In the next few articles we will be introducing some 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! Soon-to-be bachelor student: Hannah from Germany
Going to IKEA weekly, transforming my room into a sea of boxes and bags, and in general trying not to lose my mind in between graduation, prom night, vacation, and moving pretty much sums up how my days look like at the moment.
Photo: I, Hannah
This is me
Hey, I am Hannah, an 18-year-old high school graduate from Germany and I am moving to Amsterdam next month. In September I am going to start my undergraduate degree in History: History and international studies at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.
Why VU / Why Amsterdam?
About a year ago, I started searching for history degrees in numerous European countries and immediately fell in love with the history and international studies bachelor because it ties together a variety of different humanitarian sciences. Moreover it gives me the opportunity to study in English without having to pay the insanely high college tuition fees in countries such as England or Australia. Especially the focus on internationality and diversity at the VU attracted me immediately. On top of that I like the way Dutch universities in general are structured a bit more school-like than German universities, which hopefully makes the transition for bachelor students, such as myself, easier.
My sister studied in Amsterdam for the past two years and I had the chance to visit her a few times. It allowed me the luxury of getting to know my way around the city a bit before studying here. It made it easier to make my decision of moving to Amsterdam, because while visiting Amsterdam for the first time was overwhelming at times (mainly because of the bikes and the near death experiences you have every time you cross a street thanks to them), by the second time I was already in love with the city. Amsterdam is a very beautiful city and while it is a small capital compared to Paris or London, it is extremely international and liberal, which is refreshing for someone like me, who grew up in the countryside. Furthermore, in my case, it is the perfect mixture of leaving home and living in another country but also being close enough to visit my family for the weekend or birthdays.
Photo: Beautiful nature around my home
To do list status
Knowing how the housing market works in the Netherlands and especially in Amsterdam, organizing my housing via the university was probably one of the best decisions I have ever made. I decided to rent an unfurnished studio apartment in the Southeast of Amsterdam, so my life right now basically just consists of visiting IKEA and other furniture shops weekly and packing up my room at home. While in some cases you can only move into your room during the arrival days, I had the luck of being able to start my lease on the first of August. This gives me almost a month to explore the city (mostly trying to memorize the way to university, because I do not have a good sense of direction) and growing accustomed to my new life.
Besides slowly getting all my furniture together, I do research regarding bank accounts, BSN number and Dutch courses. Weirdly enough I am also in the middle of graduating, with my graduation and prom being next week. So I am currently exactly in between finishing school and leaving that behind and moving away and starting university, which is quite the bizarre experience.
Photo: My graduation ceremony
Worries and expectations
For sure moving away for 3 years, even though it is only to the neighboring country, is a scary thing to do and I am quite glad to have a few eventful days left to distract me from worrying too much. Besides the typical fears such as not being able to find friends, choosing the wrong degree and having a hard time getting settled in, I am also afraid that I might be facing language barriers or have to deal with homesickness. However, moving to Amsterdam also allows me to embark on a 3-year long journey in a multicultural city on my own. It gives me the great opportunity to improve my English and Dutch language skills and is, in general, an amazing jumpstart for my personal growth.
Well, that is all for today. I hope you enjoyed this little introduction post.