Hallo from Utrecht! After 11 hours up in the air, I am finally in my new home in central Holland (and yes, everyone here does call it Holland–they look at you so oddly if you say The Netherlands!).

About half an hour from Amsterdam, Utrecht is a gorgeous town with many old churches, canals, and buildings. I realized today that Utrecht University is more than 200 years older than OU–how crazy is that? Almost every building I’ve seen is older than America.

The Utrecht area has about 600,000 inhabitants, but it feels much smaller. Because I don’t have a bike yet, I’ve been walking everywhere, and I’ve been amazed at how quickly I can get from place to place.

Today, I attended orientation at my faculty, the Faculty of Humanities. Faculties here are the same as colleges at OU, but each faculty has its own campus. Most students only attend one faculty with no general education requirements. This is definitely a good thing–can you imagine walking from Sarkeys to the National Weather Center two or three times a day? That’s about how far apart each campus is.

The main campus is called De Uithof (pronounced eyt-off), and it has green spaces like a traditional American campus. Other campuses, such as humanities, look nothing like a traditional campus. They look much more like houses in a neighborhood than campus buildings. However, no campus is very showy. There’s no Seedsower statue or flashing Gaylord dome here!

The Faculty of Humanities is very close to my apartment here, which was great when it started snowing today!

Early snow

Here’s the view from my back porch when I woke up at 9 a.m. It had just started snowing.



It snowed so much! It was still snowing when we went on a walking tour of the city center. We were absolutely freezing and kept slipping on the cobblestone streets. I couldn’t help thinking that if this was happening at OU, I would have already gotten a phone call from President Boren canceling today and tomorrow’s activities! The Dutch just toughed it out, though. Lots of people still rode their bikes as the snow was falling.



After the tour, my roommates and I walked back to our apartment. Two Koreans, a Turk, and a Texan all agree: this weather is too cold! We stopped by a grocery store on the way home to warm up (and to pick up a few essentials like Oreos!).

Snow PM

This is the view from my back porch around 3:30 p.m. As you can see, it snowed quite a bit! It’s now 6:30 p.m., and the snow is still coming down. Every time someone comes into the apartment, they’re complaining bitterly about the snow. We’re mostly warm-blooded people: from Spain, Korea, Texas, California, Tennessee, Turkey, and Australia, and we are just not used to this!

However cold it might be, I have to say that I am already absolutely loving Utrecht. Many Dutchies have promised the weather is unseasonably cold and that we won’t see very much more snow, though they are very excited at the possibility of the rivers up north freezing so they can have a speed skating competition.

My feet are cold, but I am alright with the sudden winter weather. The city is even more beautiful with a layer of snow–as long as I can look at it from inside and not out!


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