Well, I’ve been in the Netherlands for four and a half days now and it’s already been quite the adventure! The journey from Charlotte to Amsterdam was smooth, albeit long. I ended up having the entire row of seats on the flight across the Atlantic to myself, which made it much easier to stretch out and try to get some sleep! For the past few days, my grandparents and I have been shopping for bedding and kitchenware for my dorm room. In case you’re also looking, the Action is a great place in the Netherlands to shop for just about everything you need for your dorm.
One very important tip for exchange students from College of Charleston to the University of Groningen: make sure you have a list of backup classes. You don’t necessarily need to get them approved already, but have a good understanding of what you can take and what you have to take for your major while you’re abroad. As always, Degree Works is an incredibly useful tool for this, as well as the major roadmaps on the CofC website. (Sorry, is my peer facilitator showing?) I had a couple of extra classes approved while still in Charleston, but I just found out a week before class starts that three out of six courses I had requested to take are full. With the extra constraints on course availability, such as major requirements and the fact that the courses have to fit into my schedule, finding replacement courses has been a challenge. My best advice is to expect something like this to happen no matter where you decide to study abroad, and to be as prepared as possible when it does happen. Another thing to note is that WhatsApp is a very popular free messaging service in the Netherlands, which many Dutch people now use instead of text messaging. Not only will this make it easier to exchange messages with people you meet in the Netherlands, but you can also send messages to family and friends in your home country as well.
Though it is a bit of a readjustment, so far I feel as if not much has changed since I was last here nine years ago–but I’ll let you know if that changes! When I get to Groningen I will take (and post) more pictures. It’s been a bit helter-skelter thus far!