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  • Writer's pictureNate

Introducing: Nate

In the next few articles we will be introducing new students that are currently preparing for their adventures as international students at VU Amsterdam. Follow them throughout this exciting period and share your experiences with them! This time: Nate from USA!

Photo: Me at the Crater lake, USA

This is me

Hey, I’m Nate! I was born in the United States, but my parents were immigrants from South Korea. I graduated from Stevenson University, Baltimore with a bachelor of science in Criminal Justice. I am the first in my family to earn a college degree. At first, pursuing higher education felt like an obligation, but as each day passes, I feel more and more proud about my academic accomplishments.

Why VU / Why Amsterdam?

I chose the International Crimes, Conflict and Criminology (ICCC) program at VU because everything about it seemed like a proper challenge. In my undergraduate studies, we learned about the Interpol, International Crime and Justice Courts, as well as international white collar crime. These subjects always fascinated me.

The application process has revealed to me my willingness to invest in myself. Starting from the application process in the fall, followed by the constant uploading and upkeep, ensuring my successful transition from the States to the Netherlands has been a challenge all in itself; I am happy with myself and the gesture of commitment I have undertaken, thus far.

I’ve been working very hard, saving money, planning and being grateful for what I have at home right now, because, although I know Amsterdam will be an opportunity of a lifetime, it will also be a challenge on all fronts.

Worries and expectations

In addition to completing a master’s degree, I plan to backpack through Belgium, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Germany before starting school in Amsterdam. I am currently packing my bags and feel quite numb, to be honest! Over the last months, I have felt all kinds of emotions and thought over, in my head, what this adventure ahead of me will entail; but with it being so close, I am suddenly overwhelmed with the actuality of the circumstance.

Some of the main concerns for me (and for many other students) relate to finances! With no reliable plans on working, or earning some sort of income, I’m left feeling like I have a hole in my pocket. This is part of the sacrifice that all college students surely feel while in school.

Another concern I have regarding living abroad, finding good Korean food! I currently living at home with my mother, father and brother. My mother has always cooked every night since I was a baby. Her cooking grounds me and leaving home is hard knowing there is the best kimchi in the world here. Jokes aside, she is a great cook and the hospitality of home will surely be missed.

Photo: Korean home-made food

But overall, my excitement and anticipation for my greatest endeavor out weighs the anxiety and fear related to it. Although I wish to live in Europe longer than my academic year, I am grateful that I have this opportunity ahead of me. To make the most of the opportunity, I really hope to meet so many new people and smiling faces. For any student who has anxiety or fear related to studying abroad, just remember to keep smiling! I am always willing to talk to a smiling face. We can do this!


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