The Humble Abode (Renting in NL)

Just a picture of my new room because I love it.

Rent is what constitutes a major chunk of your expenses when you’re living here in the NL. However, knowing that there is a possibility of receiving certain rental benefits is a real game changer. When I started digging about this, the information I found wasn’t really clear.  So, I decided to write it all down in this blog.

 

The Dutch Government provides the rental allowance to people if you satisfy certain conditions. The following link will be helpful to check the eligibility criteria.

https://www.belastingdienst.nl/wps/wcm/connect/nl/toeslagen/content/kan-ik-huurtoeslag-krijgen

The whole process of getting the allowance is a little time consuming and a tricky one, but patience bears the sweetest fruits. You would receive approximately 50% of your base rent as allowance. You pay the full rent first and then you receive the allowance from the Government into your bank account. You first check your eligibility for the allowance and then go ahead with creating a DigiD for yourself on https://mijn.toeslagen.nl/. Once you apply for the DigiD, you will receive an SMS and a letter by post (that is what I received in 2017) giving you an activation code that needs to be used to activate your account within five days. If you fail to do it on time, you need to repeat the process again.

Once DigiD is activated, you fill in the form on the website as per the numbers that are given on your contract and wait. It is be noted that you will NOT receive any allowance for your gas/water/light/internet usage. So, don’t include that amount in your application. It usually takes long (took me about four months) to get the whole thing processed for the first time. You could be asked to personally visit the tax office with a set of documents and submit it after which the application will be processed.

If you move, you submit your address change at:

 https://www.delft.nl/delften/Municipal_services/Reporting_a_change_of_address

It is forwarded to the to the tax authorities. Further, you will have to submit a change in the rent again but this time it will be hassle-free.

P.S: Always check your postal mailbox.

 

The Quarterly-Life @ TUD

New Year’s over and the Quarter 2 is almost coming to an end. Time passes by so quickly. The very first day of the quarter, you are all enthusiastic about a new beginning. It’s a fresh start. You attend all your lectures, do all your chores and life seems good. Within a month or two, you’re already prepping to write your exams.

This is the story of every student who has probably been in the semester system previously. You will always feel that the examination comes in so quickly! There is no time to take a break in between. If you need to score well, you need to be consistent with your studies. That is the case everywhere, but here, it is more fast-paced because of the quarterly system.

TU Delft is one of THE best places you could study in. The emphasis is on self-learning. The amount of effort that you put into learning a topic will determine how good you are going you will be at it. Every lecture is for two hours with a break of fifteen minutes in between. Lectures will be recorded so that you can go through it again if you didn’t understand it the first time. Lecture slides, homework, assignments, extra reading material, everything is made available on Brightspace. Good use of these materials will help ace a course easily.

Dept of Electrical Engineering (EWI)- TU Delft

A week before the examination is the study period. There are usually no lectures during that week. There are plenty of places on the campus that are open during the examination period to enable students to study in the college. The library is so far, the most popular choice of study, it will be open until 2am. But if it full, you could always go to Aula or EWI to study during the day. EWI has tables in the cafeteria, the ground floor and there is a study hall on the second floor. Recently, it has been decided to open some of the lecture halls during the exam period.

 

Library- TU Delft

These are the few things that you need to know before/after you have decided to come here. All is good, but I must mention that it takes a lot of consistency in studies to perform well in the exam. You need to be mentally prepared for that kind of work once you are here. It is not going to be easy, but it’s not impossible either.

(P.S The next article will be something more cheerful because exams will be over! Good luck studying!)

Winter Break

With almost a week left for the year to end, the whole of Delft is quiet. Two weeks of vacation has managed to get every single soul out of the city. Foreseeing this, I decided to go see the Christmas celebrations in Cologne and Brussels. I must say, the whole of Europe has amazing train connectivity. The trip was totally worth it.

Christmas Market- Cologne, Germany

Cologne has one of the world’s most famous Christmas Markets which is open until the 23rd/24th of December. The HUGE Christmas tree with every inch of it covered in lights leaves one dumbstruck. The aroma of the deep-fried food, the mulled wine, and the music can lift anyone’s Christmas spirits. A word of caution- none of these food stalls accept a card, so keep cash handy. The market has a lot of pretty Christmas souvenirs to take home. The weather being cold, beautiful handwoven woolen scarfs, caps and gloves that are for sale tempt your soul to buy them.

Christmas, however, is a family holiday and most of the places shut down around that time. This is the case with the whole of Europe I believe. However, all the stores, museums resume activities again the day after Christmas. It would always be wise to plan a trip bearing this in mind so that you aren’t disappointed when the activities are shut down.

Chocolate Manneken Pis and the gorgeous Waffles- Brussels

Post-Christmas, I had the chance to visit Brussels and Antwerp. Both the cities left me in awe of their beauty. Brussels has almost every tourist attraction at a walkable distance from the city center. The most amusing place for me was the Manneken Pis. It is basically the statue of a boy who is peeing into a pond. He is dressed up in various costumes. You wouldn’t believe it if I told you that there is an entire gallery that houses all the costumes that he has been dressed to date. The neighborhood of this statue is filled with waffles stores. It would be a crime to not try it. It is food for the soul.

 

Grand Place, Brussels

Antwerp managed to make it to my list of the best shopping destinations. The street just outside the station is a shopper’s paradise. You will find probably every possible brand of clothing and a wide variety of choices for food too. The Thai wok just outside the station is a must-try food. (P.S the quantity  is too much).

With these three places, my short trip came to an end and I am all geared up for the upcoming year!