I’m sitting in my cozy Rotterdam apartment, coffee in hand, rushing to finish assignments that are due on blackboard in less than an hour. I swear, I’m usually better about not procrastinating, but life as a student-traveler has it’s distractions.
Because much of the abroad experience is spent traveling and bouncing around from country to country, you don’t always seize the opportunity to get to know your host city and country. Upon the arrival of the New Year, I decided that this term I wanted to truly get to know Rotterdam for all it’s quirks, traditions and locals only spots.
As a San Diegan living in the Netherlands, I realized this study abroad experience is my first encounter with a real winter. I’ve been in the snow, but this would be my first time in it for the long haul. So, like the sun lover I am, I pounced on the idea of warmer weather and booked my New Year’s Eve trip to Lisbon, Portugal with a group of friends. According to lonely planet, Lisbon is the No. 2 spot in Europe to celebrate the New Year.
I didn’t realize how much of a foodie I was until I moved to the Netherlands. I thought I loved food as much as the next person, but I stand corrected! I can now describe myself confidently as a self-proclaimed foodie, especially among my Dutch friends and classmates, who really don’t give a damn.
I’m five weeks into my year at Erasmus University in Rotterdam. The initial shock, hectic administrative responsibilities and the euphoria of a new school in a foreign country are coming to an end. Life is settling in and I’m feelin’ like a Rotterdammer!
It has been two weeks since I’ve officially begun my study abroad exchange in Europe. When asked by friends and family “how is it, Kels?,” the only reply I can muster up is “completely surreal.” I’ll be living in the city of Rotterdam in the Netherlands for one entire academic year and this tiny portion in the beginning has already been a wild ride.