“This may sound naive, but, prior to exactly a week ago today, I didn’t think moving to a new country would feel that different from my life in the United States. Maybe it’s because the Netherlands didn’t feel that foreign or maybe it’s because I was just really excited about my research and the prospect of traveling around Europe. I expected the big things to feel different— like of course the language (although everyone here speaks perfect English) or the transportation systems (bicycles > cars). But the small, minute details of everyday life, the facts of life you take for granted in your home country, really hammer home the fact you live in a different world. Like the Dutch, despite their famous tall stature, have very small sinks and very steep stairces. These small differences can feel overwhelming; it is a constant reminder you are existing everyday outside of your comfort zone. And yet, the very existence of these small differences can also be extraordinarily joyful. The small things are all exciting in a new country and hint at adventures to come.”
In her blog, Kaitlyn Rentala describes her year and research in the Netherlands as an American Fulbright Schuman grantee based in Utrecht: you can continue reading here!