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Off-Campus Study

Notes from Abroad: Alexis in the Netherlands

Alexis Nogulich ’19 is a double major in SOAN and Communications who is studying in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Greetings from Holland! My name is Lexie Nogulich and I am a junior from Glen Ellyn, Illinois. I am studying marketing and e-commerce at Tio University of Applied Sciences in Amsterdam through ISEP. From the canals, bikes, stroopwafels, and museums, so far this experience has been once in a lifetime. This is my first time abroad, and it has been full of surprises. Upon my arrival to my accommodation, I was not able to connect to WiFi. I know that sounds like such a trivial 21st century problem, but I was actually concerned about how I was going to be able to find a grocery store nearby since I was now totally responsible for feeding myself. No more caf wraps, Boomer’s quesadillas, or POD sushi. That was when I realized that I was about to embark on an independent journey: find a grocery store, without the help of Google. So I stepped out of my apartment building, into a whole new neighborhood with canals and bikes that were zooming passed everywhere. I decided to turn right and just start walking down my street. At this point, I had only been in Amsterdam for no more than 24 hours, and I was too scared to ask anyone for help. I realized that my best option was to focus on finding people with grocery bags, then head in the direction whence they came. I turned left down the next street, and discovered Amsterdammers carrying grocery bags! Success! At the end of my walk, I stumbled upon the grocery store haven. Albert Heijn: the most popular grocery store of the Netherlands. I was on cloud nine, until I realized that every item in the store was written in Dutch. I don’t know why that thought did not occur to me earlier, but I guess I was too jet lagged. This was yet another opportunity for me to use my problem solving skills. Thank goodness for pictures. I bought my very own reusable grocery bags, and now I use them every time I go shopping. After stepping out of the store on that January afternoon, I felt like I had climbed my first mountain of my abroad experience. And I knew there would be many more mountains to climb, but I had this newfound confidence that made me believe that I could handle anything that comes my way. Discovering that “halfvolle melk” is the same thing the 2% milk will really make you believe that you can do anything. I will never forget the first time I bought groceries for myself in a new country, because it symbolized the start of the time in my life where I will experience small surprises every day. I feel very lucky that I can experience them here in Amsterdam. The Margaret Thomson Pavelka ’70 Scholarship makes me incredibly grateful that I have the support that I have to study abroad. Thank you for this opportunity, and without this donation, my education and exposure to a new culture would not be possible.