Thank you, Tawny!

I want to share how grateful I am to Tawny for donating towards my dream to study abroad. I am so appreciative of your generosity, it truly means the world to me! As I mentioned so many unexpected costs have come up -such as getting placed in more expensive housing and my laptop crashing requiring me to purchase a new one- that every extra penny is such an immense help. It humbles me to be able to say that through God’s grace and the generosity of others I was able to raise $2,490. I am in awe and so deeply grateful, I have received so much support and I am able to pursue my dream because of all of the amazing people in my life, THANK YOU.

Four more days…

“People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances within our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.”  -Joseph Campbell


Fundraising Goal: Achieved and Surpassed!

Thank you so much Lisa for not only helping me reach my fundraising goal, but also surpassing it! I say this with one very grateful heart, words cannot express my appreciation. I’ve spent the past three months fundraising and it brings me so much gratitude to everyone who donated to be able to say that I went over my goal. As so many unexpected expenses have arisen it helps me out immensely to have raised a little extra.

In these last five days I have before I leave I am busy getting things in order. I’ve arranged a few more purchases once I arrive in Groningen, things students are selling before they leave. It’s encouraging to be finding that I can get things second hand and therefore cheaper than I had been anticipating. I have a plan for my cell phone, I am going to put it on a seasonal standby for the duration of my time abroad, so I will strictly be using it when I have access to WiFi. This way I can still iMessage, email, and Skype on my phone but I will not be racking up international charges. Doing this will cost me $8 a month, which is significantly cheaper than the alternative. Then once I get to Groningen I will find a pay as you go phone to have for emergencies and contact within Europe. I cancelled my gym membership and have my auto insurance set up to go on a freeze the day that I leave. My finances are in order, my cards are ready to be used internationally, and I already have my Dutch bank account situated. The University of Groningen offers a great service to international students, they have a partnership with a bank that allows students to apply while still in their home country then activate their account at the welcoming ceremony once they arrive. This will be a great help because I won’t have to rack up ATM and conversion charges, instead I can primarily use my local bank. All I have left to do is pack and get in a lot of quality time with my loved ones!

Five days to go, can you believe it???


“The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure.  The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.” -Chris McCandless

Fundraising Update: Almost There!

I want to extend many thank you’s to my family – Grandma Wolf, Uncle Keith, Aunt Kris, and Aunt Brenda – for their generosity and donations. Also thank you to my wonderful coworkers who donated and wrote me a card with such kind words of support. I am so grateful for all of you! I can’t reiterate enough just how much it means to me to have so many people supporting my dream, it wouldn’t become a reality without every one of you!

13 days to go, and a mere $140 to reach my fundraising goal!

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” -St. Augustine

Thank you, Grandpa Jack!

I want to thank my grandpa for his generosity in donating towards my fundraising efforts, I am so very grateful! I can’t say enough how much it means to me to have people supporting my dream, I truly could not do it without all of you, so again THANK YOU.

$600 left to my goal, and 18 days to go!

“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure.  There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” -Jawaharial Nehru

Thank you, Ben!

I want to extend a very big thank you to Ben for his immense generosity in donating towards my dream. It’s moments like these that I am so encouraged by people’s genuine kindness and their giving hearts.

$800 left to my goal, and 26 days to go!

“Once you have travelled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.” -Pat Conroy

Fundraising Update

I have been without a computer and unable to update my fundraising progress, so I have fallen a little behind. I mentioned a fundraiser I was working on that I would update when I had more information. Unfortunately that fundraiser didn’t pan out. My best friend had the brilliant idea to sell hot cocoa at our city’s christmas lights, however due to some regulations we weren’t given the green light to do so. I don’t have anything else in the works right now, but I would love ideas if anyone has them!

I am now over halfway to my fundraising goal, only $900 more to go!

Here are the much appreciated donations I have received recently in the order that I received them. I want to give a big thank you to:
Emily for being so thoughtful as to send me the Euro’s she had. These are personally my very first Euro’s and I am so excited to now already have some!
My mom who donated so generously to my study abroad adventure. I love you, mom!
And to my best friend and her husband, Shae and Aaron, who were also so very generous- too generous even 😉

Words cannot express my gratitude to everyone who is helping make my dream come true, I truly could not do this without all of you!

34 days to go!

“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” – Martin Buber

Fundraising Goal

It has come to my attention that many of my friends and family are curious about how much money I am trying to raise. I intentionally left this out of my fundraising letters in the hopes of not putting any pressure on people to donate and leaving it up to them to give however they felt led to. However, I do understand the desire to know an amount and that it can be helpful when figuring out if/how much to give. Everyone who received a letter got a breakdown of my expenses, a few unexpected things have come up and the cost of my study abroad endeavor has increased. Along with these expenses:

Tuition: $4,400                   Books: $200        Airfare: $1,200                   Housing: $2,000

Student Visa: $415           Startup needs: $300        Food: $1,000      Travel Expenses: $1,500

Bicycle for transportation: $150                 Incidentals: $500

Totaling about $11,700

Other expenses have come up including:

  • Housing application fee and deposit: $875
  • International wire fees that cost $40 each time, two have been required so far and I anticipate one more costing me a total of $120

Bringing my new running total to about $12,660

I have anticipated for the conversion rate; The Netherlands currency is the Euro and currently the rate fluctuates between $1.33-$1.40 for every €1.

I will be attending a summer course at my university here in the US when I get back from my spring semester in The Netherlands which will cost me a little over $800 in tuition, so that is an expense I have to account for when planning my finances.

With my personal savings and the $2,750 I received in student loans I come up about $2,000 short of what I need. Therefore the amount I am trying to raise through the generosity of others and various fundraising opportunities is $2,000. It brings me much gratitude to be able to say I am already a quarter of the way to my goal, so in the next two and half months what I have left to raise is $1,500.

“Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you’d drop dead in 20 seconds.  See the world.  It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in the factories.” -Ray Bradbury

Three ✓’s off my to-do’s

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

Candy Corn Cupcakes

bake sale


My first fundraising venture was a success! My stepmom had a really good idea to make a dessert for her to sell at her job. So I made two dozen cupcakes and she set them out for donations with my fundraising flyer. $59.55 was my grand total, the ingredients cost me $5, so I came out earning $54! A big thank you to all of the air traffic controllers and FAA employees that donated, you’re making my dream a reality and I couldn’t do it without your generosity!

In the effort of transparency I have to admit that my initial intention was not to make candy corn cupcakes, it was to make candy corn cookies. For those who don’t know, homemaker is not a proper adjective to describe me; the kitchen is not my area of expertise. Keeping this in mind when trying to find something creative to make for my mini bake sale I made sure to pick a recipe that I deemed simple. I came across a recipe on the internet for candy corn cookies – all it called for was cake mix, frosting, and food coloring.  Simple enough even I could do it! Or so I thought. I quickly realized something was off when it came time for me to roll the dough into balls and drop them on a cookie sheet. My “dough” was far too liquid-y to be rolled into balls, so I double checked the recipe to see if I missed something and was sure I hadn’t so on I went. I plopped my “dough” onto the cookie sheet by the spoonful and stuck them in the oven, certain they would turn out once they were baked. After the allotted baking time I pulled my cookie sheet out of the oven to discover 16 yellow and white pancakes, not cookies. Again I read over the recipe and could not figure out what I had done wrong, so I enlisted the help of my sister to have a second look at the directions. Quickly she asks me “Did you put water in the mix?” Well yes, of course I did, that box told me to. Behold my downfall, one and a quarter cup of water.  I wasn’t supposed to follow the directions on the box, I was supposed to pay attention to the fact that the recipe told me what to put into the cake mix and it did not ask me to add water. Plan B went into effect and candy corn cupcakes they became, and pretty delicious candy corn cupcakes at that.

“Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing at all.” Helen Keller

Let the fun(draising) begin!

Let the fun(draising) begin!

I’ve spent all week writing a few different fundraising letters and they’re finally where I want them to be. One version of my letter is going out to friends and family, another version is going up on my work bulletin board, … Continue reading