Student Experience

[Netherland] Erasmus University Rotterdam 21-1 할리온 간수해

2021.10.10 Views 179 할리온 간수해

1. EUR Introduction

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) is a very prestigious university not in just Netherlands, but Europe. Especially, Rotterdam School of Management (RSM), the business college of EUR, is considered as one of the top 5 business schools in Europe. RSM is located in Rotterdam which is the second largest city and the business hub of the Netherlands. Due to COVID-19, EUR has decided to conduct all of its classes online and because the pandemic situation at the time of my dispatch was very serious I have decided to take my exchange semester from my home country Mongolia. Therefore, my review about my exchange semester would be mostly focused on the academics.

2. Curriculum and academics

I was dispatched in Trimester 2 of RSM, which lasts from the start of January to the end of March. Originally, I was planning to be dispatched for 2020-2 semester but I have delayed it to 2021, hoping the COVID-19 situation would improve. The academic year at EUR consists of 3 trimesters which is very different from our university's 2 semester system. Oddly, Trimester 1 is similar to our fall semester and lasts for 4 months, while Trimesters 2&3 last for 3 months and the terms breaks between these trimesters is very short. During dispatch, I met exchange students from other universities who were dispatched for the duration of both Trimesters 2&3 or even a whole year, but for our university's case students who chose to be dispatched for 2021-1 semester were given the option to choose either Trimester 2 or Trimester 3. (more on this in the course registration section).

3. Course registration

A few weeks before the trimester starts the international office sent me an e-mail with a list of courses that I could choose from. The process is that you download the file, mark the courses that you wish to take and send it back to the office and the office would register you automatically later. I was personally unsatisfied with the registration process, because the list of the courses that they have offered was very limited. They offer a lot of basic courses like finance and economics, which I as a junior year student have already taken at our university so I was not qualified to take almost half of the courses and some of the others had conflicting time schedules. In the end, I have ended up with 5 courses out of which one course (a course I was the most excited about) was cancelled because the professor could not be reached. That course name was International Business and it was focused mostly on Netherlands.
Now about the point I have mentioned earlier about being dispatched for 2 trimesters, some of the courses that were offered were designed to last for 2 trimesters thus I was not eligible to take those either. Those were very interesting courses that had a lot of practical tasks in them hence had more credits than regular courses. In the end, I ended up being short of the minimum credit requirement from our university, but since I had a valid reason I was allowed to still take my exchange program.
In the end, the courses I took at RSM were:
a) Spreadsheet Modelling (3ECTS or 1.5 KU credits)
This was the course I enjoyed the most. It has very small credits and is a purely practical course. This course is about learning to solve various business problems on Excel and we have explored most of Excel’s functions. The content of the classes was not hard, but the practice problems that the professor gave us were very complex and challenging and that was what I enjoyed about the course, because it didn’t ask you plainly what you have learned in class A to Z, but you had to find your way of solving the problem by mixing and matching everything you have learned, plus by applying your logic and creativity. The course mostly focused on self-learning, the professor doesn’t give lectures, instead you have live workshops coordinated by TAs every 1-2 weeks, and posted links to YouTube videos explaining the concepts and practice questions in a quiz form. One quiz would consist of around 5-6 questions, which sometimes took me 2 hours to complete. Highly recommend this course.
b) Business Law (4ECTS or 2 KU credits)
This was another course which I found worth taking because there is no equivalent course in our university. It introduces us to basic business law and concepts and we did several case studies and a group project. Taking this course was like first entering business school, where you did not know any of the business terminology and had to re-read your textbook several times to really understand it. So I struggled a bit at first because there were so many law terminologies but the professor gave us a vocabulary list that explained all of the terminologies with simple English. The group project was what I found the most interesting, it was a 48-hour case analysis task so as a team we had only 48-hours to complete it after it was posted. Highly recommend as well.
c) Human Resource Management (
This course is very similar to Personnel Management at our university. We had two case studies during the course which focused on gender diversity at workplace and minority inclusion, and I have gained some new perspective on these issues. Our group project was focused on these two issues and we had to do a lot of literature study to provide solutions to companies that faced these issues. It was very interesting, because I have realized how seriously RSM students valued academic works and strictly followed the format of referencing. Every one of us divided literary texts and read them to come up with solutions. In this course, I have learned a lot about proper referencing and became aware of the APA format more, like it changes periodically and how researchers have to follow the latest edition of the APA book. And there were such small details, such as having to put references in alphabetical order, putting only the writer’s last name in in-text citations, etc.
d) Supply Chain Management
This course is about managing both upstream and downstream supply chain of a company, it teaches about inventory management, distribution channels, forecasting, outsourcing, etc. Overall, I did not have a deep impression on this course as it was very generic and similar at what we have at KU, nevertheless it was interesting to learn about some interesting practices done in Netherlands. Recommend for those who don’t know much about operations management.
In addition, resorted to taking classes from other majors in order to gain more credits, in my case it was EUR’s media school’s IBCoM (International Bachelor of Communication and Media). An interesting fact about EUR’s programs is that each major department at EUR has its own academic calendar, meaning trimesters 2 for two different majors have different dates. I chose courses from IBCoM because its start and end dates were the most similar to RSM’s and started in February and ended in mid-April. For the registration, I had to do it by myself and you simply fill out a form listing 5 courses you want to take in order of preference and you get one based on the seats available. It is very different from our school’s registration system and received the results after around a week.

4. Student activities
Before the semester began we had a Zoom orientation session where the international team introduced us to EUR and then we played some really fun team games. Most of the communication between students went through WhatsApp, and even though the program was online a lot of exchange students came the Rotterdam. They contacted each other through WhatsApp group chat and hang out with each other around Rotterdam, so I still think it would be worthwhile to visit Rotterdam even if the exchange program goes online.
After the Trimester ended there were some workshops that I could participate in, which were about how to apply for jobs, developing your future career. I participated in a workshop about how to develop your resume and cover letter. It was very informative and helpful.

5. Overall impression

If it was not for COVID-19, I felt that going to RSM would have been a much immersive experience as you had to experience the culture and get a chance to travel around and meet new people. As an online exchange student, one of the difficulties I faced was the time-zone difference which was 7 hours. One of the classes had a session that started at 1 am and finished at 2:30 am. But most of the classes were pre-recorded lectures so I did not have to listen to it at class time. And on one group project I was teamed up with a student from Brazil, so when we had an online call one of us had to stay at night while the other one had to do it in the morning.
I am very satisfied with what I was able to learn from the classes and I would say the quality of education at RSM is very good and most of it emphasized self-learning and practical application of learned things. Even though, my exchange was online I was able to make a lot of new friends through team projects and we keep contact with each other on SNS. I really wish I could have gone to Netherlands but I really hope I would be able to visit it someday in the future.