Hi again, everyone! If you haven’t read my first blog, read it HERE.
Now that we’re all caught up...
My week after the Amsterdam trip started with a bit of bad luck. On the Tuesday morning, I had to go to the dentist and be put on antibiotics. Thankfully, all worked out well and I still got to enjoy the last two weeks of this amazing trip. That next week was mostly knee deep in study leading up to our last cultural trip to Germany. That Wednesday, we got to have a group dinner with all 4 of the programs studying at Maastricht at the time. It was really nice to just sit down and chat with a lot of different people.
That Friday was the bus ride to Cologne. When we got there, we went to the National Socialism Documentation Centre (NSDOK). In the cellar of the house is one of the best-preserved prisons with more than 1800 inscriptions on the walls of the cells, telling disturbing tales of persecution, torture and murder. It was definitely an experience and a half. After this, I went and explored Cologne Cathedral, saw the Shrine of the three kings and walked to the Great St. Martin Church. All of which was just magnificent to look at. After I had eaten a big pretzel and some fries, it was time to head out to Düsseldorf.
We got there at around 6PM and checked into and settled into our hotel for the night. For dinner, we went to a very Germanic restaurant- a lot of people got a German beer and I really wish I did, I just very much don’t like beer. The next morning was very relaxing. With free time, I decided to go for a walk and also visit the K20 Grabbeplatz, it was my first time in an actual art museum. All the art pieces were exquisite. In the afternoon we visited the 200-year-old Benrath Palace, complete with all the 18th century French inspired furniture, porcelain, paintings, gardens and architecture. We headed back to Maastricht that night.
A Picasso Piece
The next day, we had a field trip to Dienst Justitiële Inrichtingen, a men’s prison. We got a complete tour of the day in the life of the inmates. Even getting to go inside an empty cell. It was completely out of my comfort zone and confronting to say the least. The most confronting part was that to see the empty cell we had to walk past occupied cells, and some inmates whistled at us and banged on their doors, it was very surreal.
The next day, it snowed! The first snow-fall I’ve ever seen, and it was everything and more. I made snowballs, walked home in the falling snow, it made everything so beautiful! I’m so glad it snowed in this last week, I was going to be disappointed if I missed it.
Most of that next week was preparing for our debates. That Friday, the 25th of January was our last day of the program, our debates and the closing ceremony. The debates were great! Every group did such a great job. After the debates finished, we had drinks and snacks with all 4 programs ending the same day. It was a great way to end an excellent month.
So here I am, writing to you in the comfort of my home in Australia, one week after arriving back from the Netherlands and I already want to go back. I have had one of the most fulfilling experiences in my life and I’m very glad I told the leap of faith and joined this program because I wouldn’t take it back for anything.
Hey there! I’m Maddy, I’m 21 and from a little town in NSW called Coffs Harbour. I’m currently in my 3rd year of university, studying a bachelor of psychological science. In my spare time I love to watch movies, play with my cat, create art, and swim. This program has allowed me to experience overseas for the first time and I am beyond grateful for that chance.