It’s been 2 weeks since I reluctantly flew home from Amsterdam, my year abroad at an end.
I’m still in denial. Which is why it’s taking me so long to write this. My naïve belief that by delaying the writing of this post, somehow the year wouldn’t really be over.
Yet, in spite of my best efforts, it is over - I have a Certificate of Departure to prove it! So it’s about time I attempt to sum up what has been one of the best years of my life.
That’s no exaggeration. The last 10 months have been some of the happiest that I can remember. They’ve been full of new people and new experiences. And what unites them all is Amsterdam, a city which has stolen my heart.
Trying to find the words to explain or even describe my love for this city of bikes and canals is proving difficult!
Thankfully, the Nobel-prize and Pulitzer winning author Toni Morrison, who clearly has a far superior way with words than me, described my feelings perfectly in her 1993 novel, Jazz.
‘When they fall in love with a city it is forever and it is like forever. As though there never was a time when they didn’t love it...There, in a city, they are not so much new as themselves, their stronger, riskier selves.’
And that’s exactly what I’ve been during my year abroad; a happier, stronger, more confident version of myself. It’s a version that I’m going to continue channelling.
Going on a year abroad has undoubtedly been the best decision of my life, and it goes far beyond Amsterdam. A year abroad was one of the main reasons for choosing to study at Edinburgh. My exchange has opened my eyes to the possibility of living and working abroad. And it’s given me the chance to spend time with my Dad, both of us helping each other navigate life in a foreign city.
What I’m trying to say in a very roundabout way, is that if you ever get the chance to do an academic / work placement abroad TAKE IT!
Yes it’ll be difficult at times and something will inevitably go wrong - I almost had the bailiffs sent round to my flat because I couldn’t work out what the bills I was being sent in Dutch meant!! But that’s part of the fun of it.
And though I’m sad that the year has ended, I’m also excited for what the future holds. Because one thing I know for certain is that Amsterdam will feature in it one way or another!