My experience thus far in Maastricht has been wonderful! I arrived a week early into Amsterdam with my mom, or as many here say “my mum,” and immediately felt welcomed and at ease. We ventured to many churches, explored restaurants and visited museums, including the Church in the Attic, waffle shops, and the Rijksmuseum and the Stedelijk Museum of modern art. We visited the Anne Frank house, the Tulip Museum , the Cheese Museum, and watched fireworks in honor of the New Year. In sum, it was a beautiful way to bring in 2013! On January 2nd, I took a train to Maastricht to settle in before orientation on the third. I reunited with my roommate, Austen Applegate, who I also go to school with, as well as the other students who attend Guilford. Austen and I are the only two Americans taking the Positive Psychology class, the others are in the International Relations program. I loved meeting the other students here, most of which are from different places across Australia. I truly believe we have shared experiences that will result in us keeping in touch for many years to come. We just returned from a weekend trip to Brussels and Bruges this weekend and indulged in history, chocolate, and beer. We walked the city learning of history from our tour guides, learned where Karl Marx lived, made wishes upon Everhard ‘t Serclaes, and then in our free time tried cactus beer at the Delirium tap house.
The next day we explored Bruges on another tour and had the chance to climb the Belfry tower and went on a tour of a brewery and sampled beer from Belgium. We saw astounding views, danced, and expanded our minds and our wardrobes. Those experiences include our educational endeavors, walking tours, weekend excursions and bicycling to class. The walking tour of Maastricht was extremely beautiful and historical. Everywhere here truly is a monument, and I can definitely see the distinction between Maastricht in the Netherlands, versus the Protestant influenced Holland. The tour guide told us many interesting things as he led us through the city about the other side of the gate called “hell” and how different it was from the side that had little Catholic influence. Class has been fascinating and supports all the areas I want to further explore. I feel like I’m applying the lessons of gratitude, appreciation, and positive thinking effectively. This trip has me in complete amazement. So much so, that when in class, I scored on a happiness ratio a total of 16 to 1, the average happiness ratio is a 3 to 1. I have certainly been grateful to be here in the Netherlands!
About the author: Noelle Lane
I am a double major in theater studies and psychology at Guilford College in North Carolina. I enjoy travelling and exploring as it helps to see that despite our differences, we are all the same. I love making new friends, acting, exploring the human mind, and educating the public on the issues of homelessness.