Final Countdown to a Pandemic Exchange Abroad
Last July, I made the decision to apply for an international exchange semester abroad through UVic’s study abroad program. Since my first year at UVic, I had often eagerly investigated the study abroad possibilities online, but once the pandemic hit in 2020, I had to postpone any real plans I had been dreaming up of going on exchange.
However, by last summer, I decided to take a chance and apply anyway in hopes that the COVID situation might be more calm by the semester in question: this one, spring term 2022.
And now, six months later, I am in the final days of my departure to The Netherlands to study abroad at Utrecht University.
I knew that planning an exchange semester would be difficult, but I never realized just how difficult it would be especially during the pandemic.
In addition to organizing my study visa, legalizing documents for use in the Netherlands, finding a place to live, registering in classes at my host university, trying to learn Dutch, arranging my finances and banking for my trip, purchasing travel insurance, and so on, there has also been a number of COVID-related arrangements I’ve had to make.
Constantly changing international travel regulations have altered plans: every step of the way I have made a Plan A, a Plan B, and even a Plan C, and most often I haven’t been able to go with my Plan A.
But now, finally, my departure is within reach. I leave in just a few days, and all my organization efforts to ensure a safe and healthy trip will pay off. My documents are sorted, any appointments and flights have been booked, and all that’s left is packing. I’m so close to embarking on this adventure, and I am beyond excited about it.
Stay tuned to read more about my adventures in the Netherlands as I take on studying in a new university, in a new country, during the trials and tribulations of the pandemic.
Photo by Sam Rae Harriss