Those of us who are well travelled may think that we understand what it’s like to be surrounded by a different culture. Being from Canada, where we have one of the most culturally diverse populations of the world, and well travelled, I thought that moving to the Netherlands to study would be nothing too new to me. I became more and more shocked as to how wrong I was, and never have I felt so different from others and so alone. Eventually, it became clearer to me how Canadian I really am, and the only one I even knew of at the school. I realized that my upbringing back home has influenced me in more ways than I knew both personally and as a student.
As time went by and I became more aware of all the cultural differences that were in each classroom at the school, I started to see how people I studied with changed as they started to adapt more to their new environment, as did I. Some students became more outspoken, especially as their English improved, and some became more serious and reserved at school. As for myself, I have become used to being culturally alone and comfortable with it which has now allowed me to appreciate the true ‘international experience’ in a way that I never have before.