A Day in the Life Studying Abroad in the Netherlands

Guest Post By: Victoria Ecker, a Full-Time MBA Candidate. She is a Global Business Center Study Abroad Scholarship Recipient, and she studied abroad through Foster MBA Exchange at the Rotterdam School of Management in Rotterdam, Netherlands during Winter Quarter 2024.

Goedemorgen! Lace up your worn-in white sneakers, hop on your Swapfiets bike, and come hang out with me for a day in the Netherlands.

8am: I’m in the Airbnb I share with 2 of my classmates. We found the coziest apartment in Blijdorp (pronounced bly-dorp), a residential neighborhood tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Rotterdam’s city center. I gently wake to the sound of birds in our backyard garden. Opening the living room curtains, I see the canal that winds its way through our neighborhood and notice the beginnings of cherry blossoms on the tree in the front yard. Most mornings, I start my day with yoga, or a run along the canal. I run in parallel with it for 2miles to Het Park, a beautiful park near the iconic Euromast. From there, I could stop for an espresso in the park, or work my way back home and stop at Roast- home of my favorite oat milk latte in the city.

9am: On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I get ready for school, as those are the only days I have class. Days without class, I head out of town with friends for daytrips to places within the Netherlands such as Utrecht, The Hague, Zaandam, or Amsterdam.

I prepare breakfast with ingredients from Albert Heijn that I rode home with in my bike basket the night before. As I dress, I keep in mind the 8-mile roundtrip bike commute. Whether sunny and blue skies, or pouring down rain, the bike lanes are always full of commuters who have opted to forego use of a car or public transit. The roads are mercifully flat, and the bike lanes operate as their own streets, with bike-specific stop lights and frequent use of hand signals- complete with the familiar realization that some ‘drivers’ are better than others at signaling.

11am: After parking my bike alongside hundreds of others, I head to my Sustainable Business Models class where my team gets to work on a project with a Dutch company as we expand our global perspective on corporate sustainability. After lunch on campus with friends, several of us head to our marketing class focused on pricing and creating value. After a full day of learning, it’s time to bike around town and explore.

6pm: In our free time, we love exploring the food vendors at the popular Markthal and popping into nearby vintage clothing shops. The Netherlands as a country is very focused on sustainability. Every electric train in the Netherlands is 100% wind-powered, you will find vegetarian options anywhere you eat, and they have a thriving vintage scene that gives pre-loved clothes a new life. As a vegetarian, someone who cares deeply about the environment, and someone who loves to shop… this seemed like the perfect place for me!

7pm: In the evenings, after finishing our homework, we make dinner or go out. There is no shortage of bars and restaurants to try, but we also love making dinner together, debriefing about our day, and planning weekend trips.

8pm: As much as I enjoyed cozy evenings at home in Rotterdam, I also loved going to Amsterdam for day, or overnight, trips. Out of all the evenings in Amsterdam, my favorite was spent walking leisurely along the canals. Lights illuminating the bridges and softly reflecting in the water, people whizzing by on bikes, the crisp, late winter air lingering- just as I wished to. But it was time for Spring to come, the tulips needed to bloom, and I had to return to Seattle. Yet still, when I drift off to sleep, I find myself returning to the canals.