I’ve now been in Utrecht for 4.5 days, and already I feel as if I know the city! Getting from the airport to my apartment was easy, and although everyone here rides their bikes around, the city is extremely walkable. This weekend I spent my time getting to know the other students I will be spending the next three months with, exploring the city, and beginning to build up my kitchen.
So to start, my apartment is really fantastic, with just a few minor flaws. I’m sharing it with two other students on the trip, and it only has two bedrooms, meaning at any given time, one of us has the extreme fortune of sleeping on the convertible sofa! I chose to get the discomfort over with, and luckily will be in the clear on Saturday, sleeping on an actual bed, and having the privacy of my own room. Being in our living space has its perks, I am right near the bathroom and kitchen so getting water/food is easy, and I can quite literally roll out of bed in the morning, but I do miss the comfort of having my own space. Other than this, the stovetop is confusing and finicky, the sinks are all tiny, and the stairs up are incredibly steep, but the location is really amazing. There are small produce markets all around us, grocery stores a few minutes away, and I found the cutest little coffee place two blocks from the building. We are about a 15 minute walk from the city center, but the walk is refreshing and as long as I avoid the rampant biking, very safe.
Classes take place at the university in the center of the city, and at this point, I am very proud to say that I don’t even need to use maps to find our buildings! We spend the weekend doing an orientation of sorts, going over rules, expectations, syllabi and our research projects and today had the first session of the NOISE summer school. Re-entering an academic setting has been strange and tiring, but it is so refreshing to be focusing so entirely on something I am so passionate about. For the next four days I will be in lectures and discussions for 7 hours a day, but the chance to engage with students from around the world, most of whom are getting their MA, is worth it.
I’ve also begun working on my research, which feels daunting given the amount of interviews I need to be having. Luckily, a few students on my trip are doing similar work, and we can pool resources as we begin the process. In fact, I’m meeting with one of them tonight to go over some ideas and begin contacting individuals who we will be interviewing.
If there is anything you’d like to hear more about, please leave a comment or send me an email! I’ll be posting some photos in the next few days, life here has been so hectic that documenting everything has been difficult!