Hello Peta! Could you introduce yourself to Pequod’s readers?
Hey my name is Peta, I am 23 years old Australian-Swiss-Belgian student in Communication and Information Sciences and I am currently studying in Tilburg, the Netherlands. I love moving around, discovering new people and places (and food!!) and I would describe myself as being a free spirit, as cheesy as that may sound.
Why did you choose the Netherlands?
I always wanted to study in a different country for my master because I did my bachelor in Geneva and Sydney. I like discovering new places, and I knew that Dutch universities are good. I speak Dutch and my grandpa was from the Netherlands, so moving here was an opportunity to discover a part of my heritage. In addition, I was looking for a country with a relaxed attitude, which I thought I might find here.
Describe your life in the Netherlands (your occupation, your everyday life, social life, etc.)
I guess that most of my time is dedicated to University because I want to do well and I am very interested in what I am studying. For the rest, I spend time with my new friends, I try to discover some cool new places around the Netherlands and enjoy special beers way too often. At the moment my social life is a bit limited because of University deadlines but I always enjoy having a laugh around some beers!
How is living in the Netherlands different than living in your country?
I grew up in Switzerland which is a very quiet and conservative country, which honestly does not suit my outgoing personality. When I lived in Sydney, I found a country where the relaxed and fun-loving atmosphere really suited me and I guess the Netherlands is somewhere in between both countries. I really miss the Australian weather and the beach, and this country is really, really flat compared to Switzerland. But when I move someplace new I try not to compare it too much to the previous place I lived in because I think you have to try to discover the new aspects of every new place and try to enjoy the best of them.
Which is the biggest challenge of moving to a new country? Have you had any regrets so far? What do you miss the most?
I think the biggest challenge is not being able to take my friends with me because they are spread out across the world and having to make new friends.
I enjoy deep friendships which are difficult to find when you move somewhere new. I try not to regret the things I do, because I firmly believe that, in the end, you regret most what you do not do. I am not particularly attached to places so if this does not work out I will just move again. I really miss my friends and family obviously, as well as some aspects of the cities I lived in previously (Tilburg is really quiet) but someone told me not to hang on to the past and to enjoy the present, so I try. And who knows what tomorrow brings!
What does Europe mean for you? Do you perceive the existence of Europe as a community? Do you feel part of it? Do you feel European?
For me Europe is mostly the geographic definition of it. Having grown up in a country which is not European and being born on the other side of the world I do not particularly feel European. I actually do not believe that Europe should be one big community and I know that is controversial . I feel that by focusing on Europe we lose the individuality of the member countries . For me Europe is an agreement or a collaboration but countries should not disappear under the “European Umbrella”.
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