study abroad sunday


Sketchbook Sunday feat. The Netherlands

Hello, blog! At long last, I’m posting an on-time Sketchbook Sunday. I’ve just gotten back from my second travel break, which took me to the lovely city of Amsterdam. Aside from all the wonderful museums, cafés, parks, and neighborhoods that we visited, this trip was also a great opportunity to study the network of canals that the city is so famous for. So walking the streets of Amsterdam was both thoroughly enjoyable and super academically useful: my current urban design project involves a whole lot of canals, so Amsterdam was the ideal case study. But that’s a topic for another post, I think.

The other great thing about this trip was that we didn’t stay in Amsterdam the whole time; we took three days to visit neighboring cities in the Netherlands. I cannot recommend this approach enough! It allows you to see lots of different places without having to find new accommodations in each city (not to mention lugging around all your stuff). Smaller cities like Delft, Leiden, and the Hague are also super doable as day trips, since they’re easy to explore in a day or even just an afternoon. Much less stressful than trying to cram multiple huge metropolises like Madrid, Rome, London, and Barcelona into a one-week trip.

I could go on forever about how much I loved the Netherlands, but instead I’ll just pick a few highlights of the trip:

1. Exploring the tiny, winding streets of Delft.

2. Eating french fries, stroopwafels, and poffertjes at a street market in Leiden.

3. Seeing Vermeer’s Girl With the Pearl Earring at the Mauritshuis in the Hague.

4. Wandering around Amsterdam and sketching, sketching, sketching. 

5. Checking out an incredible exhibition at the Van Gogh museum that compared his work to that of Edvard Munch.

6. Eating an incredible Surinamese roti roll in Rotterdam’s enormous market hall.

7. Drinking copious amounts of coffee in various cafés and sketching some more.

8. Chatting with the super-friendly Dutch. (No offense to Danes, who are notoriously reserved, but we had so many wonderful encounters with locals in the Netherlands. We got advice on things to see, tips on places to eat, and had several lovely and/or hilarious conversations.) 

All in all, this was a really incredible trip! But I have to say, I’m super happy to be back in Copenhagen–although now I only have a month left. Yikes!

“Ten years ago I was really worried about what to do when I get old and no longer have any energy. So, I decided to study abroad in Australia at a cosmetology school. However, my visa wasn’t issued; I was in my late 30s, so it was hard for me to get one. The embassy contacted me and asked me why I’m going to study abroad at such an old age. In all sincerity I told them that even though I’m older I want to learn. Then they sent me a visa right away. I think that was a Thursday or Friday. However up until then I didn’t tell anyone I was going to study abroad. Friday, Saturday, Sunday, for three days I packed my things. I told my parents I’m going to study abroad and I asked them to take care of any further tasks left for me back home. Then leaving everything at my store, I went to study abroad.”

“10년 전에 나이를 더 먹고 힘이 없어지면 어떻게 살아가야 할까 많이 고민했어요. 그러다 호주에 있는 한 미용학교에 유학을 가기로 결심을 했어요. 근데 비자가 안 나오는 거예요. 그 때 제 나이가 30대 후반이어서 비자 발급이 어려웠어요. 그러다 대사관에서 연락이 왔어요. 왜 늦은 나이에 유학을 가려 하냐고 묻더라고요. 비록 늦은 나이지만 배움을 원한다고 진심으로 말씀 드리니, 비자가 바로 나왔죠. 그게 아마 목요일이나 금요일이었을 거에요. 근데 그 때까지 아무에게도 제가 유학을 간다고 알리지 않았죠. 금,토,일 3일동안 짐 싸고 ‘저 유학 갈게요’하고 부모님께 나중을 부탁하고 제 가게 집기도 그대로 둔 채로 유학을 가버렸어요.”