Two weeks ago I landed in Amsterdam, and after dragging my 63 pound suitcase, plus giant duffle bag through the airport, a train, getting lost trying to find my apartment, and then spending 10 minutes trying to figure out how to unlock my front door, I finally made it to my new home for the semester, The Hague, Netherlands.
The rest of the first day was spent in orientation and fighting the urge to fall asleep due to being awake for over 24 hours. The next couple of days were also spent in orientation, and getting settled in my apartment. I got my apartment through a student housing company, which came with certain things, like bedding and kitchen utensils. However, there were still some things I needed to buy, like towels and a blanket. Luckily, there’s a big shopping center right across the street from my apartment with two grocery stores, some home good stores, and about 15 furniture stores, where I could get everything I needed.
At the end of orientation, I registered for classes. My school is set up into two terms, so some classes will only last for 6 weeks, while the other are two terms and will last for six weeks. Luckily, for the first term I only have classes on Tuesdays and Thursday. Unluckily, I won’t know my schedule for term 4 until late March which makes it hard to plan trips too far in advance. I guess I just need to travel as much as I can during term 3.
My first weekend was spent exploring the Hague with some kids from my program. The Hague has a great city center with a lot of great shopping and restaurants (there’s literally an H&M on every corner which is awesome, but also dangerous). We also went to the beach, despite it being cold and windy (which reminds me of being back in Chicago). It was gorgeous even with the less than great weather, so I can’t wait until it warms up a little bit.
My second week here started my classes, which all seem like they’ll be interesting. It’s a little different here because rather than having lots of small assignments throughout the semester, most of my classes just have one exam that make up 100% of my grade for the class. On Wednesday night I went with a group of kids from my program to see a dance performance, that was a modern interpretation of Alice in Wonderland. It was kind of weird but also really cool.
Then on Friday I went into Amsterdam with a group of friends. We took the train in and got there around 11am and spent the day exploring. A couple of us got tickets through a student organization to a canal tour and the Amsterdam Ice bar. Both were super fun. The Ice Bar was fun, but I’m glad I got a discounted ticket to it, because it definitely wouldn’t have been worth the full price, but 10 euro for a boat tour and three free drinks isn’t a bad deal.
On Sunday (valentines day) a group of friends and I tried to go see Deadpool, but it was sold out (not surprising since it just came out and it was a rainy Sunday afternoon), so instead we found a British Pub and spent the afternoon drinking beer and eating snacks.
Then today I went to a big market in The Hague, that had so many stalls of clothes and fresh produce, all of which was super cheap and fresh, and I’ll definitely being going back a lot during the semester.
Next week my school already has a break (so much for “study” abroad), and I’ll be going to Brugge, Belgium for the first half with my friend Courtney, and then going to Germany to visit my best friend from high school Kelly, for the second half.