"My advice is, if you really want the experience, go for it!"
-Dixie from Indonesia
Where are you studying and where are you from originally?
I am currently studying abroad in Amsterdam in the Netherlands at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). I am half Indonesian, I was born and raised in Indonesia.
Why did you want to study abroad, and why did you choose the Netherlands?
I have always wanted to study abroad because I wanted an experience studying in the Western atmosphere. I choose the Netherlands because their university courses are dominantly taught in English and that was very convenient for me. It is also a very student-friendly country (student discounts/prices are common).
Why did you choose the University of Amsterdam?
I chose UvA because it has a good reputation, good rank, and has an international environment.
What have some of the highlights been studying abroad?
The highlights of my study abroad experience thus far would have to be: exploring every little bit of the city I live in, meeting great people unexpectedly, anywhere (classmates, university students on campus and even strangers in the supermarket) who helped me with small practical issues or gave me a motivational talk that would make my day! I also enjoy going places by bike (something I have never done previously), cooking for myself and sometimes friends too, and being entertained by my hilarious professors.
Do you have an embarrassing study abroad story you’re willing to share?
I probably have a couple of embarrassing incidences, but one was when I exited the supermarket through the emergency door (by accident because the sign was in Dutch, and I didn't understand). An alarm went off immediately after I opened the door, and the entire supermarket stared at me, but afterwards one nice lady directed me to the correct exit.
What have you found the hardest about studying abroad?
The hardest part about studying abroad used to be dealing with homesickness, but I think I am getting better with it because I know how to make myself feel better now when it happens. Other than that, the hardest part is having to study at the same pace as the study schedule.
How will your brand-new iPad help you with your studies?
Since my classes make use of Blackboard for referring to exercises to be done in class, it would be convenient to bring an iPad to school rather than a laptop because it is lighter and more convenient to use. I could also use it to take down lecture notes by scanning them.
Do you have any advice for anyone thinking about studying abroad?
My advice is, if you really want the experience, go for it! I think it really teaches you to become an independent adult and more responsible. It will open you up to opportunities you never knew you had before, and introduce you to people from different cultures. You also learn to work hard and make yourself proud by rewarding yourself when you feel like you have earned it! Homesickness is something you will definitely experience, but you will eventually get through it because everyone else can manage it. I also suggest making a monthly budget, creating a study schedule and using a planner. It helps. My last piece of advice is to enjoy your experience while you can!