Away from Delft – Masters Thesis! (Part-1)

For the entirety of my first year; I lived in Delft, albeit at some distance from the university. Despite the 15 minutes of biking (which was quite the effort during winters); my daily schedule was pretty standardized:

1.  Attend lectures in the day
2. Assignments in the evening, in the library or the EWI building
3. Take a walk around the campus; enjoy the weather
4. Bike back home.

Through the narrow passageways of Delft.

I believe this applies to most students at TU Delft. But when one has no courses to study at the university in the second year, the story changes. I chose to do my masters thesis at a firm based in Arnhem; which is situated in East Netherlands, hundreds of kilometers away from Delft. This, as you can imagine; leads to some regular travel between the cities.

The beginning of the Master’s thesis is the most confusing part; and that is the stage I currently am on the date of this blog post. To understand the idea behind the project to be undertaken; one’s role and how it fits in the bigger picture while still finding a research question to answer requires constant contact with supervisors both at the university and the company- hence the regular movement between the cities. That being said – one is always free to do more courses in the second year if they can manage to fit it alongside the workload of Master’s Thesis.

My lifeline around the country

Because of the distance; the expenses add up as well. Looking around for a few cost-saving options; I stumbled upon NS Flex. NS is the company which runs the train services in most part of The Netherlands; and if you have a personalized OV Chipkaart (Public transport card); you can avail the multitude of packages they offer. A few of them which caught my eye were:

1. Dal Voordeel – 5 Euros per month; gives you 40% discount on off-peak hours(weekdays) and entire weekend.
2. Altijd Voordeel – 23 Euros per month; gives everything in Dal Voordeal; and also gives 20% discount during peak hours(weekdays).
3. Dal Vrij – 103 Euros per month; all travel during off-peak hours are free.

These plans, since the inception of NS Flex, can be chosen per month and not yearly. This means; if you predict a lot of travel in a particular month, you can upgrade your plan. I personally currently have an Altijd Voordeel; and am considering a Dal Vrij due to the regularity of travel.

I also took the decision of biking to work and back everyday; and not take public transport. I chose to rent a bike temporarily from Swapfiets. My decision to rent a bike over buying a second-hand one was mostly due to past experiences – I ended up spending a lot more on repairs than I bought the bike for.  These rented bikes are serviced for free, and are comparatively economical for a student at 12 Euros a month.

So; if you see yourself travelling quite often during your stay in The Netherlands; consider getting yourself one of the deals from NS and maybe save some extra bucks for those beers? And if not; bike away!

Keep sparkling!
Srivats

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