I’ve always dreamed of living in Europe.
As a kid growing up in California, Europe seemed an entire world away. Miniature versions of clogs and the Eiffel Tower hung from my keyring; souvenirs from friends and relatives decorated my desk and walls. I heard stories of dancing in Spain, eating through Florence, and exploring the Alps. Paris captivated me, as it did many young girls, and I fantasized about being whisked away to the most romantic city in the world. Europe was a wish, something unattainable.
So, when I arrived at UC San Diego and realized that studying abroad was a possibility, I jumped headfirst into the process. I spent the majority of my second year researching universities, talking to advisors, applying for scholarships, studying travel websites, and making sure every little detail was ironed out. My wish turned into a reality when I was accepted into my program and after a summer of working full-time to make extra money, I boarded a plane in August to start the latter half of my college experience in the Netherlands.
For the last two months, I’ve been living and learning in Maastricht, a town in the south end of the country just a bike ride from Belgium and a bus ride from Germany. It’s much smaller (and colder) than what I’m used to, but I’m growing fond of the quieter lifestyle. It’s a place where the river Maas rushes by calmly, vines grow up the buildings, and bikes abound. It’s somewhere I’m learning to call home, even if it’s just for a little while.
And so, as I write this piece from my dorm room halfway across the world, I introduce “Avontuur Met Annika,” a travel journal-in-progress documenting my semester abroad. I’ll be sharing my adventures, travels, challenges, and everything in between. Sit in on my classes, walk along the cobblestone, and breathe in European culture.
I hope you’ll join me!
Avontuur met Annika, which translates to Adventure with Annika, is a travel journal of my experiences in Europe during my semester abroad at University College Maastricht, Netherlands. Follow me at @annikdotes on Instagram for more photos and stories!