7 universities in 2 countries in 12 days

Can you visit 7 universities in 2 countries in 12 days? Sure, you can. We did just that in May 2019.

We visited 2 countries:

  • The Netherlands
  • Sweden

5 universities in the Netherlands:

We visited 5 universities in the Netherlands

2 universities in Sweden:

  • KTH Royal Institute of Technology
  • Lund University
We visited 2 universities in Sweden.

Scroll all the way down for more information on how to apply to colleges in the Netherlands and in Sweden.

In the Netherlands we also managed stroll a bit around Maastricht and Delft, and take sightseeing day trips to Rotterdam and The Hague.

In Sweden, we also took a shuttle ferry trip in Stockholm, and in addition to just strolling around Lund, we visited a museum and a botanic garden.

Altogether we spent under $3,500 total for the entire trip, including flights from Boston and back, trains, flight to Stockholm from Amsterdam, flight to Malmo, train to Copenhagen, lodging and food.

We went out a couple of times but most of the time we bought and cooked our own food.

Here’s how we did it.

Day 1 – Flight to Europe (Lisbon, Portugal)

Day 1 shouldn’t really count, because that’s the day we got on the plane in the evening to land in Lisbon in the morning, but technically that was the day we started our trip.

We flew TAP Air Portugal and paid $52 extra for each of us on the transcontinental part to have a bit more leg room. I was a bit apprehensive about the extra expense, but it was worth it. 🙂

Would you pay $52 extra to be able to stretch your legs?

I was also pleasantly surprised to realize that our BOS-AMS $185 (one-way) fare included a meal as well! (Sure, it’s just “airplane food” but it was actually quite good and I liked the real, metal utensils.)

Day 2 – Lisbon – Amsterdam – Eindhoven (TU/e)

We landed in Lisbon (Portugal) at 4:05am Eastern US time (ouch).

It was nice to see at the Lisbon Aiport strollers waiting for the disembarking passengers to use while getting around the airport.

I sure could have used a service like that when the kids were smaller – I remember one time when I was switching at London Heathrow and my stroller was not brought to the gate but simply sent with the rest of the baggage to be loaded onto the next train. I had to carry my two-year-old all the way through the airport, and if you’ve ever been to Heathrow, you know it’s huge, so that was no fun at all.

After a 3-hour layover we got on the 3-hour flight to Amsterdam Schiphol airport. This time we had much less legroom. 🙁

much less legroom between Lisbon and and Amsterdam

but at least we got sort of breakfast, even though it was a pretty short flight.

TAP Air Portugal gives snacks on shorter flights too.

We landed at Amsterdam Schipol 7:05am Eastern US time or 13:05 European time and headed to the train station to take a train to Eindhoven. Each of us had just a backpack and a small carry on to make traveling easier.

Direct trains from Amsterdam to Eindhoven are every half an hour, the trip takes 1 hour 25 minutes and cost € 21.10 each (roughly $24.00).

The Dutch trains are on time and the seats are pretty comfortable and have a tray mounted on the back on the seat in front. The NS Plan your journey site makes it really easy to plan your trip and know how much it’s going to cost and from which track it’s going to depart.

After arriving at our AirBnB apartment and a short nap, we headed out to meet a TU/e student majoring in applied physics. She was a daughter of a friend of a friend so we took her out to dinner. That was one of just three times we went out to eat. That meal (for three people) cost us about $45.00.

By the way, the two-bedroom AirBnB where we stayed cost us around $121 per night. Not exactly cheap, but it was one of the cheapest two-bedroom places that I could find that was still within reasonable distance to the university.

As it was end of May and the days were pretty long (plus we were jet lagged) we wandered around TU/e for a bit that evening.

See my prior blog post “TU/e – Eindhoven University of Technology (college tours series)” for more information about TU/e.

Day 3 – Eindhoven (TU/e) – Maastricht (Maastricht University)

On the third day my son met a student from the TU/e student information team from the Applied Physics department who gave him a tour of the campus while I hung out at the library.

slightly crooked view into the lower levels of the TU/e library.

Then we headed for a full day to Maastricht.

Trains from Eindhoven to Maastricht depart every half an hour, the trip takes about an hour, and costs €18.20 (about $20).

dozens of bicycles in front of the Maastricht University Library

We decided to go to Maastricht just a few days before the trip, so we didn’t have any appointments set up. We just showed up at the departments my son was interested in – Data Science and Artificial Intelligence, University College Maastricht, and Maastricht Science Programme and tried to talk to someone there. We didn’t get to talk to anyone at University College Maastricht, but we did talk to people in administration at the other two departments.

All three programs are pretty interesting and we really liked both Maastricht University and the city Maastricht. A blog post about Maastricht and Maastricht University will be posted in the coming weeks. 🙂 If you want to make sure you don’t miss it, subscribe to our blog in the column on the left <.

(By the way, the non-EU tuition for all three programs we saw at Maastricht University is €10,900 = about $12,900).

After a nice lunch at Pieke Potloed, we wandered around quite a bit, then headed back to Eindhoven. That meal was the second time we went out during our trip and cost us $32.06.

Day 4 – Delft (TU Delft)

On the fourth day of our trip we moved to Delft for a couple of days. Trains from Eindhoven to Delft depart every half hour. The trip takes around 1 hour and 30 minutes and costs around € 22 which is about $25.

We stayed at a really cute two-bedroom AirBnB with super nice owners who lived in the apartment above. That place cost us $115.94 per night and was much nicer than the place in Eindhoven.

nice private garden with a table at AirBnB where we stayed in Delft, the Netherlands
The AirBnB where we stayed in Delft had a nice private garden with a table and chairs. Great place for a nice, relaxing breakfast or a dessert at the end of the day.

That day we just wandered around TUDelft – Delft University of Technology and got groceries for the next four days.

One of the tallest buildings on the TU Delft campus is the EWI (Elektrotechniek, Wiskunde & Informatica), home to the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science. The photo below looks rather overexposed because I had to brighten it quite a bit to make the sign on top more visible. The original photo was too dark.

TU Delft EWI (Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics & Computer Science) building with a TU Delft name up on top.

Day 5 – Delft (TU Delft) – The Hague

Since it was already exam time when we visited and the classes were already over, my son wasn’t able to participate in a “student for a day” program, but the university did set up for him a meeting with a current student from the Mathematics and Computer Science department.

That meeting didn’t last very long, so we had a whole afternoon free, and decided to take a short trip to The Hague.

This time, instead of a train, we took a tram, which was the longest way to get there, because the train stopped very frequently. That 36-minute trip cost us €2.69 (just a bit over $3).

We first went to Escher in het Paleis, or Escher in The Palace museum, which we described in our post “Soaking in Escher’s Artwork.”

M.C. Escher's Relativity
M.C. Escher’s Relativity

Then we traveled just a bit further, to a beach in Sheveningen, one of the eight districts of The Hague.

We strolled on the beach and walked to the end of De Pier. I think the Skyview was closed, which was too bad. We aren’t adventurous enough to take the Zipline, or go Bungy Jumping.

Then, after a really long day of walking, we headed back to our apartment and made supper.

Day 6 – Amsterdam (VU Amsterdam and AUC)

Day 6 was more train rides and two more colleges, this time in Amsterdam.

Direct trains from Delft to Amsterdam depart every half an hour, and the trip takes about an hour and costs €14.30 (about $16).

Yes, we did spend a lot of time (and money) on the trains in the Netherlands that week. Altogether I figured we spent around $370 for both of us on train and bus tickets. I’m betting it was cheaper than renting a car, though, and paying for parking and gas.

You can easily plan your trip by train on ns.nl.

The first university in Amsterdam we stopped by was Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. We didn’t have any appointments set up, so we just walked around a bit and talked to the people at the information desk.

Tuition fees at VU Amsterdam for non-EU nationals range from €8,796 = $10,373 to €12,335 = $14,546 depending on the program.

One of the buildings at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Then we headed to a meeting with a student at Amsterdam University College.

I will likely write a short blog post at least about Amsterdam University College so subscribe to our blog (in the column on the left) to make sure you don’t miss it.

Tuition for non-EU nationals at AUC are €12,460 = $14,694.

AUC academic building. The dorms are located just down the street.

Once we were done, we bought a snack at a nearby grocery store and headed back to Delft. We still had enough daylight left to just walk around and take some photos of this pretty town.

Stadhuis Delft – a Renaissance style city hall

Day 7 – Rotterdam and Delft (TU Delft) again

On day 7 of our trip and the 4th day in Delft we were signed up for TU Delft Open house, but that was in the afternoon, so we decided to head to Rotterdam in the morning to see Kijk-Kubus Museum in one of the Cube Houses.

Cube Houses designed by Piet Blom

We spent the afternoon listening to representatives from various departments at TU Delft talk about their programs and talking to the admissions representatives.

We’ll be publishing a blog post about TU Delft in the coming weeks. If you want to make sure you don’t miss it, subscribe to our blog in the column on the left <.

(By the way, the TU Delft tuition for non-EU nationals is € 14,500 = just a bit over $17,000).

Day 8 – Delft – Eindhoven – Stockholm (Sweden)

I wish we had more time to travel more around the Netherlands and visit a few more colleges and universities, but we had limited time and we still wanted to see a few places in Sweden, so early in the morning on day 8 we headed to Eindhoven to fly to Stockholm.

We flew to Stockholm on Transavia. This two-hour flight cost us only $59.73 each, including €10 (about $12) we paid for a seat by the emergency exit to have a bit more leg room again.

We decided to spend €10 (about $12) extra to get a bit more legroom on our flight from Eindhoven to Stockholm.

And then I paid about $30 for a 20-minute ride from the Arlanda airport to Stockholm on the Arlanda express. Sigh… Thankfully at least my son didn’t have to pay.

We chose to stay at an AirBnB in the northeastern part of the city, about half an hour bus ride from the main campus of KTH Royal Institute of Technology. It had just one bedroom but the sofa in the living room was big enough for my son to sleep on, so we managed all right. That place cost us around $120 per night. Stockholm is expensive.

Day 9 – Stockholm (KTH Royal Institute of Technology)

The following morning we met at KTH a current student who gave us a tour of the main campus, took us out to lunch (paid for by the university), and then showed us how to get to the KTH Kista campus, where most of the Information and Communication Technology courses are based.

2016 photo from the main campus of KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden
2016 photo from the main campus of KTH Royal Institute of Technology
photo from inside the very modern KTH Kista campus in Stockholm, Sweden
photo from inside the very modern KTH Kista campus

We had already been to Stockholm in 2016, but we decided to do a bit more sightseeing, this time from a boat. You can read about that in our “Stockholm from the ferry – Route 80 – Nybroplan – Frihamnen” post.

EU nationals don’t pay any tuition at Swedish universities, but tuition at KTH for non-EU nationals is pretty steep – SEK 366,000 = $42,320.

Day 10 – Stockholm – Lund

Day 10 was just traveling from Stockholm to Lund. I don’t have any notes or photos from that day, so I think we just chilled.

Since Lund is 375 miles (604 km) from Stockholm, and a train ride would take over four hours, we decided to fly there (well, we flew to Malmö which is not too far from Lund). That 1-hour flight on Norwegian cost us around $37 per person, so just about the same as a train ticket, and we got there much faster.

After spending some $20 on two bus rides from Malmö to Lund we arrived in the suburbs of Lund at our AirBnB located in the basement of a small ranch-style house of our hosts.

Day 11 – Lund (Lund University)

On Day 11 we met with two people at Lund University to talk about their Physics Program, then we walked around the city for a bit.

entrance to the Physics Department at Lund University in Lund, Sweden
entrance to the Physics Department at Lund University
Lund University library
Lund University library

Just like at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, EU nationals don’t have to pay application and tuition fees, but non-EU nationals would have to pay SEK 435 000 = $50,298 for their bachelor program in Physics.

We also visited the sprawling Kulturen in Lund which, as their website days “indoor and an open-air museum that features an extensive collection of historic buildings and beautiful gardens spanning two adjoining sites in the heart of Lund.”

a couple of buildings inside the Kulturen in Lund museum
a couple of buildings inside the Kulturen in Lund museum

After walking around Kulturen we were starving, so that was the third time during our trip we actually went out to eat, because we didn’t want to go back to our apartment for lunch.

These two burgers at Shady Burgers cost us about $40, so not exactly the cheapest burgers around, but they were very good.

Day 12 – Lund

Since flying back on day 13 of our trip turned out to be cheaper than on day 12 (and our lodging was only $60 per night), we spent an extra day in Lund and just rode around the bikes that came with our rental and visited Lund University’s Botaniska trädgården (Botanical Garden).

Day 13 – Lund – Copenhagen – Boston

There are direct trains from Lund to the airport in Copenhagen so that’s what we did on the last day of our trip.

We flew back on Norwegian with a short layover in London. That trip, unfortunately cost us around $400 per person, much more expensive than flying to Europe on TAP Air Portugal.

How do you apply to college in the Netherlands?

First of all, to see a list of over 400 Bachelor programs in English available in the Netherlands, check the Study in Holland website, then narrow down your list by degree, location, and field of study.

Then go to studielink.nl where you have to create an account and then indicate which programs you want to apply for. That sends the info to the specific programs and then the program will email you information to their own application form.

Studielink.nl has a very helpful step-by-step page explaining the application process.

By the way, if you are still looking for a place to study in Fall 2021, the deadline for applications for non-EU students is April 1.

For the most part, it doesn’t cost anything to apply, but you can apply to only four programs in a given year so choose carefully.

How do you apply to college in Sweden?

Sweden offers fewer Bachelor programs in English than the Netherlands, but even so, you can still find over 100 programs on Study in Sweden website.

Universityadmissions.se explains in detail how to submit your application documents.

Hope you enjoyed reading about our crazy trip to two countries and 7 universities in 12 days. Please let us know if you have any questions.

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