I think the most important lesson I’ve learned studying in Amsterdam, so far, is Free Time.
Maybe that sounds bad, or you think I’m just, “partying abroad,” but it is truly more than that. I work hard, and am taking more than a full course load; studying is much more time consuming than SFSU and my classes are intellectually demanding. However, after I’ve finished my readings and essays and reflections, I have time to experience life and to think about things I like to do and eat and see, and about the kind of person I am, or the kind of future that I want.
The Dutch, and perhaps all of the awesome International students I’ve met, take their free time seriously. Making plans with friends to visit museums, hang out with a coffee or over drinks, go out to eat or make food at each others houses, bicycle solo or in a small posse, or travel in any direction for any length of time for adventure and out of curiosity and a desire to seek out new knowledge, these things are what make life wonderful. Free time is awesome!
This organized free time is one of the best examples of fine living that I hope to bring back with me to the United States. I can hardly articulate how nice it is to have the luxury of free time, and I hope that I will remember this lesson when finding a healthy balance between work, school, family, friends and seeking knowledge when I return to San Francisco or any place my life takes me.
It’s up to the individual to make meaning with their world, and I want mine to be a big, complex, beautiful, tangled, messy, creative and chaotic one. Why not? If nothing else, it makes things interesting.
Footnote: Stuff Dutch People Like: Not Working