A Day in My Life: On Exchange

On exchange, it seems that every day is widely different from the last. Meeting new people, living in a new place, and exploring everything new around me- all while completing courses at a new university- makes for a lot of variety. Here’s just one example of what a day looks like for me on exchange in Utrecht, Netherlands.

muesli, coffee, orange

Breakfast! Yum

8:00 – Wake up, make my breakfast of muesli cereal, tea, and my favourite: some Mandarin oranges.

9:00 – Today I have my final exam for my Environmental Impact Assessment class, so I start doing some last minute studying. It’s an open-book exam but it’s only two hours long, so I still have to be prepared.

10:40 – I head to the exam room, which luckily is only a 5 minute walk from my room in residence on campus. I want to be there early, so I have time to settle in before the exam and say hi to my friends. The exam starts at 11:00, and I spend the next two hours typing and clicking away on the University computers, answering questions.

Logging into my exam

13:00 – The exam ends (I’m always one of those people that takes the full amount of time to complete an exam) and so I head off to make lunch. Today I make a wrap with leftover chicken, veggies and avocado, one of my favourite easy meals. My friend Clara from my Environmental Impact Assessment class joins me and we sit for a while in the warm sun eating and drinking a coffee from the campus grocery store SPAR… it’s 18 degrees out today! We discuss the exam (we agree it wasn’t too difficult) and our weekend plans (Clara’s sister from Germany is coming to visit her, and I am planning a day trip to The Hague).

14:00 – I don’t have my other class, a tutorial for my “Transforming China” course, until 15:15 so I have about an hour to kill. I decide to lay in the grass fields by my residence building for a while, studying and reading my book “All the Little Live Things” by Wallace Stegner (would recommend). It’s a nice peaceful break in the middle of my day.

Hanging out in the sunshine, reading and studying

Outdoor gym setup

15:15 – My tutorial begins, and today in class there were 5 groups doing presentations about different subtopics, everything from Sponge Cities to e-commerce China. Luckily I did my group presentation, about the demographic changes in China and the rapidly ageing population, on Tuesday so today I got to relax and just enjoy the other presentations.

17:30 – I’m a bit restless because I’ve been sitting all day, so I hop on my bike and head to the outdoor gym that I discovered a couple weeks ago in a nearby town. It takes about 10 minutes to bike there and then I do some basic exercises… push-ups, deadlifts, and an attempt at pull-ups. This outdoor gym is actually quite extensive for being free and outside, with a weighted deadlift/squat rack and even battle ropes.

19:00 – I make dinner at home, pasta with leftover veggies from the night before. I eat dinner with my roommate Klara from Sweden, and then I head to the small grocery store on campus and grab some candy to snack on.

20:00 – Netflix is calling my name so I settle in for the night and watch some of The Office (with Dutch subtitles of course… I’m really trying to learn this funny sounding language they speak here!). Unusually so, there is nothing planned among the international students I’ve met here tonight so it’s a chill night for me. I savour the evening to myself after a busy week, looking forward to the weekend as I don’t have classes on Fridays.

The sun setting on campus.

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