Exchange has helped me learn more about myself and become more independent since you’re forced to do things on your own and are responsible for your wellbeing. I can confidently say that it’s become easier for me to interact with my peers and socialize with new people. I’ve also learned how to find the balance between constantly socializing and taking time for myself to reenergize when I need some alone time. From an academic standpoint, I got a chance to learn more about the European education system and was able to discover new interests during my studies that I plan to pursue once I return to Vancouver.
I would be lying if I said I didn’t get cold feet a couple days before my flight but now my only regret is that I wish I had extended my stay when I had the chance. I understand that everyone has second thoughts about committing to living in a foreign country and rightfully so, it’s a big decision. All the worries will disappear as soon as you set foot in Amsterdam because of the opportunities that await you. My advice is to try new things and say yes to new experiences. I think that many of us get stuck in a routine while we live our normal life and it’s important to try things that frighten us to force us to step out of our comfort zone and grow. I advise everyone to meet as many people as possible while on exchange since everyone offers a new perspective. One thing I wish I knew before coming on exchange is to cherish every single moment during the semester. There were tough times where I felt lonely and homesick, but I've learned to cope with it. 4 months may seem too long to be away from home, but it all goes by in a heartbeat so enjoy it while you can!