Author: Rachel Silcox

Location: The Netherlands

Hello friends! Welcome back to the Netherlands and to Utrecht! I’m so excited today to introduce you to one of first people I met here and now one of my good friends, Marie-Christine, so you too can get to know her! Born and raised in the Netherlands, when I first saw Christine, I knew she was a Dutchie, the endearingly colloquial term for someone from the Netherlands. At 6 ft. tall and with blonde hair, she could actually be one of the Dutch milkmaids of yore, or just a really good rower as she has recently joined a local crew team. Olympic dreams can still be alive even in early adulthood! But beyond the obvious, Christine is from a small village outside Maastrich, at the southern tip of the Netherlands sandwiched between Belgium and Germany. She loves international food as she can’t decide between sushi or Italian food! Yum!

But to stop from boring you, or sounding like an online dating profile, I’ll now let Christine just tell you about herself!

Me: “So why did you choose to come to a Liberal Arts and Sciences College and UCU in particular?”

Christine: “First, I really like the international setting at UCU and the small campus! But also, I don’t know what I want to do! The Liberal Arts and Sciences here gives you the chance to keep it broad. Plus I’m interested in a lot of different subjects. Mostly social sciences, politics, law, economics, sociology, and psychology subjects. Also, the humanities and sciences are nice to get different perspectives. Like energy and sustainability, my science course, I can use and connect to politics, which I am more directly interested in.”

Me: “So you like the application of the social sciences to more general life, if you get what I mean? Sorry I’m not a professional interviewer.”

Christine: “Haha! Yeah I think so! I am really excited for human geography. It is so much more interesting to learn about societies and how they interact with their geographical place in an applied manner, rather than the pure science. It’s a cool mixture of the humanities and sciences. I really enjoy sciences that interact with people and the international aspect of social sciences.”

Me: “Ok Cool! So why do you like international affairs?”

Christine: “Well I’ve always enjoyed being in an international setting. I started at international school when I was five years old and I really enjoyed it. Everyone was so cool and different. It’s really nice to know people around the world and see that everyone has their own story. It made me more open to the idea that people are different and that’s ok. But coming back to the Netherlands made me realize how unique that was. In the Netherlands, everyone has same culture. I live in a little village and went to elementary school there. The other students, their world revolved around that village. They all shared the same story. It was weird to go back where so much was taken for granted. People followed each other more, from what they did to what they liked. At international school, everyone did their own thing and nobody really minded you doing your own thing. Back in the Netherlands though, everyone wanted to fit in and it was more important to fit in, where among international school people didn’t have to try to fit in. Everyone was different. Everyone thought each other was cool because everyone was different. There wasn’t a mold. But I came back, and I wanted to fit in again. I didn’t want to be different, or an outcast. But looking back, I didn’t need to do that. I still would have had friends. In the end, it would have been fine.”

Me: “That’s so cool that you got to grow up at least in part at an international school! How has that shaped what you want to do in the future?”

Christine: “Well, I want to work with in an international setting. Maybe with an NGO [known as Non-Profit in U.S.] or the UN or a UNICEF position, but I really don’t know. Overall though, this might sound very cliché and cheesy, but I want to have made a difference, even if it is so small. But I’m not really sure in what way. It’s hard to make a noticeable difference on your own, so I guess I want to find my place in an organization and help them make the world a better place.”

Me: “Awesome! Even if its cheesy, I love it! Finally, so is there anything you would like to say to people in US or Valpo?”

Christine: “I would say more people should do what you did! More people should go on exchange and experience a completely different culture. It really changes your perspective and that open-mindedness is so valuable.”

Me: “Thanks for your help! It’s been so great getting to know you!”

I hope through our little interview, you get to know Christine a bit too! She is so caring and interesting, as she really has a heart for people of all backgrounds. Next time, I’ll introduce you to another friend of mine from the Netherlands, Elise!