The roller coaster of emotions

Dear readers,

it is December and Christmas is coming closer as each day passes by. Yay, I already cannot wait when I will be in Estonia hugging my dog, yet I still need to finish my semester here by doing the exams which are in 1,5 weeks. Well, at least this time I have only one written exam and the other one is a home assignment.

As you (probably) remember from my last post, I wrote that I was going to Oslo. And yes, I was there! Moreover, the whole trip was a roller coaster of emotions. It all started with me going back to Amsterdam (A) from Maastricht (M). I think I reached a peak of my how many hours it can take from M to A as that time it took me 5 hours. And it was not just the train, but I had to take a taxi and a metro as well! You might ask me why I took a taxi. Well, the answer is quite simple. The train stopped in Weert and from there I had the chance to go back to M or wait for god knows how many hours until they would have solved the issue. It was first announced that we had to wait 30-40 minutes, after 15 minutes they told us it could take up to 1,5 hours. And the only thing that came up to my mind was the last tutorial we had in last semester in Cognitive Psychology about sunk costs and how the facilitator was in a similar situation (at least they organized NS buses during that time – which means that you could take a bus to another station that is close enough) and he stayed and waited for his turn to take the bus but in the end after waiting for almost 2 hours, he could once again take the train. Lucky me, there were another two guys who wanted to go to A and we decided to take a taxi to Eindhoven. However, when the taxi driver told us the price, we got hesitant. Then we decided to search for other people to come with us (we needed another 3). In about 10 minutes we got our group and we were on a taxi to Eindhoven train station.

We finally reached the platform and there were two trains to A: one to Central station and the other one to Schiphol. I first went onto the Central Station with the other two guys as it had to leave in 3 minutes. Yet, then it was announced that it will go in 10 minutes (almost the same time as the other one and I changed my mind and wished the guys a good evening). Just when I stepped out of the train, the doors closed and it went away (which means it went on time…). Nevermind that, I guess it was a sign that I had to take the train to Schiphol…

So, almost at the airport, but then I checked the times for my other train, and it went only after 30 minutes. I had already enough of everything and I just wanted to be in bed (haha, yeah right, I think it was already 22:30 and I went to bed at almost 02:00). I quickly checked the times for the metro from Zuid Station and it came in 8 minutes. Quite risky to take this chance as if I had missed this one, I would once again wait for 20 minutes. Anyway, I got on it and I arrived finally to my destination. Instead of going to bed, I still had to upload something for my university in Copenhagen. Sadly, this took me about an 1 hour as the deadline was always changed to a date that should not have been there and figuring out what went wrong took me a while.

Anyway, on 16th November I had an evening flight to Oslo. No problems with the train to Schiphol this time, however the times were delayed as they were doing some construction works. I did not do much when I arrived in Oslo, I basically just went to sleep as for the next day I needed my energy.

The next day at noon a friend from Estonia arrived as well. We did not have much time to waste so we decided to go quickly through the city center. At 17:00 we had to be at the Rockefeller for the event. All in all, we visited the Christmas market and saw the outside of the palace, and then walked to the harbour where we decided to eat as well. Afterwards, we quickly went through Akershus Fortress and it was already time to slowly get back to the hotel in order to get some things and go to the venue.

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The reason why we went to Oslo was the event organised by Conception – a band that has not been active for 20 years and is now reunited and they were hosting a listening party of their new EP. Both of us got into the band thanks to Kamelot – the current singer of Conception (Roy) was with Kamelot for many years until he decided to stop with his music career to spend more time with his family. For 8 years many fans wished for Roy to return to the music scene and finally the day has come. The event itself was very interesting. So, they let us in and then you could basically talk to the band members and other fans (I think we were in total max 60 people), after an hour or so we listened to the EP and then there was an interview with the band and we got to know the story behind the EP, how the comeback happened and many other things 🙂 After that we could once again talk to the band and at 20:00 it was the end of the event.oslo2.jpg

For us, it was really fascinating as most of the time, during the VIP Meet and Greet you only have about 2 minutes (or even less) to talk to a band member and then it is goodbye again, see you on stage… Now, as my friend had to leave the next day in the early afternoon, we went for a short tour again. This time to the Opera House (I mean, it is one of the most important sights in Oslo!). Then we walked through the main streets in the city center but there was not a lot going on so we just called it a day and went back to the hotel.

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We left the hotel at around 10:30 am as she needed to go to the airport whereas I had another event with Conception, namely the Oslo tour and lunch. We gathered at 10:45 and then we waited for a taxi-bus to arrive. In total, we were 11 people + the band (Roy, Tore, Ingar and Arve). 6 people came from the US, 2 from England, 1 from Italy and then there is me from who knows where already… The tour started with the Opera House and the Barcode, then we made a short stop next to the Noisebleed shop (it had another name before and the band told us the history about it and the black metal scene), then we visited the old house of Roy and Tore – we even saw their landlord who actually prepared coffee and tea for us but as we were under time pressure so we could not stay (really sad…) and then we went uphill to see some nice views of Oslo. It was my second time in Oslo, so I was really happy that they showed us important sights for them and not only the touristy things. Almost every location had some story behind it and it was really interesting to hear it from the band itself.

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Then we went back to the city center in order to have a lunch. The food was delicious, the company was great and we shared lots of stories together – both funny and sad ones. This was clearly an experience of a lifetime… Furthermore, the idea was to stay until 15:00 but somehow there was no end, so we stayed longer. Unfortunately I had to leave at 16:00 as I had a plane to catch and this really made me sad because that was the end of the event.

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As the hotel receptionist told me: It seems you had a nice weekend, now time to go back to reality… Yeah, back it was and it went immediately downhill. The flight was okay, in my opinion we had a rough landing but whatever, my train did not go (due to construction works) so I had to take a bus and then a metro. I do not know how and I got lucky that I sent the photos to my mother at the Oslo Airport but while I was waiting for the metro, my phone got stolen. The only thing that I remember was that while checking in I still had in my hands and then I put in my jacket bag but it seems that was enough for it to be gone while waiting for the metro… Anyhow, as in our Consumer Psychology article, a small bad event and a good event have to be in close proximity as it mitigates the amount of loss. I was sad but not much, my main concern was to block my SIM card. That out of the way, the next day I got a new SIM card and I got an old broken phone from a friend. I only need to survive with it until Estonia where I will buy a new one.

Well, back in Maastricht. Yes, lots of things going on in my student life as well. It is not just about having fun all the time, haha. For Consumer Psychology I had 2 facilitations and now they are both done. The rules for the facilitations these time were really demanding and we had some troubles with ideas for the second one but it went well. For Organizational Learning I am doing a group work and then two home assignments. In my opinion, I find this semester at the end much more stressful because all the assignments have to be handed in in the next two weeks and I would have liked it more if some of them were already this week or last week. Otherwise, when you want to focus on one thing, you still have the other things in mind as well… At least in Service Management the group work assignment was handed in 2 weeks before the exam and not during the week of the exam where no one really has the time for it.

Other then that, I’ve been to the cinema with my fellow flatmates and we watched Fantastic Beasts Part 2. Nice movie, but I expected a little bit more action. And I was once again in Amsterdam for one weekend to celebrate my very first Thanksgiving with another exchange student from the U.S. She had also some other friends in Amsterdam, so it was a company of 8 people. We had some live music and later we played some games.

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Well, it was a nice experience! Being at a different university whilst I just got adapted to CBS, was quite a challenge but I think I managed well. Now, however, I need to focus on finishing all the assignments and prepare for the Consumer Psychology exam.

To anyone who wants to be an exchange student at Maastricht University – I highly recommend it! Yet, really manage your time quite well because the last two weeks will usually be very stressful with all the assignments and exam preparations! Oh, and probably visit more of the city – I was usually somewhere in between Maastricht and Amsterdam and most of the time when I was here I focused on studying 😉

Good luck and best wishes,

Nastia

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The second semester

Dear readers,

I hope you have a fantastic weekend! My weekend was full of train rides as I went to Amsterdam and The Hague. Nevertheless, before I write about that, let me go back to the weeks before. I must say, however, that this blog post will be without any photos as I barely made any within those weeks… And as the weather in The Hague was rainy then the photos turned out to be very grey and dark…

So, during my last blog I wrote about the preparations for the exams and am I happy that they are done. I do not know whether I passed them all as I will get my second grade tomorrow (yeah, you have to wait 15 working days but there is a slight chance you get them earlier and I did get lucky with Service Management). The whole exam process is here totally different from I what I am used to – to me it looked more like my trial state exams in Estonia. During my Bachelor all my exams took place at EBS in the classroom and we were usually 15-20 people there. At CBS I had only one written exam and that time we had to go to a specific location where about 60 (maybe more?) people gathered to do only that specific exam. Furthermore, it was all on the computer and we could use all our books/notes and even the Internet. Here however, it is some sort of a big event where everyone goes to a specific location and multiple exams are taken at one time simultaneously. It was a little bit overwhelming the first time and it made me even more nervous because it looked more as if my life really depended on that day. Basically, about 150+ people sit in one big hall and do there exams, no computers, everything must be written by hand. With this I had also a problem as after 1,5 hours my hand got stiff because I never write for this long… My first exam took place on Monday and after that one I had a serious headache because we were asked a lot of questions and all the topics got covered. And the second exam took place on Wednesday. This one was a multiple choice and open-end questions exam but still I consider this one to be easier than the first one. After that I just went back to Amsterdam but I did not do much the 3,5 days as I felt that my energy level just dropped and I just wanted to rest.

And then on the 29th the second period already started. Things went really fast. This semester I have Consumer Psychology and Organizational Learning. Both are totally different courses and I must say that they also differ from my last ones. In Organizational Learning I will not have a final written exam, instead I have two home-assignments and a group work. Furthermore, there are no facilitations and only six tutorials about the topics. All the other meetings are either guest lectures or feedback sessions (which I find pretty cool because you get feedback on your home and group assignments and here you can understand whether you are on the right track). Consumer Psychology is interesting but also a little bit hard for me as they focus more on the research methods and I thought that the focus will be more on the psychology of the consumers. As I never had statistics, sometimes reading the articles takes a lot of time. In the first 3 sessions we had lectures about the research methods and on Friday we had our first tutorial where we just did an introduction round and presented some presentations. In the next tutorials we only have facilitations. There are four teams in total and each team has to do two facilitations. And I am Team 1, so I am the lucky one 🙂 I cannot really say a lot about the courses as they still are in the beginning of the semester so I have to see how it goes further.

Other than that, I visited a fair this weekend in The Hague where I got the opportunity to talk to companies that helps expats with job search. As my plan is to stay in Amsterdam after the exchange because I will be also writing my master thesis here, then I was also thinking of getting a part-time job in the field of marketing. And of course, I also visited this time more the city center of The Hague as last time I was only at the beach. During my childhood we went often to The Hague but to be honest I could not really remember anything about the city center and it was really nice! It was raining a little bit but luckily it stopped pretty fast, yet the sky was grey throughout the whole day…

Furthermore, I totally forgot that today the carnival started and when I arrived to Maastricht in the evening I first did not really understand what was going on and why so many people were wearing costumes. As far as I know this carnival is not celebrated in the north and I have heard a lot of stories about it in Berlin but there it is also not celebrated. Yet, even though I am back here, it is only for 3,5 days as I am going for a trip to Oslo next weekend! So, next time there are definitely going to be a lot of pictures and interesting stories to tell! Stay tuned 🙂

The study experience

Dear readers,

warm greetings from Maastricht. As of last time, a lot has happened and with it the time flew by very quickly. As a matter of fact, already in about a week I will have my exams for the first period.

When I posted my last blog, I was actually on my way to Tilburg for two events: an interview and a concert. I arrived in Tilburg on the 13th September at 15:00 and had a chance to visit shortly the city center, which is quite small, I guess? I did not have much time, to be honest as the doors opened for the interview event at 19:30, and before that I decided to rest a little bit and have a nice dinner at a local café. The event itself was pretty interesting as Mark Jansen told about his life how he started his music projects. There were also video interviews with the people he works with and at the end, there was a short concert (30 minutes). That was really cool! I actually thought that the event would last only about 90 minutes but it ended around 23:30 so I was pleasantly surprised. However, I was kind of tired and could not wait to be in bed as fast as possible as the next day I had another concert to attend to.

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Now the next day was a blast! My friend from Estonia came to Tilburg as well to be part of the historic day. Namely, it was the Kamelot concert which was also recorded on video. In the morning we could already see some people with Kamelot T-shirts but as the day passed, you could see more and more people with those. Somehow, the time passed just too quickly. We did a short tour in the city center and then decided to have lunch, and at 16:30 we were already at the doors of 013. We had the VIP Experience tickets, which meant that we had early access to the concert area and had a chance for a Meet and Greet with the band. It had to start at 17:00 but sadly, for some reasons, we only got in at 17:20, so in the end it all felt a little bit rushed but the experience as a whole (with the concert) was really awesome! I really cannot wait for the Blu-ray/DVD to come out.

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We spent the weekend in Amsterdam and then I was back in Maastricht.

Now, I am really surprised that two subjects can take this much time. For the past few weeks, I had two projects to finish, one facilitation, some presentations and lots of workshops (mainly Service Management). The classes are interesting, however for me, Cognitive Psychology of Decision Making is also a hard subject, which I did not expect it to be. The facilitation in this subject went actually pretty well and I was happy that I teamed up with another student. I think in most sessions there are two people facilitating, at least up until now there were only two times were one person did it.

Facilitation means that you are responsible for the whole discussion and lecture (2 hours). This includes that you have to prepare the slides, know the articles very well, have some interactive exercises such as quizzes and keep the time. However, as a facilitator, you should not present the whole topic in a lecture-based way. You should prepare questions and the other students should answer them and have a discussion about the specific problems they find important. In Cognitive Psychology of Decision Making we also have in every tutorial two presentations. The students who are responsible for it, are assigned one article, have to read it, prepare a presentation and a one A4 page summary and present the outcomes of the experiments in 5 minutes. It sounds easy but if the paper is 7 pages long (or even longer), it might be quite a hard task to do because sometimes you have a feeling that everything is important. I had one presentation this week and one to come next week. Furthermore, as one of the main assignments is the Research Proposal, students must find partners themselves within the whole course group. (in some cases you are only allowed to do group work within your tutorial group). I think this is hard for Erasmus Exchange students as we barely know anyone and we only see the other students two times a week. Moreover, the teacher himself told us that it is better to have a mix of business and psychology people in the group but that was also not really feasible. In the end, I got lucky with my group. We did finish our proposal, even though 2 of us are Erasmus students and none of us have a deep psychology background.

In Service Management there are only discussion leaders. Usually the set-up is: 1 hour of workshop/role-play and 1 hour of discussion. Up until now I did not figure out what the discussion leader has to do as, in my opinion, most of them did it in a facilitation way. It is not needed to prepare a presentation but all of them had one and some had interactive exercises as well. Thus, I was happy that here not everyone had to be a discussion leader as some of the tutorials were meant for the preparing for the project or exam or it was a whole workshop tutorial. The project for this lecture is based on a company and we have to prepare a consultancy report. The groups are assigned by the tutors or the course coordinators before the first lecture. The winning teams have then the possibility of going to the HQ of the company and present their ideas. Nevertheless, as this event takes places 4 days before the exam, not many of us want to win…. Basically the idea is to think of a new service model and this might be tough as it depends on the company you will get. In the end, we started with our project in the beginning of September and finished it last week by sitting in the library from 9:00 to 17:00. I think I never sat in a library this long! And thankfully we were not in the UM library as I have heard there are too many people there and the atmosphere might seem depressing. Instead we were in Center Ceramique, where it was quite relaxing, however we did not really relax there…

Other than that, the whole study method is quite different from CBS and I feel more pressure here than in Copenhagen. Also, here we have 2 hours of lectures/tutorials (5-10 min breaks) whereas there we usually had 90 minutes (and within 10-15 minutes of break). We do have there also the case study classes which last for 2 hours but then we have about a 30 minute break divided into two parts (15 + 15 minutes). And participation never counts. It is also tough to figure out how to study for the exams and we basically only have the weekend and then immediately the first exam, one day off, next exam. Basically, you need to study and memorize everything on-the-go which is sometimes not easy as theories gets mixed up. Whereas at CBS the exam period lasts about 2 months (Dec-Jan) and most of the exams are usually home-based which means you need to write a project paper alone or with a group. I had only one written exam where we could use all the books and our notes and even the Internet and one oral exam where we had 15 minutes preparation with all the books. Thus, studying everything by heart has been long forgotten by me, haha. 

Well, until next time in November where I will have my other two subjects 😉 

The first two weeks in Maastricht

Dear readers,

welcome to Maastricht – the city which is located in the province of Limburg and where I will spend the next 3,5 months of studying. I came here on the 29th August as the Orientation Days (which are mandatory) took place on the 30th and 31st August. As I moved from Amsterdam, then I decided to go by train and it usually takes about 2,5 hours, however, during my last few rides it took me more than 3 hours as there was always something cancelled due to the road issues.

Anyway, when I arrived I did not have the pick-up service even though the ISN Maastricht offered it through its Facebook page. I decided to go by bus as it took only 5 stops in order to get to the main building of the Guesthouse in order to get the keys. Although finding the Guesthouse was at first tricky, several students helped me along the way (the bus stop is not next to the Guesthouse). After registering at the main building and getting the keys (you will also get a goody bag – this time it was a stroopwafel, a Maastrichthousing drink bottle and a fanta (ugh, do not really care about that)), they offered me their own taxi service for free so that I will not go on foot to my new flat. Theoretically speaking, it is only max. 10 minutes away from the main building but with the luggage I had, it would have taken me much longer, so I was glad Maastricht Housing offered this option to me.

When I finally reached my new “home”, I met my flatmates with whom I will be living for the next months. Maybe by the end of this year I will speak a little bit Italian as they are all from Italy 😀 Furthermore, I was surprised how big the room was (yeah, for the past year I have been living in quite small rooms) and thankfully it is furnitured with everything a student needs: a table, a wardrobe, a bookshelf, a bed, a small table and even a sink (so no fights for the bathroom in the morning if someone just wants to brush his/her teeth, haha).

Now then, after a short introduction among ourselves, we went to the see the city and searched for the location of SBE. And, of course, we got somehow lost and it took us longer than it should have had (a pretty normal situation when you arrive in a new city, right?). After that, as ISN Maastricht was also hosting several events during the intro week, we decided to go to the barbeque party. Sadly, the weather was really strange that day and the whole party got cancelled (it was raining five minutes, then it stopped, then it rained again etc). So, we just spend the evening in our flat and whilst cooking we also triggered the alarm (it is super loud but it seems we need to get accustomed to it as it is very sensitive!). Luckily, no police or fire fighters came, otherwise that would have been an awkward start.

On the 30th August the registration started at 8.30. And the first part of the day was quite theoretical. It took place in a big lecture hall (probably the biggest one in SBE) and it was just about welcoming all the exchange students and some information in regards to PBL and the Dutch culture. Afterwards, everyone was split into groups and there was a lunch, a campus tour and a short city tour.

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Our group in the city centre of Maastricht 🙂

As I signed up for the buddy program, there was a dinner with our whole buddy group. We got to know each other and we had some nice conversations and a nice meal 😀 For example, I had a very delicious chicken burger with some tasty french fries:

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On the 31st August, there was a short PBL session with the same group from the 30th August in order to see how the tutorials at SBE work. However, I must say that the so-called case study was a little bit too broad and I am not so sure it really showed us the full potential of the PBL system. In the PBL system there are 7 steps that the students go through, but even our tutor mentioned that it is mostly in the first Bachelor year and less in the following study years. Also, my current courses which are Service Management and Cognitive Psychology of Decision Making, do have a part of the PBL system but some sessions will be different. After the 2 hour trial, there was a lunch and then I took off to the central station as I needed to go to Amsterdam to pick up some of my additional belongings.

During the weekend I managed to meet one of my friends from Copenhagen who decided to study in Amsterdam. We have not seen each other for quite a while so we had a lot of catching up to do whilst eating some good food at a nice bar at Leidseplein. Moreover, we went to Van Stapele Koekmakerij which only has one sort of cookie (and man, I love cookies) but it was really delicious and the queue to get in there is also extremely long! So, if you are in Amsterdam, definitely visit it – I guarantee you that you will not regret it 😉 

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I came back on the 2nd September, just one day before my lectures started. The first sessions are of course more focused on introducing the course, however, in Service Management we had to prepare immediately a presentation in a group for the first tutorial. It seemed like a quick-start, you barely know anything about what is going to happen but you already need to prepare quite a bit for the first meeting where we had a role play. Also, in Service Management we will only have tutorials whereas in Cognitive Psychology it is both lectures and tutorials. In the latter one we will also have facilitations and not a discussion leader as in in the first course I chose to take. More about the specific processes and roles in my next post.

Other than that, during the first weekend in Maastricht there was the PAS (Pleasure, Art & Science) festival organized by Maastricht University which is completely free to attend for everyone. There is a huge variety of events such as concerts, lectures or dance and theater performances going on which may not be too long (15-25 minutes) but they all have a nice atmosphere. On both days the event started at 19:00 and during the first day (Friday) I stayed there until midnight listening to some good music and before that I attended also two lectures. The second day was more theoretical as I went to four different lectures and ended up being at a short concert.

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From upper left: Meloduo, Reinis Young, Equilibrium Quartet, Josh Island.

Now, the second week was already more intense as we have to form groups for several projects and read a lot of articles for the tutorials. Despite all that, I still enjoy my current stay here and I really like the city as it is small and has a nice charm to it. 

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Introduction and the time in Amsterdam

Heya there! It does not matter whether you are currently studying at Maastricht University or whether you are thinking of coming here in the future as an exchange student, everyone is welcome to read my short blog about my experiences at the university and Maastricht/the Netherlands overall. And I really hope that you will enjoy the ride with me 🙂

First things first, let me introduce myself and tell you the story behind my decision about going on exchange. My name is Nastia and I am doing my Masters degree at the Copenhagen Business School with a specialization in Intercultural Marketing. However, Denmark is not my country of origin as you could probably tell from my full name. I was born in Moscow, but I still consider myself an Estonian as I spent 10 years of my life there. I also finished my secondary and high school, and got my Bachelor degree in Tallinn. Plus, I have an Estonian nationality. Nevertheless, there is once again a twist here – I spent most of my childhood in Amsterdam. And to be more precise, it was from age 4 to 9,5. Furthermore, I lived one year in Brussels when I was 2 years old (and yeah, I do not remember anything about that) and 3 years in Berlin where I worked before doing the Masters degree.

As you can see, I moved a lot during my life and it is really hard to answer the question: Where are you from? To be honest, I will ask you first whether you want the short or the long version of my story. In the end, I am a mixture of all these cultures and as I am a big fan of Japan, then that culture also plays a part in me. And some of you are probably thinking why did I choose to go on exchange and why the Netherlands if I already have spent here my childhood. Well, tough question or maybe not? I always told myself that I will never go on Eramus exchange (never say never) but here I am. Probably one of the reasons was that it was the last chance of having this opportunity and the second might be that already during October last year I felt that I wanted to go back to the Netherlands. I guess, my nostalgia hit me really hard there. And when they had in Netto (a grocery shop in Copenhagen) Chocomel for 1 week in February, this was when it really struck me that I have the chance of going back there while being a student.

I had only 4 days left to apply and of course a lot of universities were already taken. I spent a few hours deciding between different Dutch universities and finally put Maastricht as my number one choice due to the PBL system (more about that later when I start studying). After that I had some application procedures and when that was finished, I also reserved a room through maastrichthousing.com website. It is true, that the prices are higher than when searching for rooms through FB but at that point I thought it would be nice to experience also the guest house atmosphere. And it is much easier to choose quickly a room if you really like it as the process of booking is very simple.

Now let us fast forward the time a little bit. I did not arrive to Maastricht immediately (in fact I will arrive there tomorrow). Instead, I decided to spend almost the whole August in Amsterdam and get some things done as I will come back later here to write my master thesis. During this month, I visited some of my childhood places like the Rivierenbuurt (where my school was located), Amstelpark (where I used to play minigolf and just hang out with my schoolmates) and of course the city centre. I also visited a lot of shopping centres such as Gelderlandplein and Amstelveen Shopping Mall to see what has changed and where which shops are located. In the beginning of August, whilst visiting the city centre, I also went to the cinema called Pathé. I wanted to see Mission Impossible: Fallout and lucky me, it had only started 5 minutes ago (which meant they only started showing the ads). Without hesitation I bought the ticket without looking that it was a 4D IMAX experience thus explaining the fact why the ticket was so extremely expensive. I got to the correct cinema hall and when I finally sat down, it showed that you have to put on your 3D glasses and all of sudden it got really windy and water dropped from above and the chair started moving. I was really shocked at the first moment but then I got accustomed to it (especially the feeling of being punched behind!). To tell you the truth, it was fun but I am not sure I would want to see movies in 4D in the future. It actually distracts a little bit from watching.

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The Anne Frank Montessori School where I spent five years of my primary education.

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This is a labyrinth in the Amstelpark. I used to know the exact escape route after doing it many times but now I am pretty sure I will get lost 😀

 

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Amstelpark is a really nice place to relax, especially when the weather is so good as the day when I was there. You can play minigolf,  just walk and enjoy the atmosphere or see the animals that they have there.
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Sushi at Genroku – some quality time with a childhood friend of mine 😉

Also, get an OV card as soon as you come here (does not matter which city) as you can travel with that anywhere you want to but you need to have at least 20 euros if you go by train to another city within the Netherlands. With the OV card, I made a trip to Scheveningen in Den Haag on a beautiful Saturday morning and spent there a whole day near the beach and later walking along the shore until it got somehow really cold around 17:00. In one cafeteria I ate Poffertjes – one of the traditional treats in the Netherlands. They taste like pancakes and who says no to that? Well, definitely not me 😉

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Really loved the sculptures. They weren’t there before.

I also managed to go to Rotterdam to meet a friend from my childhood. First I made a tour by myself in the city centre as she was still working. But when we met, we had some nice time eating Ramen and a Japanese dessert. At the end of August we managed to meet again but this time in Leiden.

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Yes, I am a sculpture fanatic, haha. Anyway, the stroopwafel was really good. I usually buy them in the grocery stores but this one was special as it was freshly baked 😀
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No sculptures this time but churches – welcome to Leiden 🙂
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The beautiful windmill of Leiden.
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And how can I not add a photo of eating fried fries with mayo 😉

Well, this is it for my first post. August was fine and relaxing but now it is slowly the time to get into the study mood. As of tomorrow I will be in Maastricht and I will write more about how it goes there in a few weeks 🙂 Hope you enjoyed the post and did not feel too hungry at the end 😉