The perfect exchange: Mariska Maessen in Canada

Mariska Maessen
Mariska Maessen

The perfect exchange

Name: Mariska Maessen.
Age: 21.
Study: Master in Marketing Research.
Exchange destination: Canada

The most important reason for Mariska to go to Canada was the fact that the main language spoken over there was English. “I was also attracted to Canada, because you can easily travel around by yourself there.” And that is what she did; she travelled before, during and after her exchange to every coast of Canada and she even found time to visit New York and Boston after her exchange.

Mariska definitely does not regret going to Canada for her exchange, but she was surprised by the work load over there: “It was very different from Tilburg University and I had to get used to that. I had plenty library time and there were many assignments. The teachers over there are really good, though, and there was a great deal of interactions with the students.” Mariska is convinced that you probably would learn more in Canada than here in the Netherlands at Tilburg University. Still, she found time to party: “Your time there is very limited, so you have to make time to do everything you want to do. Here in the Netherlands, people cancel all the time because of homework and because of a busy schedule; there you go to the activities either way, busy schedule or not.”

Mariska made many friends over there in a short amount of time, but even though the Canadians are sincere people, she bonded mostly with other exchange students. “I did have Canadian housemates, but I was not at home that often. Still, the Canadians are very genuine, when they see you holding a map they will immediately offer to help you find your way.”

“Housing is mostly the hardest thing to organize, before going on exchange.” Mariska told me. “I did not apply for the University housing, because I thought it was pretty expensive. I happened to find a house for $400 a month via Facebook by chance, but the average cost of housing would be around $600 a month.” If she would had another chance to go on exchange she would probably go to Scandinavia or Australia: “Australia is quite costly, if I would compare it, Australia is expensive and Canada is between the Netherlands and Australia regarding expensiveness. Overall, I did not really keep track of my expenses over there.” Since clubbing was expensive over there as well, Mariska mainly went to house parties.

To every doubting student at Tilburg University, Mariska would like to say: “Just go on exchange, it is a great experience. I would recommend Canada as well, because I generally liked it very much, even though I had to work hard.”

At the end of our interview, Mariska stated that she does not believe that there is a perfect exchange: “You always have high expectations at the beginning and therefor there will always be something you do not completely like or disagree with. Everywhere is different and every place might surprise you.” She does want to give a tip however: “Make it easy on yourself; go out, meet people and have fun!”

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