Netherlands for the weekend. BRB.Salamanca, Fall 2011

When I first started writing this post, I was waiting for my flight to Amsterdam and realized that I hadn’t blogged about traveling yet. One of the great things about studying abroad in Europe is that it is very easy to travel to other countries. For example, in just 2 hours, I was in Holland. This may be hard to imagine because back home we can travel for 2 hours (and even 6 hours) and we are still in the States. Also, with cheap airlines like Ryanair and easyJet you can fly to another country for only 30 Euros! (of course, you may not get as much leg room and you do have to pack light, which is definitely not easy for me, but it is still a great deal!) This semester I traveled to different parts of Spain with IES and I also had the chance to do my own trips to different countries like Germany for Oktoberfest and France with my Mom!

So what did I do in the Netherlands? I traveled up north to visit my lovely Dutch and German friends who I had met in Perú this past summer. My friend Jinke picked me up from the airport in Amsterdam and the next day we went to The Hague, which is actually the seat of government and administrative center of the Netherlands, to meet up with the rest of our gang. We explored The Hague and spent some time in the Mauritshuis museum, which has a large art collection, including paintings by Dutch painters such as Vermeer, Rembrandt and Steen. I love this museum because I took a Dutch art history class during my freshman year of college and it was really nice seeing the paintings that I had studied in person! (especially the Girl with a Pearl Earring, my favorite painting) We even spent the night in Delft, Vermeer’s city and returned to Amsterdam on Saturday to do some more sightseeing.

Despite how corny this may sound, this weekend made me realize how lucky I am to have such great friends. I am so grateful that I met them in Perú and that we met up in both Germany and the Netherlands this semester. When you go abroad, you meet different types of people that you usually wouldn’t have the opportunity to meet at home. Studying abroad is a very rewarding experience because you meet people from different countries and you soon realize that even though you may not speak their language nor understand some of their cultural beliefs, you have a lot in common. You also gain a new perspective on everything, and it is always very interesting listening to their opinions of the United States and having to correct their misconceptions!

Even though I am not going to be in Europe for much longer, I know that I will see these friends again, especially since I plan to live here after I graduate! I have grown in many ways because of them and I am even inspired to learn more languages, such as Dutch and German. Thank you for everything, guys and I can’t wait till our next reunion!

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