The week prior to arriving in the Netherlands a lot of doubts were beginning to form – was I doing the right thing? Will I make friends? Can I afford it? As a mature age student I was quite worried that being older people would be less inclined to want to be friends with me. Needless to say, now that I am here and settled (somewhat!) it seems that my fears were for nothing.
I landed in Amsterdam on 17th August and went and stayed with a friend for a few days before utilising the free pick up service offered by the university. Upon arriving to my accommodation I was met by one of the student accommodation managers who gave me my keys and then I was on my own!
The next day the exchange students had a 3 day orientation program of activities. It was well organised, definitely value for money and a lot of fun!! We went on a boat and ate pancakes, had a bike lesson and then in the evenings many drinks. It was great meeting people from all over the world and as we are all in the same boat (alone and in a foreign country) everyone is keen to make friends.
Exploring Rotterdam has been a great experience. Whenever the Netherlands are mentioned people automatically imagine windmills, clogs and canals. Rotterdam however is a bit different – during World War II the whole city was destroyed (first by the Nazi’s and then accidentally by the Allies). This has in turn meant that the buildings are quite new and there is some amazing architecture. The roads are wide and as it’s not as touristy as Amsterdam it’s not as stressful trying to dodge wayward tourists whilst navigating the town on your bike.
I have a friends wedding in Oxford next weekend which I would have missed had I been in Australia, but now it is only an hours flight away! And then after the wedding there will will hopefully be some exploring done during the semester. The German Christmas Markets and Budapest are my bucketlist but I will be happy to go wherever there is a cheap flight 🙂 One of the best things abut Europe is that in a few short hours you can be in totally new country with a new culture.
Uni starts on Monday so fingers crossed the classes are okay and here’s to making new friends and new memories!
Suzanne Urquhart, 99207755, Business