I knew that my study abroad experience would end sooner or later. Still, it hit me hard. I was closing a transformational chapter in my life. Saying tot binnenkort (see you soon) to the Netherlands left me sobbing for days – with a few laughs in between of all the good times I had. I will always be thankful for my time here for birthing this newest form of Hasina, for helping me to create new and unforgettable memories, and for allowing me to pursue my interests in other parts of the world now. This is my tribute to you, study abroad.
When I first arrived in the Netherlands, I felt welcomed. I was excited about the prospect of living somewhere new, becoming more independent, and immersing myself in European culture. I was ready to embrace and even fall in love with a new city, a la TV’s Carrie Bradshaw, and to begin studying at a far-away university, with new people and new methods of teaching. I chose to study something new to me – marketing – and spent hours working on assignments. I also forged close relationships with amazing people from around the world. My new friends and I would spend hours talking about life, singing karaoke and imagining our futures. We laughed and connected, no matter what country we were from, knowing that we were all are the same, living through this experience together. I remember thinking that one day, five, 10 or even 20 years into the future, we’d have to come together again and update one another about what had happened in our lives since our time in the Netherlands. I will never forget these people and will hold them close to my heart.
In addition to making wonderful memories in the Netherlands, I took the time to visit more than five other countries, including France, Germany, Spain and Belgium. Traveling to these locations was one thing, but meeting the locals and seeing the beautiful sights was another. I put on my tourist cap, capturing the essence of every place I visited. Each one had a different atmosphere, as my breath was constantly taken away. Overall, the experience was better when I had someone to share it with. For example, on some trips, I was joined by my friend, Tatiana. Even though we did not know each other previously, this experience gave birth to a new friendship. That’s what happens when you navigate a new adventure with someone.
The most worthwhile part of studying abroad was discovering more about myself. I came into this journey naive about was out there. I came out of it more experienced with a greater appreciation for different places and ways of life. After adapting to a new country for six months, I became more secure about myself and who I am. I learned about the emotional aspects of myself, and about the realities of life, with its many obstacles and blessings. With this new understanding, I can now imagine living in other parts of the world in peace. There will never be another experience like this one. Quite frankly, I am fine with that because it will continue to shape me and push me to soar. Life is a cycle of new beginnings, with this one taking me farther and farther away from something that I once knew. So, thank you, study abroad, for doing me so well. I will never forget a moment of this journey. My heart swells knowing the person that I am today.
Hasina Foye ’23 is an aspiring journalist from Bronx, N.Y., who is studying English literature and communications at Le Moyne. Hasina is spending the spring semester of 2022 at Hague University in the Netherlands and will be sharing her reflections on life abroad. Please continue to follow her journey here.