I honestly cannot believe how quickly the semester exchange has gone so far. Thankfully, I still have all of January here in Utrecht before coming home in February! This semester has taught me so many new things, and I have achieved some things that I am so proud of – living in a completely new country, adjusting to not speaking the language, learning to ride a bike in Utrecht’s chaotic peak hour traffic, and as someone who has never lived out of home, cooking, rent, and just surviving in general by myself was an accomplishment for me! To be honest, the absolute best thing about my exchange has been the people. I’ve met some truly amazing people, from a whole range of countries all over the world, who I know I’ll always keep in touch with.
To anyone thinking of studying overseas for a semester, especially in Utrecht, I would really encourage you to! Utrecht is an amazing place to study – there are so many students, both international and local, which means it’s so easy to meet people. There are a lot of opportunities to participate, and there are quite a few things to do around the city. If I could recommend one thing, it would be to try and get to know the locals. Through classes and other friends, I met some Dutch students my age, who were amazing to get to know, and recently I volunteered at a theatre event, meaning I got to meet a wide range of Dutch people from different ages and backgrounds. They actually taught me a lot, and it was really interesting to see how actual Dutch people lived, and felt about certain things.
Studying overseas is such an incredible experience – I’ll be so sad to leave the Netherlands, and if I could stay for the year, I definitely would! The people you meet, and places you go are experiences that you can’t get any other way. This exchange has been a truly amazing experience, and I really recommend anyone considering an exchange to take part!
Kristen Kahl, a Bachelor of International Tourism student, Semester 2 2016 exchange at Utrecht University, the Netherlands