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It’s been a while

Well, it’s been quite a while since I last posted, and lordy, so much has happened since then!

After spending the first 2 weeks in Italy with my family, I decided to solo travel around Spain – in hopes to improve my mainly Duolingo fostered language skills. This included 5 days in Seville, 4 days in Granada and 6 days in Barcelona (will make separate posts for these later).

And now… I AM FINALLY IN AMSTERDAM!

I arrived on the 30th of January and time has flown ridiculously fast. Although welcomed with not so great weather, I was nonetheless very excited to begin my exchange adventures! As I have procrastinated writing this, I am attempting to squeeze a lot of information into this post – so brace yourself.

 

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My first photo taken - Schiphol Airport

Currently I am studying at Amsterdam University College (AUC) – a tiny liberal arts college, as part of the University of Amsterdam. It’s a single building with 3 floors, so not bumping into someone you recognise is practically impossible. Each class has a max of 25 students and is compulsory…meaning that I’ve already been to more classes than my entire degree back home.

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The supposedly 'red' building - It's definitely brown

As a notoriously indecisive person, the process of choosing my subjects spanned more than 2 weeks with multiple add/drops. But since then, I have finally settled on Spanish A2, Introduction to film studies and Global leadership – the latter being the hardest to choose because it demanded a lot of work – believe me, the teacher is intense. But in the end I decided to take on the challenge and prioritise learning as well as travelling (it was a very difficult decision).

Also, I was given the option to be paired with a local student buddy from this university, which just so happened to be the wonderful Carolina (Caz/Cazza/Caren) – who is equally as weird as me 🙂 She is so welcoming and has made transitioning into life here incredibly easy. From allowing me to stay with her a few days before moving into the dorms, to introducing me to her friends and family (I may or may not have become their third child), I am extremely thankful for everything. And you guys better believe she’s coming to Melbourne Uni next semester on exchange!

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First night in Amsterdam with Caz!

The day after arriving began a whirlwind of activities. Having signed up for the ISN orientation program, it involved a range of activities that left me exhausted:

Some notable things during this program:

  • The most disgusting dinner at UvA (I think it was supposed to be rice with chicken, but I was incredibly sad after eating it)
  • Coco’s outback, which unbeknownst to me was an Australian themed club. As such, I was painfully overwhelmed by the mass of stereotypes of my       country – including a goddamn crocodile on the roof, the flag and didgeridoos. Definitely a culture shock
  • The international dinner, which involved people cooking and bringing food from their native country. I was lazy and brought potato chips, but               some people went all out – was an enjoyable night.

Although this was a great way to meet people, the overwhelming amount of activities in such a short period took time away to rest and focus on myself. So sorry for my late message replies, I tried (and am trying) my best!  

Onto my room! As it is a college, all students are required to live on campus. And because it was the cheapest option, I ended up choosing to share a dorm that is essentially one rectangle, split into the front dining/doctor’s waiting room area, the kitchen and bathroom, and our bedroom. It still currently looks like a prison but I’ll provide an update once it looks habitable. 

I’m sharing with 2 other people, who happen to be the lovely Maya and Alice from Toronto! Coincidentally, they are actually roommates back home and somehow managed to stick together here. To introduce them a little, Maya is the daughter of a man that literally wins everything (they went to Demi Lovato together) and Alice doesn’t really like spontaneous photos. Also never have I ever heard people say ‘yikes’ in a genuine way – a culture shock indeed.

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Maya (left), Alice (middle) – Little did they know I’d choose this photo

Also I finally got my bike Bertie! Public transport in Amsterdam is both expensive and unnecessary. If anything, it’ll take you longer to get somewhere with frequent stops and waiting time – hence my eagerness in buying one. But, I couldn’t have chosen the best time to trial my bike. It was raining heavily (what’s new), I couldn’t feel my fingers and was ready to call it a day. Again, my indecisiveness only made the decision last for 2 hours, but I think I made a really good one. 

Although technically a child’s bike (because my little legs will never compete with that of the Dutch), Bertie has been the best thing ever. He has definitely been my best investment – now finally allowing me to road rage like a proper local. 

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Bertie the Bike

There’s so much I want to share about my experiences so far. This is just a brief overview of what’s been happening, but I’ll definitely share more in the posts to come.

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