Culture, Customs and Traditions – Adjusting by Laura Wintjen

Studying abroad isn’t always as glamorous as you’d expect. Things don’t just fall into place. People can be rude. People can be kind. Things will be tough, and you will be confused and sometimes you find it impossible to do ordinary things. Also, being the only American in my house of 12 Dutch roommates can be tough. Everyone is always watching what I do, what I eat, and what I’m doing each day. I understand that I am interesting to them, but it is a lot of pressure. They also have a different perspective about America than I expected. A lot of the things they say about America is negative and stereotypical. At first, I found it funny, but then it started to bother me that every time I introduced myself, I would be bombarded with questions about obesity and Donald trump. On top of all that I have to work hard in school and figure out how to navigate around. But there are moments when you figure something out and you go “I got this” and then you realize that you are in a totally different country where everything is different, and you are not only functioning but starting to experience being present. The relationships and connections you form are well worth the work! When you meet people that are super interested in getting to know you and learn about your culture it is very fun!  I have not really felt homesick because every time I start to feel lost, I keep moving and then come out victorious – by finding the grocery store or getting on the right bus. In those moments I reflect on my accomplishments and have an overwhelming sense of pride in myself. I have become incredibly close with my roommates. I was truly not expecting to fall in love with the people I live with but their generosity, help, advice, and love has been the best thing that any experience abroad could offer!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *