Something that has stressed me out for years, and especially the last few months, is going on exchange. Since I was in middle school I have dreamed of going abroad to study. Soaking up culture and earning an education at the same time sounds like a fairytale to me. Once I entered university I knew I had to apply to go on exchange.
I spent the first two years of my university career fighting with my self over where I should go. I didn’t want to screw up this once in a lifetime opportunity by picking the wrong destination. It started with Japan, then moved to Germany, maybe Scotland. My friend wanted me to go to South Korea with her while my professor told me the best schools for my degree were in England. I researched and researched different schools, surrounding areas, where I could travel and learn more about the culture. Then, one day my professor told me about Amsterdam.
I had never even thought of visiting Amsterdam, it was not on any list I had ever made of places I wanted to travel. But I chose it. I chose the University of Amsterdam after only looking at a few course listings and some photos of the beautiful canals. I knew this was the place I wanted to go. After choosing my destination the fight wasn’t over. I constantly battled about whether or not I would be accepted, if my essays were good enough, or if my grades were too poor. Then, one afternoon I received an email. It told me that I was accepted into the University of Amsterdam for the January 2015 semester. All those months of misery were for nothing, I have been accepted. I expected relief to wash over me, but it didn’t. The fight still isn’t over. I have never traveled on my own before, never lived away from my family. But its an adventure, and one I am willing to take. I am nervous and more than a little scared, but more than anything I am excited.
I came up with The Amsterdam List as a way to prioritize the things I want to do while on exchange. Its a mini bucket list of sorts, and one that I am not done adding to yet.
- Visit the Anna Frank House
- See the Van Gogh Museum
- Take a cruise of the Canals
- Get lost in the streets of Amsterdam
- Take a polaroid every day while there
- Go on a bike tour of Amsterdam
- Go to Rijksmuseum
- Meet a lot of new people
- Get straight As while attending the University of Amsterdam (lets keep dreaming for this one)
- Explore the street markets
- Try something new (get out of my comfort zone)
- Try Dutch cuisine
- Be bold, be adventurous
- Try to learn as much Dutch as possible