Author: Amanda Cook
Program: Honours Bachelor of Commerce – International Business Management
Study Abroad Location: Utrecht, The Netherlands
It’s my last week here in the Netherlands and the end is quickly approaching. Some of my roommates have begun to leave already and saying goodbye to them has definitely been the hardest part of my exchange. They all will be returning after Christmas to finish the last month of the semester however, I will be finishing mine from Canada as my Seneca semester will be starting in January.
With the end so near I have started to really reflect on my exchange and realize how blessed I was to have such amazing roommates, professors and support from Seneca. They all have allowed me to have an enjoyable and successful semester abroad. To anybody who may be even considering going abroad for an exchange ABSOLUTELY take the experience! You will learn a lot more than academics could ever teach you.
Some of the things that I have learned or improved on since arriving in the Netherlands would be how to interact and see the world through many cultures. I had class with Dutch students every day and got to know a lot about some of them, learning about what they do for fun, what they like to eat and their different religions and beliefs. Also by living in a flat with 7 different cultures other than my own with people with all the same interests as me but from different backgrounds you really get to see how accepting the world really is.
I have also learned a little bit of Dutch and a few sentences in Vietnamese, Turkish, Spanish and topped up my French. However, by being out of my element and comfort zone I believe I learned the most about myself. I learned to be more confident in myself and that I can really do whatever I put my mind to if I really want it such as, going to a foreign country not knowing anybody, not knowing what to expect and still having the time of my life. I learned you really do have some of the best times when you are out of your comfort zone. Never be scared to try new things.