The Netherlands? Holland? “Dutchland”?

I stumbled upon this video that (tries) to simplify the confusion surrounding what the actual name is of the country where the Dutch are found. Enjoy!

“Big stuff and little: learning how to order breakfast in a country where I don’t speak the language and haven’t been before- that’s really satisfying. I like that.” -Anthony Bourdain

“Study” Abroad?

There has been a lot of speculation as to whether I am actually “studying” while abroad.

I am here to set the record straight: yes I am indeed going to my classes and studying. In fact, I am in the midst of exam week. My classes are much different here than they are back home. The semester is split into two blocks, A and B. I’m taking five classes total, three A block and two B block. During A block I had lectures once a week for each class, Mondays and Wednesdays, for two hours each. So total I had six hours worth of class every week, and I didn’t miss one lecture. I don’t have homework, no essays to write or busy work to bust out. My entire grade in each course is based off of an exam that is given at the end of the block. Right now I am in the courses Organizational Change, Social Environment and Behavior, and Intergroup Relations. After exams I will move to my second block courses which are Personality and Individual Differences and Diversity in Organizations. These are all psychology courses that are going to help me on my path to the organizational communication career path I’m intending to pursue.

The set of up the semester here leaves me with a lot of free time, which is what has afforded me the opportunity to travel so much. There are four full weeks throughout the semester that I have off from lectures, so of course I am going to take advantage of that time! There is so much more to this experience than textbooks and lectures. Passing my classes and gaining credit towards my degree are certainly priorities to me, but I am gaining so much more than that. The life experience I am getting here far outweighs anything a textbook can teach me. The history I am able to see with my own eyes, the cultures I am able to interact with, gaining more independence, I could go on and on. That is why I am so grateful for the way semesters are designed here.

“Exploration is the physical expression of the intellectual passion.  And I tell you, if you have the desire for knowledge and the power to give it physical expression, go out and explore.” -Apsley Cherry-Garrard

That Time I Went To Hogwarts

One of the major highlights of my trip to London was what I got to do on March 31st. I got to fulfill another dream, I got to explore Leavesden Studio. (Better known as the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – … Continue reading

London: A Dream Come True

From the 27th of April to the 2nd of March I was blessed with the opportunity to explore London. This is something that I have always dreamed of doing but never thought I’d actually be fortunate enough to do. Words can’t describe … Continue reading

Kamp Westerbork

I had the opportunity to visit the memorialized transit camp, Kamp Westerbork, on March 22nd. It is located n Hooghalen, Netherlands which is about 45km from Groningen. There were four of us that went – my mentor Hedwig, the other international student … Continue reading

A True Groningen Experience Isn’t Complete Unless…

…you have your bike stolen. Guess that makes me a legitimate Groninger now?

My bike was stolen the other night in the city center while I was taking part in a Pub Quiz. Bike theft is a very, very common occurrence in Groningen. There’s a whole business behind it, people stealing bikes and reselling them. I’ve heard stories of people who had their bike stolen only to see someone else riding it a few days later. Often times the person riding it had just bought it off of someone else. On more than one occasion the “new owner” was kind enough to simply give the bike back to the victim. One time a guy had his bike stolen, went to purchase a new one, and the bike he went to purchase ended up being the one that had just been stolen from him. More often than not, however, people never see their bike again. I was so bummed when I walked out of the pub, went to where I had parked my bike, and found no remnants of it. I definitely had one of those “it won’t ever happen to me” mentalities. My bike had been properly locked with a really strong lock that you put between your wheel and frame, so the perpetrator had to have picked it up and carried it away. But, it happens. Yes I was bummed because not only am I out the money I spent on the bike, I also really loved my bike. However it’s just money, and it’s just a bike, worse things could happen. So when I got home I hastily checked the groups on Facebook where people post bikes for sale, got in contact with a girl, and bought a bike the following morning. I got two locks for this bike, so I am going to be sure to lock the wheel to the frame as well as lock my bike to something stationary like a pole or bike stand.

Goodbye old friend

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Welcome my new mode of transportation

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“Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey.” -Fitzhug Mallan

International Dinners

I am experiencing so many amazing things abroad it’s hard to really wrap my head around it all. It’s human nature to appreciate things much more in hindsight than in the present, and I know when I get home I am going to be wowed by what I had the opportunity to experience here. I am trying hard to make sure I am living with gratitude and keeping my eyes open so I don’t get home and kick myself for not appreciating what I have here while I have it. So here is one of the many things I want to reflect on that is such a neat part of my experience, and that is the international dinner. Basically what they entail is a group of people from different places that come together and make a dish that is typical in their country. I have been fortunate enough to experience two of these so far. First with my ESN group and second with some of the people in my corridor in my student house. How often in ones life do you get to sit down with people from all over the world and eat food from their countries? Once in a lifetime if one is lucky. And boy am I lucky.

Here are some of the things I had the opportunity to try:

  • Bangers and Mash from England
  • Schnitzel from Czech Republic
  • An apple dessert from Germany
  • Poutine from Canada
  • A chocolate dessert from Brazil
  • Stir fry from Hong Kong
  • A potato dish from Hungary
  • Crepes from Hungary
  • And omelets from Spain

My contribution each time was the classic banana split.

From the first international dinner

Intl Dinner ESN 6

And the second international dinner

10006422_10152458986971055_1142340861_n Intl Dinner Intl Dinner 2

These dinners are truly a treasure during this amazing study abroad experience.

“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” -Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.