The Best Part of Long-Term Study Abroad

A girl walks through Amsterdam. CC0

Written by  February 1, 2016

After winter holidays at home, Emily dreads going back to Amsterdam—but returns to a pleasant surprise. 

After a month spent back in England over Christmas catching up with family and friends, I was slightly nervous when the time came to return to Amsterdam for my second semester.

I’d had some amazing experiences during my first few months living in The Netherlands, but I knew that this time around things would be different. A lot of the friends I’d made here were now thousands of miles away, having already travelled back to their home countries for good. After a contented few weeks back in the UK, I wondered if I was going to miss the familiarity of home comforts, and if it would take me a while to settle back into my life abroad.

It is incredible to be able to travel between two countries, and for both ends of the journey to feel like coming home.

But as my train pulled into Centraal station after the short journey from Schipol airport, I was surprised at how good it felt to be back. I realized, as I stepped out into the street crowded with bicycles and lined with beautiful moonlit canals, just how much I’d missed being here. As I walked back to my flat I was met with a mixture of excitement for all of the new experiences that I was going to have, and a sense of calm familiarity.

This feeling perfectly encapsulates why I think everyone who has the opportunity to should travel abroad—and if possible should stay in one place long enough for it to become familiar. It is incredible to be able to travel between two countries, and for both ends of the journey to feel like coming home.

My stay so far in Amsterdam has opened me up so much to the idea of travelling to a destination for an extended period of time. While short-term travel can be a lot of fun, I have grown to love the idea of being able to explore a location to its fullest, and get to know the culture and the area inside out. It would be great to repeat my experience in other locations and create yet more places that I can go home to.

Making friends from all over the globe is also such a nice way of making the world seem that little bit smaller. The fact that I now have the opportunity to travel to destinations on the opposite side of the pond and be greeted by a friend that lives there is another truly amazing benefit of this experience. It is also such an incentive to visit countries that you may not have even considered exploring before.

I would urge anyone considering going abroad for an extended period to not let fears of unfamiliarity hold them back, but instead to take the risk, find a home out of somewhere new, and make the world seem that little bit smaller.

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Published in Study Abroad Blogs
Emily King

Emily King is a third-year Psychology undergraduate from the University of Sussex in England, and is currently undertaking an Erasmus year abroad at the University of Amsterdam.

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