As I prepare to enter my senior year at Indiana University, my time on the Bloomington campus is regretfully dwindling. The cliché is true. These four years truly fly by.
I have spent my time as an undergraduate engaging with incredible professors, cheering on my favorite basketball team alongside a sold-out crowd inside Assembly Hall, and celebrating sweet victory when my fraternity’s bike team won the Little 500 women’s bike race for two consecutive years.
Although the last three years on this campus have been full of adventures, I could not help but feel as though my college experience was missing something. My mental to-do list was not complete. Studying abroad has always been something that I have been interested in. I have never even set foot outside of the United States, so exploring the world and learning beside my fellow Hoosier classmates seemed too good to be true.
My father was born in the Netherlands, so my family has a lot of history there. When I found out that the Amsterdam summer program offered credits in political science I knew it was perfect for me. I am pursuing a journalism degree with a concentration in political science, in addition to a minor in the subject. Honestly, I could be studying just about anything in Amsterdam, and I would still be content. I am eager to explore the city, so receiving credit hours for my degree while I am there is a convenient bonus.
After my acceptance to the IU study abroad summer program, I was required to attend an orientation meeting. The lecture hall was chock full of eager faces, ready to learn what exactly was standing between them and their summer destination. The first meeting was for all the Indiana University students from various programs that were studying around the world over the summer. Later we would break off into smaller groups with the students and directors of our respective programs.
We were told to meet in a different room for the latter meeting, and I got lost. As I was wandering the halls of an unfamiliar building on campus searching for the room with my peers, I couldn’t help but laugh at the irony. My parents trust me to navigate around Europe, and I cannot even find a room in Sycamore Hall.
Once I finally found my group and met my endearing resident directors, I was relieved. They gave me a pamphlet to read and introduced the group to students that went on the trip to Amsterdam with IU last summer. The student’s stories were incredible and were often concluded with, “You are just so lucky to be going on this trip.”
But luck had nothing to do with it. It was a need. I knew that I needed something else to complete my undergraduate experience as an IU student. Leaving the country for the first time to start my European adventure with my classmates is slowly becoming a reality. With only a few short days left before my departure, I can happily say I am ready to pack my bags, say my goodbyes, and cross this last item off of my to-do list.