Before I leave Amsterdam, I had to visit the university area one last time. The whole reason I came to the Netherlands in the first place was because I received a full scholarship for a two-year M.A. program at the University of Amsterdam. The university is spread throughout the entire city, but I spent most of my time in the center where the Media and Culture faculty is housed. Even with grey skies, it’s a beautiful area, with classrooms next to residential buildings and where students, locals, and tourists alike wander among the canals.
While packing, I found the scholarship certificate that I received from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. At the end of the certificate, it read:
Wij hopen dat u naast uw studie in staat zult zijn nader kennis te maken met ons land, zijn mensen en zijn cultuur en dat u na terugkeer het contact met Nederland in stand zult houden.
Which translates to something like, “We hope that, in addition to your study, you will get to know our country, its people, and the culture, and that after you return, you will keep in contact with the Netherlands.” It still amazes me that this scholarship was the starting point for a whole host of events that unraveled over the last seven years. As I prepare to return, there is no doubt that the country, the people, and the culture will occupy a permanent place in my memory.