're transfer rates are a bit different. The transfer of credits was arranged automatically and the Utrecht University put them directly into Osiris. welcome & orientation programme STUDENT LIFE The ESN of UAM was very good organised. There are very much Erasmus students and so a lot of possibilities and activities. There was a very good welcome and explanation of how student life in Madrid works. There was a welcome week with a lot of activities to get to know people. There was a weekly meeting in a bar to practice Spanish, some tours to get to know Madrid and there were very nice excursions to cities all over Spain. I joined them on most of those trips and went to a lot of different activities that were very good organised. accommodation The students accommodations are very expensive in Madrid, unless you know some people who live there. I didn't expect the rent to be that high in Spain, so it's good to take this in account. But my accomodation was very well located and I lived with 9 other Erasmus students from all over the world and had a very pleasant stay. leisure & culture I love to get to know the culture, so I also went on some trips with friends. I visited musea and joined in some national festivities. For sports I did some running and there was a Bootcamp course in a big parc that I attended. There is more than enough time to get to know the city, go out for dinner, go to parties with friends and I spent most of my weekend in other cities or hiking. At the end of the semester you will need your time very hard to study, but with a bit of planning, you will still have time to get out on the streets. suggestions/tips Join ESN! Go on trips with them and join their activities. You will get to know a lot of very nice people. Go on trips yourself and enjoy everything that Madrid has to offer you. For accomodation it is the best to start in a hostel and go searching for accomodation when you arrive there. It is the best way to get a good room and check if what they offer you on sites is the same as in real life. CONCLUSIONS would you recommend this university/destination abroad to others? please explain Yes, I would recommend Madrid if you like to go to a big capital and when you like the Spanish culture. Madrid is so big; even in half a year you don't have enough time to go and see everthing that this city has to offer you. page 2 of 10

3 And because of it's central location in Spain, you can go visit a lot of other cities too. The University is huge and therefore the organisation is not as you're used to in the Netherlands. But for Spain, it is better organised then other Universities in Madrid and the education is very good. In some European reports about Universities for Erasmus destinations UAM scored very high! So UAM is a very good choice. do you have any additional advice or comments? Like I already said; start in a hostel and go search for an accomodation there. And join the buddy-programm that they offer you! page 3 of 10

4 UU Report form - Erasmus faculty/college Social Sciences level bachelor master PhD name degree programme Educational Sciences destination city & country Madrid, Spain name host institution and/or Universidad Autonoma de Madrid company/organization purpose Erasmus grant courses research work placement departure date 2 / 9 / 2013 (dd/mm/yyyy) return date (dd/mm/yyyy) 28 / 1 / 2014 preparation exchange/placement application process The application process of my exchange and placement in Madrid overall went pretty good. The only problem I experienced was with defining the Spanish courses I was going to follow at the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid. In Spain it is common to chose your courses during the first two weeks of the semester. This gives you the oppurtunity to 'try' courses and make your final choice based on your experience. However, the deadline for my signed Learning Agreement was months earlyer. This was a little bit of extra work, because I changed my courses a couple of times and made my definitive choice while i was already arrivd in Madrid. So I had to get new autographs for my Learning Agreement. I couldn t hand in my Learning Agreement on the final date, which resulted in the fact that I got my Erasmusbeurs 2 months after I arrived in Madrid. counselling/support at home university The support at my home university is good. The international office can be reached by phone or . The responses on my s were usually quick, and the answers were usefull. I'm content with this service and I can't really think of any complaints. academic preparation I didn t really prepare my academic courses. Before I went to Madrid, I didn t know what courses exactly I was going to take. I only knew that I was going to follow courses at the Psychology Faculty. In the Netherlands, I never followed any psychological courses, but it has always been an area of interest for me. I did follow courses at the Social Sciences Faculty in Utrecht, so that wasn t a major difference with the courses i was going to follow in Madrid. I was confident that I could handle the academic concent of the courses in Madrid. language preparation Three years ago I studied Spanish in Salamanca for three months, during a gap year after finishing highschool. I page 4 of 10

5 got my B1 Dele-certificate, so I was confident that I could catch up with the Spanish courses in Madrid. The only possible language was Spanish. If there were English courses available, I would have chosen them. My original plan was to follow another short Spanish language course in the Netherlands, the months before my departure. Unfortunetely my summer was busyer then I expected and I didn t have enough time to do this. finances I don t think my stay in Madrid was that much more expensive then my studentlife in Utrecht. Because of the Erasumscholarship and the money my parents gave me every month I had enough money to live. The extra costs I made (for traveling around in Spain for example) I paid out of my savings account. I had saved money because I wanted to do some fun stuff at well druing my period abroad, I didn t want to watch my money all the time. study/placement abroad period study programme/work plan (concerning content and organisational issues) The only restriction was that I needed to be subcribed for 30 ECTS in total. I could follow any course in any area I wanted. I chose to follow psychology courses. This because I had never followed any but the area has always interested me. There are a lot of interfaces between psychology and my study (eduational sciences). The specific courses I chose were courses that especially interested me and courses that fit well in my time schedule. Every course was worth 6 ECTS, so I ended up doing five courses. academic quality of education/placement activities The academic quality of UAM is okay. I think it was very good that the classes were small, compared to what I am used to in Utrecht. There were never more then 40 students in one room, this creates the oppurtunity to have more interaction between the teachers and the students. It was easyer to ask the teacher questions and the teachers knew all the students by name. In Utrecht I was used to having one lecture and one seminar every week per course. The distinction between the activities in these two meetings is clear. In Spain this is a bit more confusing. I experienced that the difference between lectures and seminars was not really clear, the activities sometimes blend in to each other. counselling/support at host institution/organisation I thought that the support of my host institution was pretty good. UAM has a central International Office, and every faculty also has their own International Office. I dealt mostly with the International Office specifically for my faculty. The employees could all speak english and the office was open every day. The office could also be reached by or telephone. Sometimes the procedures of what papers I had to hand in where a it unclear. But that was not the fault of the International Office. They were really helpful. transfer of credits At the moment that I am writing this I don t know yet if the transfer of credits has succeeded. The International Office of the UAM already send an to the International Office of my university (UU) with my transcript of grades. So I assume there will be no problems regarding the transfer of my credits. page 5 of 10

6 student life welcome/orientation programme In the first week of the semester there was a meeting for all the new foreign students at the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid. There you could buy an ESN card and they told us about all the different activities that the ESN network of the university was going to offer in then next few months. There was also a welcome meeting for then foreign students of the Psychology Faculty in particular. There they told us more about the procedures and; how to enroll in your courses orhow the digital learning environment of the university works. The international office was open every day from And you could also them with personal questions. accommodation I rented a room in the center of Madrid. I lived in a house with four floor, and on each floor there were living four students. They were all foreign students. I think this is because of the prices of the rooms, they were quiet expensive compared to rooms in the outskirts of Madrid. Most Spanish people don t live on their own at all or they search for a cheaper room. It was really nice to live with other foreign students. The only bad thing was that I mostly spoke English with them because that was easyer, instead of practicing my Spanish. leisure/culture I really like the Spanish culture. I have visited Spain before so I kind of knew what to expect. The people are so much more relaxed, they have a different mindset then the people in the Netherlands. Spanish people do go out a lot. I lived in an area with a lot of bars, and they were full of people everyday of the week. In the Netherlands, people live more indoors. In Spain the life is more outdoors, this creates a really open athmosphere. I really felt welcome and only after a few weeks time, Madrid felt like my new home. suggestions/tips You don t have to be stressed about finding a room in Madrid. I went to Madrid a week before my classes started and I found a room within 4 days. There is enough choice in the city centre. Madrid is really big though, so I would recommend to do a little research before you go there, for example think about in which neighbourhood or area you would like to live. I would recommend to learn Spanish before you go to Spain. All the courses are in Spanish and Spanish people tend to speak really fast. I bit of preknowledge of the language would be usefull. conclusions would you recommend this host organisation/destination to others? please explain Yes I would recommend other students to go studying in Madrid at the UAM. Madrid is a really nice and interesting city. Because it is such a big city, there is a lot to see and do. The university campus of UAM is a little bit outside the city, you need to travel around 20 minutes by train from the city centre. But this is not a problem, considering the good public transport connections of Madrid and her outskirts. page 6 of 10

7 do you have any additional advice or comments? When you are going to study at the UAM you should be aware of the fact that it is only possible to follow courses in Spanish. A certain amount of knowledge about the Spanisch language is requiered if you want to pass your courses. But besides the little struggles I have had I had an amanzing and wonderfull Eramsus exchange. It is so valuable to live abroad for a few months, and feel confident to solve problems by yourself. The academic purposes are not the only motivation to go study abroad. There is so much more you can achieve on personal level for example. Before I went I was a bit nervous, about whether I would like it, and if I wouldn t miss my family and friends too much. My first week I was a little bit homesick, but that feeling disapeared as soon as university started. The period that I was studying abroad was really amazing. I will definetely remember this and I would recommend this experience to every other student as well. page 7 of 10

8 UU Report form - Erasmus faculty/college Faculty of Social Sciences level bachelor master PhD name degree programme Pedagogical Sciences destination city & country Madrid, Spain name host institution and/or Universidad Autónoma de Madrid company/organization purpose Erasmus grant courses research work placement departure date 05 / 09 / 2013 (dd/mm/yyyy) return date (dd/mm/yyyy) 26 / 01 / 2014 preparation exchange/placement application process I started on time with the application process. I've looked for a lot of universities and moreover, to the courses they offer. I also spent a lot of time writing the motivation letter. counselling/support at home university The International Office of the University of Utrecht was extremely helpful! They helped me patiently with all my questions and during my stay, they responded to my s very quickly. academic preparation Nothing special. I just did my courses in The Netherlands for two years. language preparation I had Spanish classes in high school, but that was 3 years ago. So I took classes at Babel before leaving. finances I was never in financial problems during my stay. The Erasmus grant, student grant from the government and the compensation of the public transportation pass was enough. By that, I worked a lot the year before I went to Spain, so I had personal savings. study/placement abroad period study programme/work plan (concerning content and organisational issues) The start of my stay in Madrid was very chaotic. It wasn't always clear to me where I had to go or what I had to do. But, as spanish people always say, everything will be alright. If I didn't understand anything, I just asked to the international office and they were helpful. So everything was clear in the end. page 8 of 10

9 academic quality of education/placement activities The content of the courses aren't that hard. The fact that all the courses are in Spanish and you're sitting in a class with other spanish students is what make it hard. I had to get used to the way they teach in Madrid, because the classes and classrooms are smaller than in Utrecht. Sometimes I felt like I was back in high school again. But I got used to it and it was okay. counselling/support at host institution/organisation The people at the international office are nice and helpful, but sometimes a bit chaotic. They want to help you, but if they're busy, they could be a bit stressed. transfer of credits The international office in Madrid will send them directly to the University of Utrecht. I received a letter from the University of Utrecht. student life welcome/orientation programme In the first week of college, ESN had a welcome meeting where they talked about some activities and what they do in general. ESN is a big organisation in Madrid, they organize a lot of trips and activities. The Universidad Autónoma had a welcome hour at the end of the first week of colleges. They explained the schedules and courses during this meeting, but we already had one week of classes, so we already figured out ourselves. accommodation I lived in the city center in a house with other international students. leisure/culture The Spanish culture is a great culture to live in. In The Netherlands, everyone is punctual and always on time. In Spain it is the other way around, which makes the lifestyle in Spain more relaxed than in The Netherlands. Also, I've noticed that the people in Spain are really nice. They really appreciate you trying to speak Spanish and learning about their culture. suggestions/tips When I just arrived, I had to get used to the mellow culture. I thought it was annoying to wait for 20 minutes in the line at the supermarket. So you have to get used to the culture. conclusions would you recommend this host organisation/destination to others? please explain Yes, I would recommend it. They offer really interesting courses and the teachers are really nice and willing to help. The campus is really beautiful, like a village almost because it is quite big and there is everything. Madrid is a beautiful and fun city. It is a big city, but not very touristic, what I liked about it. page 9 of 10

10 do you have any additional advice or comments? Start early by arranging everything, because you are in Spain and they want to arrange everything last minute. page 10 of 10

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