I briefly mentioned about six weeks ago that I'd successfully applied to go and study in the Netherlands next year
. Two weeks ago, I learned that the university I was meant to be going to hadn't signed their agreement and that people were "looking into alternatives". I got talking to a lecturer about this, who told me that she'd been working with the school of nursing at a different university elsewhere in the Netherlands; I mentally filed the information, and decided not to worry about it until I had opportunity to tell the international exchange lead lecturer (who conveniently happens to be my personal tutor) when I saw her earlier this week, and she said she would investigate.
This morning, I went into university for a meeting with her and the other international exchange students, and the other students all said things like "I feel like I haven't done enough preparation; all I've done is x, y, and z".
Of course, I have done precisely none of the things they've done, since I can't even complete the first step that is applying to my
university for the travel grant, since they want to know where I'll be going… and I have no idea!
When the international lead reached me, she asked where else I might like to go, and I misunderstood, waffled a bit about the other university I'd mentioned earlier in the week (Maastricht) - and she did
say that she would look into it, but since there isn't an existing agreement between the two universities for students
to travel, as far as we can tell at the moment, that could take… a long time. Enough time that the small window in which train tickets are the cheapest they possibly can be may well have passed before it gets sorted out.
And then she re-phrased the question:"We're talking worst case scenarios. Are there any other places on the list you'd consider?"
…by which she meant going to a different country altogether
So now I am at home, where I have narrowed down the list of options to "Northern European countries" (because Spain and Cyprus = hot, and I do not like hot) that are funded by the Erasmus scheme (Slovakia was on the list, but is self-funded) and so I am poring over the options that are left:
- Västerås, Eskilstuna and Linköping in Sweden
- Fulda in Germany
- Tampere in Finland
When I first did this, I kept going "Hmmm, Germany looks interesting… but the Netherlands!
" and "Oooh, I think I'd really enjoy living in Finland… but the Netherlands!
" and "Sweden is beautiful… but the Netherlands!
" … so, well, I applied to go to the Netherlands. But now that that may be out of the picture, I'm more seriously considering them as realistic options, and… I just want to go to all of them
If I stick with my "somewhere I can get to by Eurostar" plan that I uttered in the meeting this morning, then Germany is the only sensible choice. But it's still 8 hours on a train, and I'm not sure I would actually prefer to go to Germany compared to Finland or Sweden. I mean, I can't get to either of them on a train, realistically, and I don't really
like the idea of flying short distances… but when travelling by train involves more than 6 changes and a journey time spanning multiple days
… I'm not sure it counts as "short distance" anymore!
(Another concern is being visitable by a few important people from home, and whilst that is important to me, and to my mental health… all the places on offer are reasonably easy to travel to (or they wouldn't be offered) and that's got to be secondary to things like whether I want to live there for three months, and if they offer the sort of placement experience I'm after.)
On the plus side, I only have to choose between three countries… I can attempt to choose between the Swedish cities if I need to later… but I am really not good at decisions.
Also on my to-do list for today: bake cookies.
made experimental gluten-free peanut butter cookies. They TAAAASTY.