Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) In a Nutshell
Choosing where to call home for your next four months abroad can be incredibly intimidating. When I finally decided on Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) at Erasmus University in the Netherlands, I initially wasn’t sure if it was the right decision. With so many great exchange schools to choose from at Ohio State, I was concerned that the decision I made wasn’t the right choice for me.
A few months before my departure, I learned that the courses that were available at RSM were changing. As a result, every course previously noted as being transferable for OSU credit was irrelevant. As an exchange student, this was incredibly stressful. When you are constantly reminded that your classes may not transfer back to Ohio State, you're secretly hoping that doesn’t apply to you. With all of this stress, I arrived at RSM with a… not so great mindset. The minimal amount of classes that were available for transfer credits, the stress of needing to make an appointment with IND (the Dutch government) for a residence permit, and the wait list to open up a Dutch bank account (IBN, required it for a residence permit), caused me to be in a panic.
All of that being said, my mind was instantly at ease when I arrived during orientation. The clear-cut instructions combined with meeting other international students who were facing the same problems helped me gather my sanity. Orientation helped settle my fears. After a campus tour and informational session on what to expect at RSM, I spent the rest of the day bonding with my group at the beach near Den Haag. We rock climbed, barbecued, wind-surfed, and grew closer as a group. By the end of the day, all of us had become friends and would sit with each other in our various classes.
Academically speaking, classes at RSM were structured very differently from OSU’s courses. Classes were about an hour and 45 minutes long, with a 15-minute "smoke break" in the middle. They were held twice a week, with a lecture and recitation session. Most of the courses only had 1-2 grading components – an exam and group assignment. Because of this structure, you would rarely find the lecture hall being filled more than 20%.
My favorite aspect of RSM’s courses were the group assignments. While they were strict with the deadlines and requirements, it gave me the ability to connect with and understand Dutch and international business practices fully. While I felt the pressure of exams, I knew I could rely on the review guides from the school shop.
My life at RSM was incredible. While the exams and group projects were challenging, I was able to pick and choose when to attend class and when to learn. The danger of self-paced courses is the ability to get behind quickly. However, my time studying abroad allowed me to travel all around Europe and spend time connecting with a wide range of students. Now, back at OSU, I am sad to no longer be able to call Rotterdam and RSM home.