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Josh Bower's story

Josh Bowers in The Netherlands in 2023

Over the last three weeks I had the opportunity to study abroad in the Netherlands at Hanze University in Groningen. It was my first time travelling alone and being away from my wife and pets for such a long stretch. Before leaving I expected it to be an opportunity to get out of my comfort zone and experience many things I haven’t before, but in reality, it was even more than that. I made plenty of new friends and questioned my whole perception of what life could be like. The Netherlands is such a great representative for promoting Europe to people because it’s a country that just works from the ground up. They have more bikes than people, transit that comes every 5 minutes, a diverse college culture, and everything is just a short walk away from the town centre. I was lucky to meet new friends who helped motivate me to get out and experience the city in many different ways. This helped motivate me to do well in the classroom as well since doing a good job there would help me to come back one day.

The course load was intense and we had 4 presentations in the final week, but ultimately the experience was worth it to experience Europe and gain valuable intercultural skills and connections. If you have any doubts about these courses I would recommend just “yes and-ing” it until you’re there because you won’t regret it. I am usually an introvert who was pretty stagnate in my daily routine before leaving, but after starting a new routine overseas I don’t want to go back to normal! If I can do it I think anyone can and should do it to better themselves academically and personally. Also, if you happen to do a course in the Netherlands like I did, make sure that you go to the island of Schiermonnikoog.