After waiting all summer and writing 4 papers in preparation, I begin this adventure today! I still have to finish packing ALL of my things into one standard sized suitcase, print out the work that I have just completed, and download all of my music onto my phone, but in 7 hours I will be flying above the Atlantic well on my way to Amsterdam. Once I arrive, I will take a 20 minute train ride to Utrecht, walk about 10 minutes to my apartment, and begin to explore the neighborhood. I am quite nervous to meet the rest of my group (there are only 10 of us after all), to adjust back into a daily life of academic work, and honestly, I don’t feel totally prepared to begin!
One thing I didn’t expect going into this program was the amount of work that I would need to do in preparation. Aside from changing my phone plan, figuring out airfare and everything else it takes to live in a different country for 3 months, I had a ton of school work to do over the summer. Not only did I write 3 essays, each of which will be worth 20% of my final grade for 2 different courses, but I began research for my independent project. To do this, I read about 10-20 news articles, books, and journals, and wrote out a proposal for my paper along with a tentative timeline for my project. Figuring out how to fit in this academic work with the rest of my summer plans was not easy, and I am honestly impressed that it all got done. Once I am in Europe we will have only a few more written assignments total, but doing a large part of the work before the courses actually start has been quite an adjustment.
My first week in Utrecht will consist of attending lectures through the Netherlands Research School of Gender Studies’ “NOISE” summer school (Network of Interdisciplinary Women’s studies in Europe) – a PHD and MA program held every year that tackles multidisciplinary perspectives on current gender studies issues, and getting to know the rest of the students I will be working with for the next three months. Once I get settled in and find a good coffee shop to write at there will be much more to come!