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  • Writer's pictureHumans of International Studies

THIJMEN (3rd year)

Updated: Mar 3

“I feel like here in the Hague people are much more open and accepting. It’s just much more international, considering more than 150 nationalities are studying here. In that way, I think you are always initially putting on a bit more of a façade in the beginning, which quickly fades once you get to know people better but is maybe necessary since there are so many different backgrounds coming together in one place. The wonderful thing is, that this campus allows you to hang out with people, who grew up so differently from you. That is different to my original friend group from back home, where we all share a rather similar childhood. That makes the initial connection easier since we then also share similar interests and have simply known each other for so long. In that way, I would say my friend group here differs since I feel like being at Wijnhaven requires me to be a bit more on my toes and adjust to how other people with different backgrounds view and experience the world. I also recognise now, that If I would have chosen to study in Dutch, I would have probably stuck more with what is comfortable, meaning, my friend group from back home. So, I would have not built a new network of friends, which initially pushed me outside of my comfort zone. But I got lucky, and during online classes, I started getting to know parts of my international friend group and started hanging out and eventually going on trips together. Getting close to people, who live a rather different life from your own, also changes the dynamic of a friendship. It means, that the friend group plays a vital part in being the support system of friends, who are otherwise far from their family and quite simply their initial home. In that way my IS friends depend on each other more, which I think has been good for me as it makes you first of all appreciate your own situation more, while also building strong and emotionally mature bonds with a friend group outside the comfort of home. However, my friend group from back home remains just as important, as it is a place I can always return to and seek comfort in. And I would not want to miss that.”

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