The end of a Canterbury Tale
After two cancelled exchange semesters, English Language and Culture student Julia Vosmeijer studied in England over the last semester. For Vox, she took part in a letter exchange, discussing her experiences in the UK with Holly Hartley – an English Literature exchange student from the University of Exeter who came to Nijmegen for her own exchange. This week: the final letter to Holly.
My Erasmus exchange has come to an end and after one semester abroad, I’m back in Nijmegen. It has been nice to catch up with my friends and family again, but, at the same time, I miss Canterbury a lot. I miss the historic town. I miss the beautiful cathedral. I miss the winding streets, the campus, the library that was open 24/7. But, most of all I miss the friends I have made along the way.
Over the past months, I have grown quite close to some of the people I met in England and it was incredibly hard to say goodbye. One by one, people left and for each person, there were final conversations to be had and goodbyes to be said. And on Saturday, the 17th of December, it was my turn.
I hugged everyone and cried when I stepped into the taxi to the bus station and the tears didn’t stop when I arrived back in the Netherlands. By the time I stepped on the train to Nijmegen, it finally dawned on me that my exchange, and therefore one of the best times in my life, had come to an end.
I have a shared digital photo album with the friends I made in England and keep in touch with them via Snapchat. I also made all of them sign a copy of the Canterbury Tales. But it’s obviously different than just living down the hall. I have insisted multiple times that they have to come to the Netherlands and I am already looking forward to returning to England too. Additionally, because of the many American exchange students I met, I now have even more reasons to venture across the pond, which has been a long-standing dream of mine.
At the same time, it’s a strange feeling to come back to a place I have called my home for so long, knowing how many things are going to change in the next few months. I’m starting an internship in a couple of weeks and I’m applying for a master’s degree away from Nijmegen. The last months have been a huge growing experience for me and after years of Covid and lockdowns, it’s somewhat weird knowing that I’m not only coming back home now, but that I will also move on to the next chapter of my life. I’m incredibly thankful that I was able to write to you about those months in England that have meant so much to me.
I hope you had as much fun reading my letters as I had writing them, and I’m incredibly excited to read your future columns.