Experience report ANR: Exchange semester: Fall Semester Academic year: Host University: Texas A&M University

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1 Experience report ANR: Name: S. Yamgani Exchange semester: Fall Semester Academic year: Host University: Texas A&M University Country: USA TOPIC: Admission, arrival, housing How was your arrival organized? Did someone pick you up from the airport/station? Was an orientation or introduction activity organized? How was accommodation organized? Does the university provide you with accommodation? What kind of accommodation does the university provide? Did you have to book your accommodation in advance or did you have to search for a place to live after you arrived? Texas A&M university is big university and there are probably a lot of organizations who are willing to pick you up from the airport (whether it is Houston of College Station). However, I was not aware of this and I organized my own arrivel. I arrived at Houston International Airport and from there I took the shuttle to College Station. They have a drop off service and they will drop you off at your dorm/apartment. There was a week introduction, and here I ve get to know my fellow exchange students. The accommodation was organized ok. Anyway if I had a chance to do it over I would never choose again to live on campus. I did not liked my experience in the dorm, as I had very little space and I had to sleep with someone else in one room.on campus apartments are more for freshmans, I would rather had chosen an apartment off campus. This because then you will have your own room and bathroom and it is a lot lot cheaper. So the university did provided me with accommodation but I would rather had preferred if they had shown me the options off campus as it was just as close by as the campus apartments and it was cheaper. I booked my accommodation in advance, I wanted to be safe. TOPIC: Location of university/city Please describe the city you lived in. Where is the university located in the city? What is the best place to go to eat/drink/dance/do sports/etc.? What are interesting things to see and do in your host city? What was different than in Tilburg? Texas A&M university is located in College Station, Texas. You can find everywhere places to eat. I recommend that you at least should try IHOP before you come back. Also the Tex/mex or Mexican food is very good and you can find restaurants all over. The university has its own REC center which I could use for free, they have swimming pools, basketball fields and so on. It is really big and I used it almost every day. My dorm was close to the center of College station where all the pubs are located (North Gate) and it was a very good place for a good night out. It is very different than Tilburg, Texas is really big and you can almost do nothing without having a car. The university do provide busses but this is very limited in the weekends and non on Game days. So grocery is really hard to do if you are dependent on the busses. However if you can find a suitmate or roommate with a car this will become much easier as the Aggies are very friendly and don t mind giving rides. There are a lot of beautiful places nearby College Station which you can visit during the weekends. Also there are a lot of organizations which some organize trips which you can also visit. TOPIC: Academics Which courses did you take and why? Which courses would you recommend? What did the courses add to your program at Tilburg University? How does the university compare to Tilburg University concerning the level of the courses, use of extra material, level of English, workload, etc.? Overall,

2 were you happy with your academic achievements during your exchange? Please describe the campus of your host university. The courses at Texas A&M university are worth each 3 credits, which is 7.5 ECTS. I followed the following courses: 1. Energy Markets and Policy This class was very challenging. The class is combined with master and bachelor students. I choose this subject because it was not given in Tilburg University and also it is something that is very relevant in Texas because of their oil production. So it is very interesting to take this course. The English of the professor was very professional and it was comparable to that of Tilburg. The level of the course was normal it was not very difficult but you should attend the classes to get a good grade. 2. Money and Banking This class was queite an easy class, I do recommend it as the teacher is very nice and the class was interesting. The level however is lower than that of Tilburg University, the workload was very low and you can get an easy A on this class. 3. Industrial Organization I don t recommend taking this class. It should be a doable class, however it is almost not possible to get an A for this class. The teacher is very strict and he don t give any lecture slides and he is also not taking his information from the book. This all makes it very hard to learn proper for the exam. It is not comparable to the courses in Tilburg University as it was not organized properly and the workload was also not that much. 4. Sports Economics I recommend taking this class. The teacher is very nice and the subjects are interesting. In this course you apply economics theory on decisions in the Sport business. The workload is comparable to that at Tilburg University. There are a lot of quizzes for which you should actually participate every class. 5. History of Islam I found this course the most interesting from all the courses. However, if you are not interested in Islam or History you should never choose this subject. I had to write 15 essays (if not more) for this class. The teacher is very nice, and I think the workload here is more than that at Tilburg University. During all the classes the English of the teachers were excellent, and they were all very willing to help. I am very happy with my achievements, I had 3 A s one B and one C. Which is ok as I traveled a lot and could not attend every quiz that they had. TOPIC: Social life Which social activities organized by the university or students? Did you have contact with local students? Did you have contact with other exchange students? How did you get along with the local students and other exchange students? Did you travel to other places/countries during your exchange? There are a lot of activities organized every week by diverse student organizations. I had a lot of contact with the local students as I lived on campus and my friends too. I could get a long very easily with the local students as we were (most) living on campus and herefor we could easily see each other on daily basis. I did travel during my stay, but keep in mind that this is very expensive. I traveled to the cities close to Houston with my friends with car which reduced the costs. But if you have to travel by plane it will cost you a lot. Plan on time to have cheap tickets. I had contact with the other exchange students as we took classes together. I could get a long with them as they were fellow exchange students. TOPIC: Living costs How did you finance your exchange period, apart from the grant you received from Tilburg University? What were your living expenses abroad like compared to Tilburg? What did you spend most of your money on? What would you advice future students to spend their money on? Please outline your approximate monthly budget whilst on exchange: housing, food, textbooks, etc.

3 I did not received any grant from Tilburg University. Living costs are comparable to that of Tilburg. It is not cheaper as most think. I spend the most money on food, as we only had a public kitchen. Herefor I more preferred to eat outside than cook for myself. Clothes and books were comparable to Tilburg. However the fashion in Texas is I think a bit behind the fashion in Europe. As I lived on campus I had to pay my housing before the semester began which was around 1800 dollars (450 dollars a month). For food I spend mostly 60 dollars for a normal week. Textbook: 200 dollars Health insurance (mandatory) 800 dollars The busses are free to use, and the other costs that you will make will be personal. I spend a lot on clothes and going out and presents and so, on montly base I would spend on average 300 dollars. TOPIC: Culture Did you experience culture shock while on exchange? How would you compare your host culture to your own culture? What did you learn about your own culture while on exchange? What was different about your host culture than you expected? What did you like and not like about your host culture? Do you feel you learned a lot about your host culture, and if not, what would you like to learn more? How would you describe your host countries culture? If you travelled to other cities/countries during your exchange, were they different than your host city/country, and how? People from Texas and the Aggies were very different than here in Tilburg. The students were always polite and not that straight forward. The guys were very mannerd, as example when a girl steps in the bus the guy will stand up and let the girl sit. The same goes for opening a door. I did learned a lot. I would however appreciate it if they would had been more straight forward. I really liked the fact that they were really helpful. If they see that you are lost they will come up to you and ask whether they can help. This made my stay more pleasant. TOPIC: Personal development What did you learn from the people you met during your exchange? Would you do things differently if you had the chance, and what would you do differently? What was your best experience, and what was your worst experience? What will you remember for ever about your exchange period? What was the most important lesson you learned about yourself during your exchange period? During my exchange I had a lot of time for myself, and to develop myself. It was very interesting as I always have lived with my parents and I was used that everything was done for me. Going on exchange have helped me to stand on my own feets. My best experience was helping to organize an event for my student organization. The people I met there were really nice. Another thing what I can also remark, in Texas A&M everything is organized by students. It was very nice to see, examples are that busses were driven by students, and the people at the service desks were students mainly. TOPIC: Tips for future students Would you recommend an exchange period? Would you recommend your host university? What should prospective students bring with them/leave behind? What preparation is required for going on exchange to this destination? Was there anything you should have done in preparation that you didn t do? I would definitely recommend anybody to go to Texas A&M university. It is an enormhous university and there is definately a course in any sector that you would like. There are a lot of international students (5000 if not more) and you get in touch with people all over the world. It is an unforgettable experience. The weather is really nice in Texas. As preparation I do recommend to go into groups of facebook, they have an international group. But also groups with common interest, I recommend to search for that such that you can also find roommates. I liked everything about my stay, and I think I prepared good enough for the trip. The only drawback was that I should have lived off campus but that will be a good tip for the future exchange student going there.

4 TOPIC: A picture is worth a thousand words If you took any pictures or made any videos that you would like to share with future exchange students, please include them (or them separately). Pictures that show your daily life or symbolize your exchange period are especially interesting for future exchange students. Grand Canyon Arizona

5 College Station football game

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