I am a History exchange student from Canada, studying for five months at Erasmus University, Rotterdam. As the semester has come to a close the time of reflection and suitcase packing has begun. This past semester has taught me, not only history lessons, but how to communicate effectively with friends from so many cultures, as I got to know and travel with many other exchange students. Living in a culture slightly different than my own also gave me the opportunity to reflect and challenge some of my previous thoughts and ideas.
At least the Dutch language with all it’s guttural ‘g’ sounds is not quite as revolting as I always thought! Biking to and from school 8 kms turned out to be a pretty great form of exercise. Much interaction with Dutch people has shown me the pro’s and con’s of being stubborn, direct and honest. And of course the thing I respect most- drops! Along with challenging my thoughts, ideas and character, this experience also showed me the vibrant colored shoes of the traveler. I found these shoes to fit very well. Exploring behind the touristy areas of many cities around Europe holds so many good memories. After packing all these memories in my suitcase I am very reluctant to zip it shut. But life keeps moving, and I must move along with it. So I head back to Canada with one of the best experience’s in my life behind me. Thank you very much for supplying the ATP scholarship, and making further travel, experience and personal growth possible!
In order to promote study abroad, I organized a hiking trip to Switzerland with exchange students. It was quite a lot of work to organize the transportation, chalet, food and itinerary, but the four days spent in the shadow of the mountains was so worth it! We went hiking, river rafting, swimming in glacier lakes and bush whacking. We made a fire on the edge of a river and had a barbeque. Every night we relaxed on the balcony, the moon giving a white glow to the mountains towering right outside our front door. A Dutch friend from Rotterdam also came with us, and after getting to know us all he is quite seriously considering coming to Canada as well for Study Abroad. That was really fun to hear!
When I am back at my home university in Vancouver, Canada, I am also going to be joining the International Events committee. While in Canada I attended a few of these events, and also got to know the coordinators. I will definitely be playing an active part in this committee when I get back!