Since being here in The Netherlands I have come to realise that each day brings something new, whether it be the people I find myself with, places we visit or the situation I find myself in. It has made me exceedingly aware of how routinely and ordinary my life can be at home a lot of the time. Even though this is normal and how society functions, I ask myself do I really challenge my thinking like I am doing here by partaking in conversations which makes me think about areas of life that are controversial and have no answers or do I prefer to partake in superficial conversations which are of no profit. I wonder do I always seek to try new things and broaden my horizons, making the most out of the opportunities I am given. I can definitely say after this experience there are many things that will have changed for the better both my attitude and perspective of life.
Over the past few weeks many situations that I’ve found myself in have impacted me greatly and have made me reflect upon myself, one of these being a trip to Amsterdam during Carnival break. There is no way I could leave The Netherlands without having visited one of the most famous cities in the Europe so Christine and I went along with two of the American girls, Linz from Brighton and Ines who is from Portugal for the weekend. It was a great trip and in my eyes a very beautiful city seeped in cultural heritage. We also took a walk through the Red Light District which was most certainly an eye opener for me. Personally I felt very uncomfortable and uneasy walking down these streets yet they were swarming with people and there was real buzz with people sitting outside pubs enjoying the atmosphere and the sunshine.
Although these women have rights and are treated very well I do not believe it is right for anybody to sell their body, even if it is to make money. In speaking with my flatmates after our trip about it I was surprised to hear that they saw prostitution as acceptable in society. Some said people are going to do it anyway so why not make it legal so they are treated better. As a Christian I was saddened to hear this as I firmly believe sex was created by God as bond of love meant between a husband and wife.
Since being on the trip I also came to the conclusion that our cultures have a big impact on our personalities and the way we act. Now that I’ve got to know people better and am spending more time with them I can agree you do see their true colours! I’ve looked at myself in many situations and thought you just don’t do that. Many of these other Erasmus students are very forthright with their opinions to the point that they are self centred and aren’t really concerned about what others think. I’ve realised that people of the Irish culture are caring and concerning for others making sure that we all get to do what everybody wants and everybody is happy yet still being able to stay together in a group whereas the others just wandered off doing their own thing without any unease about splitting from the group in an unfamiliar city.
As Carl Jung once said, “The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.” Reflecting upon this I can agree that I will come away from this experience with a transformed attitude and personality having been in the company of others who are very different to what I am. I can also say there are certain features of people’s personalities where I think that would be unacceptable back home and is a very undesirable trait. Maybe these people who have experienced my personality would be able to take something from me too.