Although the sun isn’t a clear indicator of the culmination of my time abroad in the Netherlands, days seem to be flying by and soon it’ll be July 1st… my Dutch friends weren’t kidding when they said the sun doesn’t make many appearances in the Netherlands.
I’ve had an amazing time here, filled with memories I’ll never forget. As cliche as it may sound, I really feel like my time away from my family and friends in Florida has allowed me to get to know myself even more. Shockingly, there is life beyond Gainesville and the Gators (Sad, I know).
My time here has allowed me to grow as an individual more than a semester in Gainesville ever has. I learned so much about myself through learning about a different culture and meeting people from around the world. It’s amazing how eye-opening it can be to be surrounded by a new environment and learning new things every single day.
Overall, I cant say all 3,456 hours I’ve spent abroad were “absolutely amazing, and everything I ever dreamed of.” Because in reality, living somewhere else is tough. You don’t know what the usual groceries you bought are, you don’t know where the best study spots are, you can’t call your sister at anytime to complain, and well you feel sorta lost for awhile (and if you’re me, you still use Google Maps to get around after 3 months). But I can, however, say that it’s the best decision I’ve made as an undergraduate student at The University of Florida. Studying abroad in all senses has put the bow on top of my undergrad studies. Seeing new parts of the world has left me motivated to continue to explore this amazing world we live in.
As I return to finish my undergrad this Fall in Gainesville, in the palest state I’ve ever been in 21 years, I am forever thankful to the Netherlands for this indescribable opportunity.