I was given my first donation this week! I want to express my immense gratitude for Gerhard and Linda and their generosity and support. You have been such a substantial help in pursuing my dream and I cannot thank you enough.
I’ve been hitting the pavement over the past couple of weeks getting some items knocked off my to-do list. I received my official acceptance from the study abroad office two weeks ago and my nomination was sent to the University of Groningen. From there I had to apply directly to Groningen so once I received the form from their exchange department I was able to get the necessary paperwork filled out and sent off for approval.
My next order of business was figuring out where I am going to live during my five months in Groningen. The school suggests working with the city’s housing department to find a room in one of their international student houses. Before I finalized my application with the housing office I wanted to see if I could find anything on my own, hoping for something that would put me in a house or apartment. There are a few groups on Facebook where students are able to post rental listings so I kept up on those for a bit, but to little avail. Many students are looking for people to take over their contracts, however most of them were out of my price range or not within the time frame I need. So today I finished off my application with the housing office and sent them my deposit via international wire. It was quite the experience figuring how to send them €650 when the exchange rate changes every 30 seconds. Within the next month or two I should hear back from them on where I will be living. It’s going to be quite the adventure when I arrive with my contract not beginning until February 1st and my needing to be in Groningen by January 28th for orientation. I will be experiencing a true facet of European travel from the start when I spend my first few nights in a hostel. Oh the stories I will have!
Another important component of this process is how it effects me academically, this was another thing I needed to get sorted out in the last couple of weeks. The University of Groningen doesn’t offer a communication program (which is my degree) so I was worried that I wouldn’t have many options. Unfortunately my academic advisor is on sabbatical this semester which became a minor speed bump in this process. I had met with her back in May when I decided to pursue studying abroad and we figured out courses I could take, however at that time I assumed I would be studying in England. With plans changing as they have I needed to redesign my course schedule fitting in with what Groningen offers. The chair of the communication department has taken on my advisors students while she is on leave so I met with her to find out what my options were. Ultimately my advisor is the one who makes the decision on what I can and cannot take, so that communication process was rather tricky for some time. Eventually things got sorted out and my academic plan is even better than I had hoped for. Come to find out I am even closer to graduating than I anticipated and I’ve been approved to take classes within Groningen’s psychology department that my advisor will allow as substitutions for certain communication courses. It couldn’t have worked out better if I planned it myself.
I’m truly in awe of how things are falling into place. A month ago I had my heart set on going to England and didn’t really give another place much thought. Now I can’t imagine going anywhere else other than The Netherlands. I can’t help but think back to when I was debating between Australia and The Netherlands for my second choice on my application. I flipped a coin because I couldn’t decide on my own, and when it came out Australia I didn’t feel right about putting it down. I took that as a sign I needed to choose The Netherlands. Now here we are, come to find out Australia wouldn’t have been an option for me anyway and I’m seeing how The Netherlands is genuinely a better fit for me. God and His master plan never cease to amaze me. I cannot wait to see what He has in store for me there.
“If you never leave home, never let go, you’ll never make it to the great unknown” –needtobreathe