Why I Chose To Study In Amsterdam: Heritage, Culture, and History

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Kees Lynch
August 21, 2023

Studying abroad in the Netherlands holds a deep personal significance for me. From a young age, I have been fortunate to travel to the country to visit my Oma, Tantes, and my mom’s pleegzusjes – my grandmother, aunts, and my mother’s foster sisters. My mother herself studied at the UvA in the 90s before moving to New York, where she met my father, who had a diverse upbringing, living in six different countries during his childhood and college years. The Netherlands and its European neighbors have been my summer stomping grounds, and now it feels like the perfect time to live there and retrace the steps of my parents.

Holland has always felt like a second home to me. My lifelong connection with Europe, coupled with my fascination with the past, has cultivated a deep appreciation for this country. As an avid historian, I find great joy in exploring cultural history and micro histories – those stories of ordinary people, objects, and events that offer vast and fascinating discoveries within history at large. Europe, with its intricate and extensive history, provides endless opportunities to delve into the past. Dutch history, in my experience often overshadowed, intrigues me, and I am eager to personally uncover its hidden narratives. Amsterdam, in particular, offers a rich tapestry of historical and contemporary significance, making it an ideal place for me to study.

One aspect of Amsterdam that excites me is its international diversity. I hold a deep appreciation for diversity, recognizing the invaluable contribution it makes to the academic experience and personal growth. While my high school years and my hometown of Philadelphia exposed me to some degree of diversity, my current college environment lacks this essential characteristic. The prevailing dominant values and limited perspectives among the hegemonic student body make me feel marginalized and confined. To escape this claustrophobic atmosphere, I yearn to immerse myself in a vibrant, diverse, and historically significant city that was once my mother's and will soon become mine.

My decision to study abroad in the Netherlands is rooted in personal connections, a love for the past, and a desire for a more diverse and intellectually stimulating environment. By delving into the rich history of Amsterdam and experiencing its vibrant international community, I hope to broaden my perspective, deepen my understanding of the world, and escape the limitations of my current college environment. This opportunity allows me to honor my family's heritage and embark on a transformative journey of personal and intellectual growth.

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Kees Lynch

Despite being a history major and studying history at the UvA this year, I am a passionate musician. I have been playing piano for over a decade, focusing largely on jazz, but I love to play guitar, banjo, and mandolin in my free time!

2023 Fall
Home University:
Skidmore College
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