My study abroad experience in Italy was drawing to a close and it was time for me to depart to my second study abroad trip. I would be flying across the continent to Amsterdam in the Netherlands, then after just two weeks there I would be departing for Copenhagen, Denmark. I had been learning Italian while in Venice and Trento, so I was disappointed to no longer be able to use it in conversation right as I was starting to feel confident. I was also sad to leave the food behind. I had done very little research about the Netherlands and Denmark so I was worried that all they would have was fish and beans. I was very wrong and there were much more diverse options, but I did admittedly eat beans every day voluntarily for breakfast.
Upon my first day in Amsterdam, I had to find my own room and board since there was a single day gap between the start of my second program to the end of my first program. I elected to book something called a ‘pod’ at the hostel my program would be staying at. Since I had been living with a roommate for the past month, I would be basking in the privacy of my own little cave for the cheapest price at that location. I had Taiwanese food for the first time that day and it was delicious. There were quite diverse food options in Amsterdam. According to my program’s tour guide, Dutch people did not have much food culture, so the food was primarily outsourced. He said that the Dutch viewed food as energy, not a pleasure. This was very different from the culture in Italy. I missed the long meals and free snacks with drinks. I didn’t expect it to be so difficult to adjust from a culture that I had only spent a month in. I longed for the luxury of taking my meals leisurely.
Thankfully, Copenhagen did not take as much adjusting to after leaving Amsterdam. In both countries, most people spoke English, so I did not have to learn new languages back-to-back. Both countries also had a large sense of community, and the people were very kind. It did take some adjusting to the cost of living, however, since food was much more expensive there than in Amsterdam or Italy. I found that the more places I visited, the faster and easier I found it to adapt to my new surroundings. However, I did expect a hard time adjusting back to the United States after being abroad for so long, but that is just going to be another part of the experience.