People have been travelling and exploring the world for ages. But only since the last couple of years this has become as ‘normal’ as it is today. Increased mobility we call it, or the world as a global village. And even though unfortunately not everybody can enjoy the perks of travelling freely across the world, you guys can. But do you even realise how amazing this is? You can just take your passport, go to any airport and book a flight to anywhere in the world.
But what does this increased mobility do to you? Will you ever be the same after you have lived abroad, travelled and have seen and experienced so many things you wouldn’t have if you had stayed at home?
I think travelling and exploring the world changes you. It will open your eyes to the world, its beauty, its greatness, but also to its problems… What is going on in the world suddenly doesn’t seem like somebody else’s problem anymore once you’ve been in their shoes and have experienced what they experience every day. It makes you more tolerant, more open to differences between people and cultures, and more eager to understand how other people live. All of a sudden, the way you have always lived your life doesn’t seem so ‘normal’ anymore.
So what will you learn from your stay in Holland? Will you get a love for chocolate sprinkles on bread, some seriously professional biking skills or the understanding that bringing an umbrella is never a bad idea? Or something deeper, like understanding our ‘polder model’ that the Dutch are famous for? That model states that in order to find solutions, one must always make compromises. In this theory, no one will ever be completely happy, but no one will be totally unhappy either. The only downside: It can take ages for decisions to be made!
We’re saying all of this not to make you afraid, but to make you realise you’re going to be changing in the upcoming semester. And change is good! Change can be great, as long as you know what to do with it! So go ahead, use your new found knowledge and experiences to continue discovering the Netherlands, and the world. Let the lovely people of ESN help you with that, because they know what to do to make your stay in Utrecht unforgettable! Enjoy your stay to the fullest and get everything out of it, so that at the end you can say: “Once an international, always an international.”