When I started this blog (3.5 years ago!) I was a naïve, young 18-year-old about to start university. I was excited for the adventure ahead of me, an adventure that I expected to only last for 3 years before returning to the UK. How wrong I was. I never anticipated how the prospect of leaving everything I had come to know and love about the Netherlands would be so difficult that I would decide to simply not leave. I never thought I would go on to do a master’s degree. Yet here I am, 3.5 years older, wiser (kind of), and studying for my master’s degree at Rotterdam School of Management.
It’s been a little quiet here recently at ruthgoesdutch, but here it finally is- the last blog of my Utrecht adventure. In a week I will move to Rotterdam to study Marketing Management at Rotterdam School of Management. I hope to carry on blogging while in Rotterdam, but in the meantime here are my reflections on the last three wonderful years.
A-level results came out last week in the UK and I was surprised at how nostalgic I felt hearing the reactions of students across the country over the radio. It seems like only yesterday that I was one of them, and the saying time flies while you’re having fun really rings true here. Having said that, a lot has changed in those three years. Without knowing where to start, the UK decided to leave the EU, I lost a couple of bits of teeth, and the cat I wanted to take with me in first year is no more. On a cheerier note, many good friends have been made, exams have all been passed, my thesis has been completed, and three weeks ago I became an Auntie!
I’ve been reflecting recently on how the stage of life we’re currently at always feels like the most important. This feels especially true through school and university years (i.e. all I’ve ever known). From GCSE’s to A-levels, Bachelor studies to Masters, I’ve been reminded recently of how important it is to enjoy and make the most of every stage. A cynic might view each as no more than a stepping stone to the next, but in reality I think we are all shaped by the experiences and people that we encounter at every juncture. These experiences are not always easy, and we never get along with everyone, but when I look back on my time in Utrecht I have no doubts that knowing what I do now, I’d do it all again. And when we can say that, we really are blessed.
All good things must come to an end, and while I’ll be sad to leave the city I’ve grown so fond of behind, my year in Rotterdam is still to come and I couldn’t be more excited (as well as a little nervous).
Dear reader, your regular correspondent is indisposed at this time. She has fallen off her bike, chipped her two front teeth and is feeling very sorry for herself and not in the mood for blogging.
And so, for one post only, her father is going to stand in.
Whether it’s high school, a bachelors, or a masters degree, the dreaded question facing every final year student is What Next. What will you do next year; in your life, in your studies, and beyond? In the game of life, what will be your next move? For a rare few this question is met with absolute certainty of where they want to go and who they want to be. But for most there is a fear of not knowing, of the uncertainty that lies ahead. Even if you know what you want to do, will it be possible? Or will you be prevented by finances, by abilities, or by the gatekeepers that stand in the way. To make matters worse, not only are we asked these questions by our families and friends but also by people we barely know. It seems that as soon as anyone you’re talking to finds out that it’s the final year of your studies, they ask… Continue reading “What Next?”
Two years have flown by and with final year about to start I began thinking about everything I’d like to go back and tell myself before I even left, so in case time travel turns out to be possible, here goes;
Dear first year me,
fruit and vegetables are your friends, eat them to avoid freshers flu
What is it about the English that has made us such keen explorers? Was it the ocean surrounding us that inspired us to explore beyond it? Is it in our blood? From Captain James Cook (best known for his sea voyages and being the first European explorer to discover the Eastern coastline of Australia), to Henry Hudson (whom the Hudson river is named after), and Sir Ranulph Fiennes (who, amongst other achievements, was the first person ever to reach the summit of Mt Everest and cross both polar ice caps), history would suggest that we just can’t resist new horizons.
You and your new city. Just like with any new relationship, there are ups and downs. You’re still getting to know eachother and perhaps from time to time you fall out, maybe even nearly break up a couple of times, over silly things like the public transport system or the average price of beer.
When you’re on an academic calendar it can be hard to see a new year as a fresh start. You’ve already had the start of a new year in September, and January is more about passing exams and fighting the cold weather than hitting the gym or eating more healthily. And in all honesty, I think most people have given up on the idea of ‘new years resolutions’ because let’s face it- you still bite your fingernails don’t you. Continue reading “Gelukkig Nieuwjaar!”
So you came in fourth place, you probably put in the same amount of effort as a medallist and maybe if the wind was blowing a slightly different direction it would’ve been you on that podium, but today it just wasn’t meant to be. Then somehow, you figure fourth place isn’t so bad.
In fact, I would argue that it is really the very best place to be.
In September 2015 I moved to study in the ‘gezellig’ Dutch city that is Utrecht; the fourth largest city in the Netherlands, from Sheffield; the fourth largest city in England. These two lovely cities have a lot in common Continue reading “Fourth Place”
So you spent first year in a fully furnished, probably overpriced, SSH room. But what happens when the reality of second year hits and, in typically Dutch fashion, you move into a completely bare room?
Well, the Dutch don’t necessarily have the answer, but the Swedes do.
Chances are, if you’re Dutch then your parents can help you out moving some furniture from home or picking something up from Marktplaats. For international students however, the reality of furnishing an entire room is a significantly more daunting task. The solution: a day trip to the flat pack heaven that is IKEA. Continue reading “What’s the big Ikea?”