Having a "Glass Half Full" Mentality While Abroad

Headshot of Kim Blanco.
Kimberly Blanco
June 12, 2023
A photo of a group of my friends and I by the Amstelveen sign during our walk home one day

As I stated in one of my first blogs, I was disappointed to see that I was assigned to live in the housing option that I had ranked the lowest. I was sure that it would ruin my experience, especially living so far from the center of Amsterdam. Despite these preconceived notions, I found ways to make my experience as amazing as I knew that studying abroad could be. Read along to hear how I adjusted and how I am able to find time to explore the city despite being far away!

I got super lucky in my housing in the sense that I met some of my best friends there. Having such close friends definitely helps, because we are all in it together. Learning how to navigate a new city, especially the many forms of public transportation, is a lot less intimidating when you have someone to go through it with you. The good thing about my housing is that it came with a public transportation card which already had a month-long pass on it, which was very helpful and made me feel a little bit more okay about the situation. 

When I first arrived in Amsterdam, I found myself feeling bad if I spent a day relaxing instead of exploring. I felt that maybe I wasn't taking advantage of my opportunity to study in Europe. I have since realized that it's okay to spend a day relaxing—I am a student first, not just a tourist, so it makes sense to take breaks here and there! 

Something that I started doing was spending extra time enjoying the city on Tuesdays and Thursdays, which is when I have classes in the city center. I felt motivated to make the trip there since I had to be there for class anyways, and it also made the wake up and commute to class a little more bearable since I knew that I would be able to explore afterwards!

The positive side of living so far is that I was forced to figure out how to use the public transportation in Amsterdam pretty early on. This was good because by the time that I had completed my first month there, I was able to navigate the city pretty well and I had a pretty good grasp on what tram lines went where, and what stops I would need to go to to get myself where I needed to be in the most timely manner. 

The point of this blog was to show you that even if things don’t go exactly as planned during  your time abroad, it's okay and might actually be for the better. I would've never met some of my best friends if I was never placed into the housing that I was, and I would’ve had a completely different experience overall. I wouldn’t trade my experiences in Amsterdam for the world, and there is nothing that I would have wanted to be different about it either. I am so glad that I made the decision to come here!

More Blogs From This Author

View All Blogs
Headshot of Kim Blanco.

Kimberly Blanco

Hi, I'm Kim! I truly feel that traveling is important in order to gain new experiences that can be used to ensure a successful professional life and personal life. Amsterdam is somewhere that I have never traveled before, so I was really excited when I saw that it was an option for me! Being able to travel around Europe while I am there seems super fun to me and this experience will definitely be one that I cherish forever! In my future, I hope to eventually work as a criminal psychologist. A fun fact about me is that I have been dancing since I was 2 years old and I am currently a part of a club dance team at Penn State University!

2023 Spring
Home University:
Penn State University
Criminal Studies
Explore Blogs