Nina's Reflection on Internationalization
Many of you might recognize Nina as she was one of the student editors for 4Corners’ second volume. Nina has worked closely with the Global Education Office (GEO) as a student worker and active participant in our events, experiencing Washington College and GEO’s internationalization efforts from the home-field. She’s now spending her whole junior year abroad, seeing internationalization from a different perspective. Read Nina’s comments on this change in perspective below.
This year I am studying abroad in The Netherlands. Having been lucky enough to travel and grow up in a multicultural household, I felt confident that coming here would be easy, but it wasn’t. It’s hard to be thrown head-first into a culture and language that you don’t understand, and try to find comfort. My first couple of weeks were frustrating. I don’t speak Dutch, and my class was almost entirely full of Dutch students, so it was difficult to integrate. There was so much that I didn’t understand about the culture like the bikes, the bluntness, and the insanely steep stairs in old buildings.
I have now been here for almost 4 months. I’ve explored so many amazing places and tried everything that’s been offered to me. Sure, I have had some embarrassing moments, but they were all worth it. I feel comfortable with the aggressive bikers, I appreciate the bluntness of the Dutch, I eat WAY too many oliebollen, and I have conquered some of the most impractical stairs to get to the tops of the most gorgeous buildings. I think that internationalization is all about being open to learning as well as teaching about culture. My Dutch classmates have introduced me to the best snacks, music, places, have taught me some swear words, and I in turn, have taught them how to dance to Cotton-eyed Joe. Internationalization means being open to new experiences and tossing away any skepticism, no matter how smelly raw herring is.
Written by Nina Black ‘20 and Edited by Alex Levy ‘15