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.
The wonderful thing about living and studying in a small town like Vlissingen is the way you get to be a part of the town. Some of the most enjoyable times I have had has been while meeting and connecting with all different types of people-- whether that be with other international students during big group dinners at student houses in the evening, or while chatting up the bakers at the end of the street because they’ve already have learned my name and usual order.  Being in a close knit community pushes you to become a part of the culture and lifestyle the whole town shares.

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.



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