Unexpected Outcomes

The Pub from Ted Lasso

Submitted by Spencer Sorensen on the 2024 Winter ENGL program in Netherlands…\

I had never lived in a city, let alone one on another continent, so I anticipated facing challenges. While I expected to feel lost and alone, surprisingly, I haven’t experienced those emotions. Navigating the city has been relatively easy, and I’ve formed deep connections with the friends I’ve made on this trip. Initially, I thought I would gain an appreciation for the local culture, theater, and people, but instead, I’ve found myself appreciating the way I was raised. 

I was warned about rude Londoners, yet I’ve found them to be helpful. The real challenge was with some people on the trip abroad. I’ve witnessed a lack of respect and independence among them, making me value my upbringing even more. This trip was supposed to be about freedom, but some individuals seem incapable of doing things themselves. 

I’ve always considered saying “please” and “thank you,” listening to professors and offering help as basic courtesies. Interacting with individuals who don’t have these same values has been a new experience. The most important lessons I’ve learned in London are a deep appreciation for good manners and consideration for others. 

Spatial awareness and courtesy are lacking in some members of the abroad community. Despite considering this a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, there are ungrateful and challenging people on the trip. I’ve been trying to cherish every day, but their negativity impacts my experience. 

Dealing with people raised differently is a test of my patience and kindness. I’m torn between ignoring them and trying to help them have a better time. Regardless, their negativity affects my trip, and I’m learning to navigate this aspect of studying abroad. (Submitted on January 23, 2024)

A canal cruise in Amsterdam