Looking back at myself in June and who I was as a person and how much I have changed since is mind-boggling. These past few days I have taken some time to contemplate everything this study abroad experience has allowed me to learn and I think this part of my life has been the most transformative few months ever. My networking skills have become so much better, I’ve learned to value my friendships and family so much more, I’ve embraced my sustainable lifestyle like never before, and have grown to acknowledge my emotional struggles and grow from them.
I went on a date for the first time in Amsterdam recently and that was also a lovely experience because I was able to meet a Dutch boy to show me around one of the parks nearby and teach me about his studies in the Netherlands. It was so interesting branching out in this area of my life as well because it allowed me to be vulnerable and see how my expectations for a relationship connect with my cultural norms as a Bosnian and in that my European background.
Another major event this week was one of the most important presentations of the academic year for my ‘Nature versus Nurture’ course and it went well despite my anxiety surrounding the public speaking aspect. Although I got a good grade, I do have some critiques regarding the professors here because I have found my academic performance to be evaluated very differently here compared to in the United States. Here the professors are not as invested in personalizing your education in the way educators in the U.S. are. They expect you to perform in a manner that is more based on memorization and recitation which is oddly enough the exact opposite type of teaching that I thought was going to be put into practice in the Netherlands. I understand to an extent where this kind of learning could be helpful, but regardless, it is very exclusive to many other types of learners. I noticed that for instance, in my presentation, I was penalized for having a slide on my PowerPoint that did not have any visual aids. My slide was my group’s conclusion slide and on the rubric, there was no expectation for there to be visual aids on every slide. Therefore, I found that the grading policies here are not necessarily fair and unbiased. Depending on the professor, the grading system is very subjective, therefore I have taken note of this and will not be including this aspect of learning in my personal pedagogy.