Going Dutch on the CHE Exchange (Part 2)
Hey again future students,
It's been almost two weeks since I swapped out the short, cold Edmonton winter days for a Dutch adventure. Last week I wrote a blog explaining the exchange program to CHE in Ede, Netherlands, as well as the places and people associated with this trip. This week I'm excited to share all of my favourite highlights from this incredible experience (not to mention my travel pics, scroll to the bottom)!
1. Host Family
I know I mentioned this multiple times in my last blog, but host families are honestly the best thing ever. Nothing connects you to a foreign country than the authentic experience of living in a typical home, eating home-cooked food, and spending quality time with the people that live there. There is so much to be learned from people of a different culture and I don't think there's a better way to do this than by having long conversations over tea while playing board games.
I consider myself to be quite the adventurer, so the fact that this trip includes a rented bike for personal travel was a big deal for me. Travelling by bike is a big part of the Dutch culture and I felt connected to my new home in Ede quickly because I was exploring the streets every day on my bicycle. I felt like the program was a perfect mix of instructional time, free time and optional adventures.
One of the optional adventures, as mentioned above, was a trip to Utrecht - a quaint Dutch city that is overflowing with canals, beautiful architecture and the home town of the only Dutch Pope! If none of that speaks to you, I cant let you in on the Utrecht's finest feature: there's a restaurant that offers unlimited pancakes to students! I ate so many apple pancakes that I honestly thought I was going to explode.
As a Politics-History-Economics student with dreams of working in international relations, I was in awe when I got to visit the European Union Parliament in Brussels, Belgium. The two days spent in Belgium focused on learning about issues modern Europeans are facing. Two days was sadly only enough time to get a glimpse of the beautiful sights all around Brussels and eat only a fraction of the waffles I desperately wanted to eat. This trip gave me a taste of Belgium and a desire to return and explore even more!
The past two weeks really pushed me out of my comfort zone, and the more I challenged myself the more rewarding this trip became. Now I can see that I'll miss all the things I thought I wouldn't like, but turned out to love. This was an amazing experience that taught me so much more than I could ever learn in a classroom. I hope you do something adventurous this year that helps you grow, and don't forget to keep your eyes open for opportunities like the "Going Dutch" program when you're a student here at King's.