It’s been a long time since I wrote my last blog post. Almost four months ago! I am rather sad about how long I’ve left my blog post, I think it would have made a great story if I had found the time to capture some of the good times and some of the bad times of my experience in the Netherlands. But at least now I have the chance to make up for lost time.
So where do I begin? Last semester was a complete rush, for a start. It’s crazy how quickly you get bogged down with the workload here which is, I have to admit, absolutely insane. It’s my first week back after the Christmas break and I’ve already been assigned 300 pages worth of variegated readings including Cultural Studies, Philosophy of Science, Economics and History. I’m really enjoying History, and dare I say it Economics (gosh, I never thought I was going to say that…) but Cultural Studies and Philosophy of Science are downright boring and in my opinion irrelevant to our studies. They just seem like such abstract subjects that don’t really hit on anything in depth, they just teach you how you’re supposed to address problems, or how you’re supposed to think, or something absurd. Hopefully it will become clear to me in time why we are learning them.
I liked my subjects last semester but somehow I felt like there was nothing differentiating myself from the other students on my course, and in some ways I missed the feeling of knowing where I was going with my studies. We all had to do the same subjects and, although they did elaborate on the Middle East sometimes, I just felt like something was missing somehow. I’m really glad to be learning the History of the Middle East now, I’m finally learning about the region I’m interested in and of course, Arabic.
The only thing about Arabic is that I’m really at an advanced level, but the only course that was offered was beginners, so it is a bit of a surreal feeling being in a class for the first time where no one knows a word of Arabic. I’ve always been in classes with almost native speakers who had a much more proficient level of Arabic than I did, so I felt like I was always catching up with them and skipping steps that I probably should have spent more time on in order to be caught up to speed with what they were learning. Now, everything has changed, really. I’m not sure how I feel about being in a beginners class. I’m a bit worried it’s going to alienate me from my classmates actually, they seem to look at me differently when I say that I already know some. Even though I always offer to help in class (mostly because I’m bored after having completed the task) but they always seem a bit apprehensive to ask and look at me a bit suspiciously.
Another thing that has changed this semester is my tutorial class. Thank god! I had one fixed group for all of my four courses last semester, and god were they a self-absorbed, obnoxious group. It really surprised me that they were like that, most of the people I have met on my course are actually lovely, but my group had a very strange, tense vibe for some bizarre reason. I just felt like they were the kind of group who were two-faced, and one minute they would be really nice to you, but the next minute they would talk shit behind your back. It was a shame, really. Thank goodness I made really good friends with a Dutchie called Daan, I think he was the only reason I survived that semester, probably. He was also a quite introverted character like me, extremely bubbly and comically straight-forward, always making me laugh because I’m not used to that bluntness in a person. Unfortunately, my group thought that we liked each other so they had a tendency to make fun of us a bit, and I guess from that point onward I isolated myself from them because it made me feel uncomfortable how they judged us like that.
So far I’ve only had two tutorial classes, Arabic and History, and I much prefer my groups now. There are a lot more girls, girls that don’t put a fake facade on the whole time, and they come across as much more down-to-earth than the girls in my other class. One thing that I really missed out on last semester were having real girlfriends so now I feel more optimism about having the opportunity to meet and become friends with more girls.
It’s only been a week, but I am already starting to feel a bit homesick. As much as I love my gay bestie Daan, he’s never going to be the kind of guy who has my back. I’m not really sure who does at the moment. One of my friends is moving out of our house today, and she couldn’t even be honest with me and explain exactly why, which hurts a little bit. She says that our house isn’t kept clean enough, but deep down I don’t really think it’s that at all. I suppose it hurts my ego a bit, especially as I did really like her as a friend. I’m going to try to stay optimistic and not let my homesickness affect me too much, I’m sure it’s mostly that which is talking right now and coming through to my blog post :p
Thanks for reading! 🙂