Rose, outbound to Netherlands

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I cannot believe that it has been a year since I applied to go on my exchange! Looking back on the moment I decided to do this, I have never made a better choice. When I first applied I never would have imagined it would have such an affect on my life.

I have been here in the beautiful country of the Netherlands for exactly 6 weeks now. Time is really flying by! So far I have been to Amsterdam and Utrecht, as well as the surronding cities near me in Gelderland. Each city I have visited seems to be living and breathing; each has it's own distinct character. Amserdam was busy yet beautiful. It reminded me of the quote "thirty, flirty, and thriving" from 13 going on 30. Old architecture met new technology and people rushed around from shop to shop. Canals stretched for miles, and there was a new one everytime you turned a corner. Utrecht, on the other hand, had thin streets filled with ice cream stands and quirky little stores. If you looked down into the canals you could see the houses built right next to the water, below where you were walking. Utrecht was a sort of sleepy town despite it's size. Music drifted through the air from live street performers; classical guitar followed you walked from street to street. 

I now go to school at Staring College in Lochem. School is much different here than in the states. So far I have really enjoyed my time at Staring. The teachers are really very helpful when it comes to homework or tests. Also, my friends are always giving me their help which I am boundlessly thankful for. At school I take normal courses like history, english, dutch, and math. I also take music and drama and art history. The building itself is three stories tall, so I have been trying to get used to the stairs. It makes it much more tiring when I also bike to and from school. Nine miles. Everyday. But at least my leg muscles are toned.

The food here is amazing, bottom line. Every morning (and lets be honest, I eat it again for a snack almost everyday) I eat bread and butter with hagelslag. Its basically just chocolate sprinkles, but its also so much more than that. I can't explain it but my mouth waters when I think about it. Also, two words: THE CHEESE. I will never be able to eat chedder cheese again. The cheese here is amazing. I have tried some dutch foods like frikandel, stroopwafel, and bitterballen. All of which are amazing in their own ways. Honestly, the only reason I haven't gained my "exchange student 80" yet is because I bike 18 miles. Everyday.

I have already been to a Rotary meeting. The Rotarians are so kind and thoughtful, they made American food that night for the whole crowd. I can not thank them enough for everything they have already done. 

This is all I have to report for now! If you are considering exchange, do it. By all means, do it. In just six short weeks my life has changed in ways I never could have imagined. I have met friends that will last me a lifetime. I have been introduced to this whole new world and I am loving every single second of it.