For six weeks during this past summer, Amsterdam was my city. I was thousands of miles from home, living with twenty-two fellow college students gathered from random corners of the United States. I learned about gender studies, art, and literature in the heart of the Netherlands, always within walking distance of countless museums and historical sites. I wandered along the cozy stone streets and got lost. I formed incredible friendships. I watched the sun set at 10 p.m. nearly every night. I ate so many fries, although I never quite understood the obsession with mayo. I pushed myself farther out of my comfort zone than I’d ever before thought possible.
I had six incredible weeks with the good people of IES Abroad Amsterdam, who quickly became more affectionately known as “AmsterFam.” I am so grateful to have lived and learned with them, especially since I had spent the months leading up to my departure wanting nothing more than to spend the summer at home. Throughout college, I had wanted to study abroad, but I was hesitant. I was nervous about being so far away, I didn’t know if I could navigate a foreign city on my own, and I was terrified of getting there and regretting my decisions.
After semesters’ worth of my internal back-and-forth, I decided that a full semester abroad would be too overwhelming for me, so I turned my attention to summer programs. My search through Quinnipiac’s Office of Multicultural and Global Engagement was a breeze. Within minutes, I’d found a program that matched what I wanted – located in a smaller European city, with liberal arts classes and the right balance of support and independence for students like myself.
I do not regret anything from my trip. If anything, I wish I had traveled more, but every additional relaxing day I spent in Amsterdam lying in parks, visiting new cafés and bars with friends, or simply walking around for hours to build my mental map of the city only made me feel more at home there. A few days ago, I received an email from IES Abroad informing me that I’ve been nominated to be an ambassador for this program, so that I can help other people like myself experience life abroad with the support of IES. I can’t think of any better way to conclude my college studying abroad experience than by maybe encouraging someone else to discover and adore the amazing city of Amsterdam as well.
Jeanette is graduating in May, 2017. She represents the leadership and curiosity of Honors and Quinnipiac University.
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