Hi there, I am Ioana! I am studying Business Information Technology at the University of Twente, I work in IT through TalentIT and I am busy in social life at the Ludica Tennis Club. Today, I will tell you about my student life in this behind the scenes blog.
My name is Ioana and I am from Romania. I am currently following a master in Business Information Technology at the University of Twente. Besides my studies, I am working for TalentIT (later I will explain you what it is). Previously, I finished my bachelor at Saxion, also in Enschede. Currently, I am part of the Ludica Tennis Association. During my bachelors degree, I was part of a student association and student ambassador for Romanian students at Saxion.
Playing tennis at Tennis Association Ludica
Enschede is cheap to live in
I started my studies in Enschede with a bachelor at Saxion, where I also graduated from. A couple years ago, I was at a university fair in Romania with my dad and there was an information stand of Saxion in the Netherlands. They told me that Saxion had a lot of Romanian students as well. Both me and my dad had a very good feeling about going to study in the Netherlands. I really liked the fact that no matter what institution you choose in the Netherlands, they are all of high standards. In Romania, the standards of institution are highly dependent on the name they have.
So, my choice for the Netherlands was made. But then I saw that Enschede was also a cheap city to live in. The rent you pay in Enschede is very decent compared to cities like Amsterdam. Enschede is also very student oriented and it is accessible by having several airports within 2 hours (Schiphol and airports in Germany).
Therefore, I decided to go to a three-day orientation at Saxion. I paid for my flight, and Saxion arranged everything else. That's how my choice for Enschede was made.
CHILL - FUN - FRIENDLY
I also lived in Amsterdam before and compared to Amsterdam, Enschede is a very cosy city. In general I would say that the people from Twente are very friendly. Everybody speaks English and is very helpful. You can live in cheap accommodation, which is impossible in Amsterdam.
Enschede is a city with museums, cinemas, theaters TEDx events, opera shows and anything you see in a big city, but you can go from place to place by bike. The city has many opportunities, such as cool events and companies to work at.
My favourite spot was Café Barcelona, but it is closed now. Also, I love to go to the terraces at the Oude Markt on Friday nights. At Incubase at the University, I love to hang out for studying and socializing. Incubase is workspace for entrepreneurs. On Saturdays, I do my grocery shopping at the market. You can get vegetables for so cheap and they are very tasty!
If I had to describe Enschede is three words, it would be: chill, fun and friendly. - Chill because it is still quiet at some places, so you don't feel like you are in a big city. - Fun because there is plenty of things to do. - Friendly, because the local people are very friendly and helpful.
Finding a job
During my student time I already had several jobs. In general, I found jobs quickly. It is very important to socialize with other people and tell them you are looking for a job. Most of the time I got one through friends.
When I was studying at Saxion, I helped the Romanian student ambassador with some work. Later, when this position came open, I applied for it and got it. I also had many on-call jobs, where you work upon availability (such as UT Flex). During my internship, I worked with more than three different companies in the Netherlands. Besides that, I am committed to a diversity project at the University.
Now, during my master at the University of Twente, I work through TalentIT. TalentIT is an initiatieve from businesses and educational institutions in Twente. It is their aim to keep talent in the region of Twente. Students can use it for free if they are looking for a sidejob, internship or thesis project. I told them I was looking for a part-time job and they started searching for me. It took an hour of intake to make a profile sketch, so they knew exactly where I was interested in - my vision, life story etc.
The advantage of working through TalentIT is that I work at a company, doing work I am studying for. Before studying at the University of Twente, it felt like I wasn't ready for it yet, but now I can really expand my knowledge about my field of expertise. It is direcly related to my studies in IT! Of course, there are never guarantees that they will find a job for you that you love and is directly related, but I think it is definitely worth the try.
Studying in the Netherlands
Advice to other students
My advice to future students or other students is: be aware that you have to take responsibility when you go live on your own. There are no parents to tell you what to do.
That means there is a lot of freedom, but that also means you have to take responsibility for what you do. Many students forget about that. It is a shame that they drop out so early in the year, because they go party every night and don't show up at school.
Besides, I think my advice is to socialize with other students. As an introvert it might be more difficult to get to know about opportunities that are there. Of course you can read about it on platforms (such as Study in Enschede), but you always get to know things because of friends.