It’s crazy to think that I’ve been in the Netherlands for over a month and everything that I have done so far! This past week, my uncle and cousin came to visit, I went into the town center, celebrated my best friend’s birthday, and took lots of photos. The weather has taken a turn from sunny and relaxing to pouring rain in a matter of days which has had its upsides and downsides. I love bright weather because I suffer from depression so vitamin D is essential for me, once the rain began to become more of a constant, I have felt more surges of sadness lately. Thankfully, I have the best roommate, Rachel, so together we’ve been doing little things we both enjoy to cheer each other up whenever we’re not feeling our best. She is obsessed with Dunkin Donuts so we found a little shop specific to Amsterdam and made our way there on the tram to have some of the best Dunkin we’ve ever had.
Last Sunday, I heard my phone ring in my apartment and my uncle’s wife’s voice calling for me to open the door for them. To my surprise, they had driven from Germany to come visit me and see how I have been adjusting to my living space in Amsterdam. Together we walked around my neighborhood and took the metro into the city center to have lunch and take some photos together. It was lovely meeting my uncle for the first time and having the connection that comes along with being Bosnian and being there with him in my home continent, it was nice being able to speak Bosnian with someone there and open up about how I am feeling. Our day out was cut short due to the rain, so we made our way back to my apartment and said our goodbyes.
Shortly afterward, my best friend Sebina’s birthday happened which was exciting despite our distance apart. She and I celebrated virtually which was not the same, but it gave me something to look forward to–celebrating with her again, once I am home. Another close friend of mine, Gab, had her birthday as well which was exciting as she turned twenty-one! Gab and I have known each other since second grade and have stayed friends ever since. Once I’m home she will be one of the first people I will go and visit. 😄
Lately, my Development and Globalization course has been covering similar topics of coloniality that my courses at the University of Utah have, specifically the Haitian Revolution and ‘racialized aliveness’. It is interesting to investigate these concepts through Dutch perspectives as students here are able to deconstruct such ideas and events in history in a much different way. Although my educational experience in the Netherlands this far has been mostly positive-I have been critical of the grading system here. I noticed that professors are not as clear about their expectations in my minor program as people who are not international students in the same minor program have gone through sequential courses that build off of one another prior to taking the courses I am. Therefore, they have background knowledge on topics that I don’t, making it more difficult to fully understand.