Having recently completed my first year of Uni, 😃 I can't help but think back to when it all began - when I went to pick up my passport from the Dutch embassy in Nairobi, and it slowly dawned on me that in exactly one month, I'd be moving to a completely new country for the next few years! 😄 I remember feeling nervous and excited all at the same time.
The Netherlands is such a beautiful country, and I can't think of a better place for me to have chosen to complete my studies. Leiden, especially - which is where I have been living for the past year or so - is a lovely city filled with friendly people who are always willing to help. And I'm not just saying that - it's true! Even as I was writing this post, I could think of the many times people have been so quick to come to my aid when I needed assistance. 😊
During my first year at Uni. I lived in the dorms, and had (in my opinion) the best view of Leiden from my window. The dorms face one of the canals here, and a few of the bigger boats that I've seen since I moved here are docked right opposite my window. They are the first thing I see when I draw my curtains open in the morning, and the last thing I see when I draw them shut in the evenings. I can't think of a better way start and end my day than that!🚤🚤🚤
As fate would have it, the view from my window worked to my advantage, as I ended up taking photography courses and it turned out to be the perfect spot to practice what I was learning in class.
Speaking of photography 📷 , I have to emphasize how significant the degree I chose is to the experience I've had so far in the Netherlands...
Years ago, I was telling a friend of mine about something discouraging that had happened to me recently. He sympathized with me, but couldn't really help me solve my problem. Instead, he used an example of his own experience that started off badly but ended up working in his favour to encourage me, and ended his story by telling me to trust God's timing. I dismissed his words at the time because I didn't think they applied to my situation, but I had a feeling that they would stay with me...and might even come to mean something to me some time in the future...
Well, it looks like that times is now! 😄
By the time I was making the decision to apply to study at Webster University, I was planning to choose Sociology as my major. I had taken it at college for two years, and had really enjoyed it. What's more, I was good at it, so I figured: Why not?
But after that I re-discovered my love for writing after a long dry spell, and started becoming interested in photography as well. Soon after, Webster University stopped offering Sociology as a degree; and out of the remaining options, choosing Media & Communications is the only option that made sense to me. 📝📷🎬🎤
To cut a long story short, I eventually came to Webster University in Leiden to study Media & Communications - and the rest is history! 😊
Slowly, everything started to fall into place. I was practicing and improving my creative writing daily - thanks to a creative writing course that I took in my first semester - and I was taking pictures every other week for the different photography courses that I took all throughout the school year.
Shortly after moving to the Netherlands, I remembered what my friend had told me about timing. And suddenly it all started made sense!Just going by the experience of choosing which degree to take, I truly believe that Webster's decision not to offer Sociology came at the right time - just after I'd realized where my true interests lay, therefore leading me to the course that I was supposed to choose.
What I didn't mention before is that this didn't happen overnight. If I remember correctly, one or two semesters had passed by the time I was changing my degree to Media & Communications. As a Christian, it's hard not to notice God's hand in the whole matter. 🙌
I could give you many more examples of how me being here now has proved that God's timing really is best, but that's a whole other blog post. 😉
For now, I'll just conclude by saying that the Netherlands - particularly Leiden - will always be a special place for me, simply because it's the place where I finally found myself (as cliché as that sounds). 😜
With that, I'll leave you with a few pictures of this beautiful country that continues to steal my heart. Who knows? Maybe after looking at them, it will start stealing yours, too. 😊
Bonus Video 🎬: Life of A Study Abroad Student. By Ivy Sha & Debra O. Osawo. 😉😊
I find it easier and more effective to write down how I feel rather than to say it.
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