Saturday, September 5, 2009

I can't believe it..

I find it so hard to believe I've only been here two weeks. It seems as though I;ve been here so much longer. I am living very comfotably in the Jansen household, and I no longer feel like a guest.

Unfortunately, the tiredness has set in. Nowadays, I am running on low battery energy and I've been napping right and left! Listening to people speaking dutch all day, every day is nothing but exhausting. blahblahblahblah. School hasn't helped with this one bit either...all the instructions,lessons, and textbooks are in dutch. Thankfully the classes are only 50 minutes long (in comparison to the 90 minute classes at AHS..).

Let's talk about my school. Ashram College is about a seven minute bike ride away from my house, which is very convenient, and for which I am very thankful. I know some kids who have to bike about 45 minutes to school (rain ar shine..but usually rain)! In the Netherlands there are two levles of schooling: VWO and HAVO. I'm in VWO 4th year. VWO is the more difficult of the two and is designed for the more ambitous and univerity-destined students. It consists of six levels with students from the ages 12 to 18.

In a few weeks the kids in my class and I will go on a school-oraginzed trip to Belgium for a sort of 'survival camp'. We will do things like camping, hiking, canoeing, biking, and i think some sort of ropes course. I said before that I have made some friends at school but really, I've only known them for a week, so I'm really looking forward to this because I'll hopefully get to know my classmates much better and get past that "Hey, I just met you, but can I follow you around?" kind of friendship.

Well I guess I should probably get some sleep... welterusten!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Happy days in Holland

HOI! (Thats what we say here in Holland!) After many long hours of hotels airports and planes, I have made it to Holland! SUCCESS!
Before I left for Holland I attended a pre-departure orientation in New York City with tons of other AFS kids who were going to northern Europe. For the most part it was very boring... Us kids going to holland were the last group to leave our hotel. We spent a lot of time (not kidding, it was 6 hours!!) just sitting and waiting for our shuttle to the airport... But it wasn't all bad, I made friends with many people going to the same country as me which was really great. I'm looking forward to seeing them at the post-arrival AFS Nederland orientation next weekend!!!!
ANYWAY.... I'm here!!! In the Netherlands! In my Dutch house! In my Dutch room! On my own personal Dutch computer (well, not really.. I'm pretty sure Dell computers aren't made in holland)!!!!!
So far I've been doing typical dutch things such as riding my bike and eating cheese.. haha. I had to buy a new (well..not really new at all..) bike due to the fact that my little midget legs couldn't fit on the bike that my host family had provided me with in the beginning. I thought this was funny. Did you know that the Dutch people are the tallest people in the world?! Very nice for me, going to school and blending in with all the 5 foot tall 12 year olds. NOT.
School...ahh yes. Obviously not something I particularly enjoy. The upside is that lots of kids at school have reached out to me and are very helpful. They all want to help me improve my dutch which is awesome! And I've made some friends which is really nice.
More to come..SOON!


Hello! My name is Caitlin, and I am about to embark on the most exciting adventure of my life! A few weeks ago I received the news that I have been awarded a very generous scholarship to help me study abroad in the Netherlands! I will be living in the city of Alphen Aan Den Rijn with my host parents, Jose and Peter Jansen, and my host sisters, Mieke and Laura

I will be with a program called AFS. Originally starting as a program to transport wounded soldiers in WWI, the American Field Service (AFS) has evolved into an international, non-profit organization that helps kids experience the world and move forward to make a more tolerant, unified, and peaceful world.
While I’m away, I hope to learn a lot about myself and the Dutch culture, and to come out of this experience a much stronger person. In return, I want to teach my Dutch family, friends, and peers what America is like.

I want to take some time and thank my scholarship sponsors. THANK YOU! It means so much to me because you have helped me get that much closer to fulfilling my dream of studying abroad. I could not have done this without you, so thankyouthankyouthankyou!


(originally posted April 2009 on my previous blog)