What a Semester in Amsterdam taught me
Before moving to Amsterdam Josefine did not exactly know what to expect but looking back, she sees how much she has grown as a person and learned from the experience of living abroad, and recommends anyone who gets the opportunity to do so.
When I first decided to go study abroad, I didn’t allow myself to have any expectations. I just wanted to be a clean canvas to which this experience could paint with all sorts of colors. Also, I had no idea what to expect. I just knew that it was something I had to do for myself, and no matter the outcome, I wanted to have this experience of throwing myself into the unknown and being “on my own” in a new country. But even though I came into this study-abroad experience with zero expectations, it somehow still managed to exceed my non-existing expectations – if that even makes sense?
Studying abroad is something I would recommend to anybody who gets the opportunity. Because even though there may be bumps along the way, these will be outweighed by the huge number of gains from the experience, such as memories for life, academic, and personal growth. And you will bring so much more in your baggage home than what you arrived with. I have definitely had ups and downs during my time in Amsterdam, but it has also been an amazing and truly evolving experience. Whenever I overcame struggles, it would only make me stronger, and I am now left with a feeling of pride in myself.
"Studying abroad is something I would recommend to anybody who gets the opportunity. Because even though there may be bumps along the way, these will be outweighed by the huge number of gains from the experience, such as memories for life, academic, and personal growth."
As many may experience while being on exchange, it is not easy adjusting to life in a new country and at a new university where you don’t know anyone. I managed to make some lovely friends, but I also learned a lot about myself by being alone. Sometimes a loneliness would strike, and I would miss my boyfriend and family terribly. However, this not only taught me how important these people are to me and how thankful I am for them, but it also taught me how important it is to learn how to be alone and not only depend on others to overcome your struggles. You need to learn how to figure it out yourself sometimes. I have learned so much about myself and what I am cable of.
I’m already back in Copenhagen as I am writing this. It has been overwhelming returning home, especially since I arrived just before Christmas. My last exams were on December 22 and 23, when I also moved out and went back home to Copenhagen. Luckily my dad came to help me move out, so I could focus on my exams. It would have been nice to have had a bit more time to take in the last impressions and enjoy my final days in Amsterdam instead of being in an exam bubble. I’m thankful that I got to say a proper goodbye to my friends before leaving.
It’s weird being home again. It’s like I have lived in a different world while I was in Amsterdam, and now I just have to get back on my feet at home again. And It’s weird to think that when Christmas break is over, I will not go back to VU but to my university here in Denmark. I established a life and a routine in a totally different country, and suddenly I had to switch back to my “normal” life again. Although I miss my life and the people I got to know in Amsterdam, I am also really happy to be back home with my boyfriend, family, and friends.
The NU-building festively decorated for the holidays.