A little more than five weeks is – at the time I am writing this – all that stands between today and my departure to Sweden and Stockholm. The past month, it has come to me how much time and effort it actually takes to arrange all requirements for my semester abroad! Of course, I knew I would need to make sure some issues resolved, such as applying at Södertörns Högskola as well as booking flights. However, when I imagined everything was going smoothly, I received various emails from my home and host university, the ERASMUS+ programme, my insurance company, my bank, … . I might have been a bit naïve, but I was truly overwhelmed for a moment! As in nearly every situation, preparation is key, I decided to take things seriously and get work done.
Despite being at sixes and sevens every now and then, matters eventually got cleared up and I think I am well underway at this moment. Moreover, travel preparations can be very fun too! As I have not been away from home for a consecutive period this long, – many travel dreams are still to be fulfilled – I considered it wise to invest in a proper suitcase. Testing its size by trying to curl up and fit in (surprisingly: it didn’t work), this one should nonetheless get me through five months.
Before my ‘big journey’ to Sweden, however, there are still two small trips to enjoy. One of them lies already behind me: a holiday to Catalonia, Spain with friends! After a serious heat wave in the Netherlands in which various records were broken, we were a bit apprehensive of going to an even warmer country! All jokes aside, it was lovely experiencing the southern European vibes all around us. That’s something else I like about travelling: everywhere you go; not only the architecture, cuisine, and customs, but especially the air seems to feel a little different. We went swimming, sailing, supping, and went on a daytrip to Barcelona. Besides visiting the top attractions such as La Sagrada Família, Gaudí’s Battló house and La Rambla, we explored somewhat quirkier and hidden places as well. Seldom I have felt calmer and more at peace than on that holiday :-)
Travel-wise, the rest of the holiday I will go on a short trip with my family and make some daytrips with friends. One of them is to a museum in the north of the Netherlands. They currently expose a collection of North Korean paintings, which I am very curious to see. The sun is out and so am I.