Gaining a new perspective
Despite an initial culture shock, Sarah Mathewson cherishes her transformative Study Abroad experience in the Netherlands.
My time spent in the Netherlands was the best time of my life.
That's the verdict from Sarah Mathewson, who completed a five-month student exchange in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, where she studied Sport at Fontys University of Applied Sciences.
Arriving in Eindhoven for the fall semester of August to January, Sarah stepped outside of her comfort zone and experienced first-hand what life is like on the other side of the world.
“I had never been to a non-English speaking country before so it was a real culture shock getting used to hearing different languages being spoken around you all of the time and not being able to understand what people were talking about. Fortunately, the Netherlands is one of the best countries in Europe in regards to English as a second language.”
Sarah chose to rent a studio apartment in the Netherlands with her own bedroom, kitchen and bathroom in a building full of mainly international students.
“The study was very interesting but challenging too," she recalls. "My course consisted of three cumulative theory exams, one very large movement analysis project, one gym practical exam based on both coaching and execution of Olympic lifts, and a coaching-based internship. Although it was a lot of hard work, it was the best thing for me.”
After completing her semester abroad, Sarah chose to lengthen her trip to explore Europe. Some of her travel highlights include visiting European cities like Munich, Barcelona, Rome, Paris, Zurich, Prague, Warsaw, Copenhagen, and London, staying in hostels making new friends and discovering the history of each city through free walking tours.
“I spent a long time weighing up whether I should go on exchange or not. However, making the decision to go was the best decision I have made in my life so far," Sarah affirms. "I have not only learnt a lot in relation to study, but I have learnt more than I could ever imagined about myself, and my perspective on life."
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