What I’ve Learned… by Laura Wintjen

Academically, things are very different in the Netherlands. You have much less class and a lot more individual studying. It is not ideal for procrastinators! You have to stay on your toes and keep up with the work. Finance is interesting because it is mostly numbers, so you might think it’s the same around the world, but the currency used is different, interest rates are different, and concepts are called different things. There was a bit of a learning curve when it came to my major courses.

However, academics is not the only learning I have done. First, I have learned that people are generally the same. You might not be able to tell by what someone says how they are feeling, but body language is so important. The way people smile and react to situations is the same and it makes me feel connected to people all over the world. The Dutch sense of humor is quite similar to America. My friends here laugh and find joy in the same things. I finally found a balance of fitting in, while being able to show my American identity. I have made lifelong friends that have taught me not to be materialistic, that experience is more valuable than material, and that no matter what is thrown at you, you have to keep going. The Dutch saying states, “the weather is the weather”, which means that even if it is storming outside you must find a way to get to class or work. The means by which you use to accomplish this can be as creative as possible, but life must keep going. I have learned to be tough mentally and physically here and I have learned how to eat healthy and fresh. I did not expect to experience so much love and learn so much from the people around me – that are my peers! I am truly honored to be able to study finance and learn from the people here in Groningen.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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