At first spending a semester abroad seemed unthinkable – impossible even. The global Covid-19 pandemic had upended everything. I spent the majority of the fall semester of 2021 engaged in a dizzying series of back-and-forth conversations about whether or not I’d be able to realize what had long been a dream of mine. I prayed that I’d make it to my chosen destination – the Netherlands. I imagined spending my days in cafes, exploring the Anne Frank and Van Gogh museums, meeting people from all over the world, and beginning a new life there. Thankfully, fate has allowed me to realize this dream and to discover new things about myself – bit by bit.
When I began this journey, I was ready, but anxious about what could happen and what I would be leaving behind. I would be separated from my loved ones and worried that I would spend most of my days alone. I was afraid that I would become another person, someone I no longer recognized. Why would anyone want to do that? Then I reminded myself that the need to travel is part of who I am. I love writing stories, learning something new everywhere I go, immersing myself in different cultures, and helping others. With this experience, I knew I’d be able to do all of that.
I was told early on that everyone should travel. I imagined hopping on a plane, flying through the sky for hours, and landing in whatever destination I’d selected. I craved a new environment, a new life. Home will always be home. You can always go back to it. But new experiences? Those aren’t guaranteed. I’ve learned that you can’t sit and wait for life-changing moments to happen. You have to embrace them. There are no do-overs, no hopping in a time machine a la Doc Brown in Back to the Future. You have to live life now, with no regrets. That’s what I’m doing here at Hague University. Since my arrival, I’ve grown accustomed to a different style of teaching, to the sound of Dutch interspersed with English, to the scent of cigarette smoke wafting through the air, to avoiding cyclists as I walk down a busy street. I’ve met people from the United Kingdom, Brazil, Finland, France and Georgia (the nation, not the Southern state). I’ve grown. I’ve adapted. As cliché as it may sound, being here has already changed my life.
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.