Mariia in Rotterdam

Table of Contents

Overall Thoughts & Feelings

Amazing experience overall! Great university full of like-minded interesting people and plenty of events. I got very lucky with the course allocation and got everything I wanted. I really enjoyed living in the city of Rotterdam, the place definitely has its charm: everybody bikes, speaks English, drinks beer, and complains about the weather. The location of the city is super convenient for traveling! Belgium & France are close and reachable by car/train within hours (within minutes in the case of Belgium), and Eindhoven airport is a Ryanair base.


The costs of living are a bit higher compared to that of Vienna, especially rent, transport, and restaurants. But groceries, coffee, and clubbing are pretty much the same I would say. For rent, I paid 550 euros (all-inclusive). Usually you can find a decent place for 500-700 euros I would say, but it gets worse with the time pressure and everything.


I lived at Oostplein metro station, which is right in between the uni campus and the city center. The location was perfect and couldn’t get any better. Supermarkets (Albert Heijn – the most expensive one (~ Billa), Lidl, Dirck (~ Hofer) are easily reachable by bike & on foot, but I preferred a bike (when in the Netherlands lol). Oude Haven and the Cube Houses are basically in 10 minutes walking distance. 

My room was in the De Hoge Wiek dorm-apartment building, it’s super non-international, basically 100% dutch people, so getting in without the sublease from the local student would be probably problematic.

The situation with accommodation in Rotterdam (as well as in the Netherlands in general) is a bit extreme, but it is more than possible to actually find a place, so don’t give up. 

Tips for finding a place: apart from monitoring Facebook groups (beware of scammers) and asking your friends who have some ties with Rotterdam, a nice strategy would be getting in the group chat with exchange students that are currently on exchange, as by the end of semester they will leave their accommodations.


Campus is quite nice. There is plenty of space to study (the library, Polak building, Langeweld building). Erasmus Sports center (gym, group classes) is also there. De Smitse bar right in the middle of campus serves beer for € 1,50, a great way to spend time after lectures or even better after exams. Pavilion is also a great cafe/bar. Be sure to check the tuna salad sandwich in the Sports Cafe at the Sports center, it is only € 2,50!

For content and requirements, I recommend checking the uni catalog.

  • Organization of Innovation – low difficulty. Honestly, the most boring course ever. At least I enjoyed working in my team on the project. But the workload was low, so I do not complain. 
  • Opportunity Creation – low difficulty. The course is more on the “interesting” side, but the content was quite repetitive with what I already learned in my bachelors and in the first semester at WU. 
  • Entrepreneurial Skillset – medium-high difficulty. The content is really useful for future entrepreneurs. The concepts and rules of a lean start-up are engraved in my brain eternally, but the grading seemed to be very unfair and the majority of students were anxious and stressed during this course. Some didn’t even pass. The content is easy to understand, just the professor’s attitude towards us seemed irrational, which definitely added to the difficulty level. But still, the content was useful, so maybe it was worth some suffering. 
  • Start-Up and Growth – medium difficulty. My favorite course! Absolutely recommended. The content, the structure, and the professor are amazing. Everything just made perfect sense. 
  • Corporate Entrepreneurship – low-medium. A bit boring, has an Organization of Innovation vibe, but still better. 

Depends on the courses you take! I took 4 out of 5 courses from the Strategic Entrepreneurship masters program, which is in general less demanding than let’s say Finance & Investment masters, so my workload was fine.


The masters I piggybacked on (Strategic Entrepreneurship) organized plenty of events to get to know the Dutch start-up and innovation scene. And as an exchange student I was very welcomed by the program manager Joris to join each one of them. So, we had a field trip to the Aerospace Innovation Hub at the TU Delft, a tour to the Venture Cafe in Rotterdam (part of the Cambridge Innovation Center), and some guest speakers from the industry. These events were happening merely every week in September-mid October, and I genuinely enjoyed all of them.

Monday Bingo nights at Paddy Murphy’s Irish pub were definitely a vibe.

Literally almost 0 interaction with other exchange students apart from the introduction day. Almost never saw these people again, since bachelors and masters have different courses, and everyone in general has different courses. I stuck with the RSM masters students mostly.

Places to Visit

I went on a Normandie road trip, which I highly recommend! Especially if you befriend a local with a car. Paris is also super close! Check out Brussels, Antwerp, Bruges and Gent. Also, Rotterdam has its own small airports, Transavia (lowcoster) flies from there. Ryanair – Eindhoven airport. The Netherlands is located in the sweet spot, you can travel extensively without planes. 

Be sure to check cute little towns around Rotterdam with the true Dutch old atmosphere: Delft and Leiden. Since Rotterdam was heavily bombed during WW2, most of the buildings in the city are modern (which is also a vibe, but a different one). Kralingen district (the nearest to uni and one of the nicest to live when studying at Erasmus) is pretty much the only neighborhood with the “old Dutch vibe”.

Traveling by train for internationals is quite expensive. A 1h trip to Amsterdam is 18 euros one way. I really miss my ÖBB Vorteilskarte…

A real tip: befriend a local dutch student and travel by trains (within the Netherlands) with them! They can give you a 40% discount for a day round trip, if you travel together! They should know how to do it using a ticket machine at the station. 

Country & City Vibes

  • Lifestyle: Chill, modern, international.
  • People: Are quite friendly.
  • Infrastructure: Bike infrastructure is amazing, public transport is a bit slow for my taste (well, literally nothing in the world beats Vienna’s, so…). Beware of Schiphol airport security waiting lines and arrive at least 2-3 hours in advance. The staff shortage is a big problem across the Netherlands.
  • Activities: Plenty! Student community is big, always something going on (ESN tuesdays, STAR management wednesdays, clubs are nice, bars also)
  • Friendliness of locals: Very friendly! Especially people at the municipality when you call them (I had to because I wanted to register (although it is not necessary if you stay not more than 4 months)), which was a surprising experience, I’m sorry Vienna.
  • Safety level: The city felt very safe. Biking helps at nights, it’s much less scary to bike home at night than to walk. It is not recommended to live in the south of Rotterdam, literally anything south of the Bridges (Erasmus bridge, the red bridge).


For non-EU students: you can go on exchange with your Austrian student residence permit. The process is called Intra-EU mobility and you just basically have to notify the Dutch authorities via post that “you are arriving”.

I applied for the new residence permit (Austrian) 3 months in advance (the maximum time in advance possible), and 30 minutes later when I was still in MA35 I was given a new card collection appointment time, which was right on the next day of my current residence permit expiration. So I had to fly from Rotterdam to Vienna for a couple of days to collect my new residence permit card in the middle of September. Then, approximately 1 month in advance I sent all the required documents for the intra eu mobility by mail to the Netherlands. Pretty easy.

Message us on LinkedIn

Message us on Instagram

Message us via E-Mail