Paulina Nowicki: Abroad in Small Town Vlissingen
Welcome to Vlissingen, the end of the line train stop and quaint seaside town. After hopping off the last stop of the Intercity train from Amsterdam-- leaving the excitement and fun times in Amsterdam behind you for another weekend soon to come-- your first glance at Vlissingen puts you at ease at the sight of a calm and charming Dutch community.
At least, this was my first impression, coming from metropolis-like Vancouver, very eager to begin my semester abroad. After having juggled full time school and part time work, without any real time away from Vancouver, I was more than happy to begin to settle in to my new home and small community in Vlissingen.
Fitting in was easy. After purchasing a bike, I was ready to go-- as you’ve already predicted, the bike culture is big. Starting from the train station, red bike lanes bring you through the town and onward to the sea wall paths. Vlissingen has incredible parks, beaches and sand dunes. After a morning of classes, nothing feels better than to take the scenic route home on bike.
Vlissingen is your not so typical small town. Underneath its traditional outer appearance is a multicultural and innovated town. Part of Vlissingen’s interesting dynamic is that locals and international students share the town. In this way the community of Vlissingen is always growing and new members are welcomed with friendliness.
I believe the best advice that I have followed and that I can pass on is to others considering studying abroad is to always push yourself to be involved every chance you get—what’s the fun of watching from the sidelines when you have the chance to put yourself in the middle of the game?
Paulina is a third year Bachelor of Tourism Management student studying abroad for one semester at HZ University of Applied Sciences in Vlissingen, The Netherlands.