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International Center

University of Missouri

Farewell, Europe

by Hunter M.

As I prepared to go overseas, I had no idea what I was getting into. I could assume that it would be significantly different, but how? For weeks, I prepared myself for the culture shock of a lifetime. I researched and researched, hoping to get a handle on what was in store for me.

Little did I know that once I arrived, I would feel right at home. Indeed, it looked far different. The architecture was older, grander. The roads were lined with brick, switching pattern as I walked along. Where there wasn’t brick, there was cobblestone or railroad tracks. Only a few times did I come across any kind of asphalt.

There weren’t large patched of grass like we have here in the States. Instead, the roads are paved from building to building. This doesn’t stop people from growing gardens, though. The walls were lined with plants. There were flowerpots and rose bushes climbing lattice. There were stands stocked with blooming peonies and lilies of every color, not to mention the famous tulips that Holland is known for.

Even with these differences, the feel was inexplicable inviting. The people were kind and patient, understanding that Dutch isn’t our first language, or much of a language we get exposure to where we’re from. The shop owners became acquaintances and the towns we stayed in as a whole welcomed us with open arms. Were there challenges? Of course there were. It is very hard to pack up your things and move to another country. The environment is different, the customs aren’t the same, it all takes some getting used to. Nonetheless, it is one of the best experiences of my life thus far.

I didn’t want to return to the United States, as I had fallen in love with the quaint little country where I’d started to build my new home. I tell my friends and family that Holland hasn’t seen the last of me. In fact, Europe hasn’t. I will go back. Some way, somehow. Until then, I will mosey along in my American routine, preparing to, one day, reunite with the world that seems a perfect fit. My dream. My niche. My Europe.

About the blogger

Hunter M. is studying abroad on the Exploring the Northern Renaissance: Dutch and Flemish Art program in the Netherlands and Belgium.

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