Even though strictly speaking, my first semester isn’t over, in my head, once Christmas holidays hit – the semester is over. So I thought i’d just discuss the first fourth months of my semester studying in Amsterdam.
Wow, to be honest I can’t believe it’s already been four months. I have my two final exams on Thursday and Friday and then I will be flying home that night, and I have to say, I am unbelievably excited to go home! I miss it more than I ever thought I would. But anyway… so how did I find this first semester?
It’s a cliche, but it has been full of ups and downs and I have to be honest, probably more downs than ups but the ups have been worth a lot. When you go on a year abroad, you have it in your head that it’s going to be like a big holiday for an entire year and let me tell you, it is not. It’s every day life, it will rain a lot and you will have to cycle in that torrential rain and wind. You won’t be able to do fun things all the time because you’re a student with limited money and you do have to study and pass your exams.
Friends make or break an experience like this, especially because you’re so much further away from home. It took me a while to really find my place friendship wise. It’s been challenging, considering different nationalities- and though everybody speaks English, it’s just not as easy to click with somebody who isn’t the same nationality as you. I have had some really down times about friends, although I have made a few good friends and have recently grown even closer to them, I had times and still do, when I felt left out and inferior to people. But really, I think that’s a reflection of myself and it’s something I’ve recognised since being here and thus, am working on. However, the last few weeks I feel like I’ve finally found my place and am content.
The University life:
I have to admit, I hated the university at first. Some people love it but I didn’t realise how much I loved Leicester until I came to a different university. I’ve spoken before about exams and timetables that have really frustrated me about this university. However, with that said, I have began to warm to this university this past week so perhaps it will just take some time!
Again, this sounds like a cliche but though there have been times I have wondered, why the hell am I doing this? I am so glad I embarked on this year abroad. The friends I have made, are genuine people that I can see myself being friends with forever. I’ve had the ability to go on some fun trips in Europe with friends from home and here, with more planned for next year. I’ve had the chance to just really experience another city as an actual resident here, not just a tourist which makes all the difference – I won’t bore you with the details on what I’ve gotten up to, you can see that in my previous posts! I have to comment on cycling as it is such an imperative in the Netherlands. I have a love/hate relationship with cycling, it really is glorious and so damn convenient- I am already dreading having to get the bus everywhere when I’m back in England. But you know, you do have to cycle in all weathers and that is not fun. But generally so far, I recommend a year abroad to everybody. I have already grown in confidence in myself and abilities – it was more daunting that I thought moving to a different country! Though I thought the NL was very similar to England, oh how wrong I was!
I am looking forward to spring and summer here in the NL, I am going to make the most of my time as half of the year is already done and it’s flown by!
Now, it’s 9pm and I have an exam in the morning and then all of tomorrow to revise the content for Fridays exams – the joys! Get me home for Christmas!