Exchange Stories | Nathalie Rietkerk – New York

We all get an amazing opportunity at the VU: going on an exchange! For some of us it is mandatory (what a shame), and some people have yet to decide whether they want to study abroad and if so, where to. In “Exchange stories”, your fellow VU students will tell you all about their experiences while living and studying in a different place of the world. Today, Nathalie will tell you all about her life in New York City.

“In New York! New York! There’s nothing you can’t do! Now I am in New York!”

NYC- everyone knows where it is and the city really holds on the expectations! One semester is too short to discover all the facets this city has to offer- besides Times Square, the Empire State Building and the other touristic highlights. These places are just a small amount of the many things the city has to offer. When you stay here for more than two weeks you are going to find the secret places where only the real New Yorkers go to.

Amsterdam? That’s in London, right?

When I arrived, I immediately felt at home at the campus because of my American roommates and the amazing vibe. My roommate asked me if I am a native speaker when she heard my funny accent. She had no idea Dutch people have their own language. All the teachers were very welcoming and were impressed by the fact that I am from Amsterdam. Especially my local classmates had no clue that there exists a world besides America. When I told them that I am from Amsterdam, these were some of their answers:

“Amsterdam? In which state of America is that?”

“Amsterdam? That’s in London, right?”

He: “Amsterdam?”, during my Math class.
Me: “Yes, in the Netherlands.”

He: (no reaction)

Me: “In Europe?”

He: “Oh yeah! I know that! Do they have Math there?”

Yes, this really happened.

Meeting new people

My other exchange friends and I experience new things every day. They come from all over the world and that is the best thing about the exchange: you get in touch with new friends and different cultures! By spending the weekends together, we met locals as well and went to the most amazing parties. Imagine this magical moment: drinking a cocktail while you have a view over the skyline of Manhattan.

New York City College

Studying at the City College is a totally different experience from studying at VU. On the one hand, you have a lot of exams and quizzes during the semester. On the other hand, the final exam only counts 20 percent. Nevertheless, I loved having this new experience of studying in another continent.  Due to some extra vacation days, we were able to travel around the city and got to see Canada as well, where we made an amazing road trip.

All in all, I just want to encourage everyone to study abroad, because you will create wonderful memories for the rest of your life!

Would you like to know more about exchange experiences from other students? Read our blog articles about Denmark, the USA, Argentina and Mexico

New york  img_7559img_7504