I am currently in Utrecht, the Netherlands. It's 20 minutes by train from Amsterdam, and is the fourth-largest city in Holland, with a population of roughly 300,000 people. You can get from my apartment to the city center in 10 minutes by bike, to the train station in 15 minutes. I have a bike and this city is so manageable by public transportation, that you would never need a car.
This is my second winter term abroad and I am enjoying it even more than last year. Last year I spent time studying in Madrid through an external study abroad program and it was great, but this has been much more of an independent experience, and I love it. Holland is so central to Europe, it's a great
I am interning at the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights (otherwise known as SIM.
The institute is part of the Law Faculty at the University of Utrecht, which is why it is composed of academic individuals including Ph. D candidates, Masters students and prominent Professors.
At the institute, I am conducting research, helping organize events including the upcoming 30th Anniversary Conference (where I will also be interviewing the prominent speakers that will attend), as well as acting as editorial assistant to multiple publications. This editorial work includes one of my many projects, where I will be publishing a special human rights journal of the institute in my time here.
I would not have been able to do this if I hadn't won a Public Policy grant for funding my internship from the Rockefeller Center. I am one of 13 who have been granted funds for their internship, and it has helped immensely. Europe is expensive!
The work I am doing is really rewarding. I've been able to attend many lectures given by well-known experts in the field of human rights, visit the famous international courts in the Hague, and above all
gain perspective on the scope of human rights from the many of my colleagues.
During my time here I have been able to play hockey with two teams. I practiced with the first women's team of Alkmaar playing indoor field hockey for the month of January, and now I am playing at Kampong, the biggest field hockey club in the world, with 35 women's teams and the same number of men's teams with even a "veterans" league of teams for older players.
I am practicing with the fourth team. They're incredibly good. The hockey level here is one that just doesn't even compare to the United States. The system that they have created, where you play for your local club that has a clubhouse, at least three pitches (hockey turfs), makes it an awesome environment. It's fun, relaxed, and I'm learning so much, which I can't wait back to bring back and share with the team in the spring during our off-season training. With Liz Blanken, who grew up in the Netherlands for 10 years and played with a team called Laren, and Phoebe Hoffmann who spent a gap year in the Hague, we definitely add some Dutch flavor to the team!
With my last season coming up, I want to give it my all and I'm glad that I was able to have exposure to this style and level of hockey. And I love seeing people bike around with their sticks!
It's now a month until I come home, and I am not ready! I mean, I think I will be but I am enjoying it here so much, I know I'll have to come back.