By CISL SD student, Linda Sintniklaas (Netherlands)




“This morning I woke up with such a good feeling! I felt really happy! Maybe you are wondering why I felt so happy this morning? It was because of my experiences as a travelling student in San Diego. During my stay here I came to know about all the beautiful places and all the beautiful people who live in this world. Sometimes there are those moments you think: where has the trust in people gone? And is politeness and hospitality still common? “


Last weekend for me those questions were answered. Friday afternoon I came home after a busy week of working and following English lessons. I was exhausted. After having checked my email and also checked my Facebook account, suddenly my cooking buddy walked into the study area. He asked me if me and my study friend would like to go to a barbecue somewhere in a park. He would give us a ride and he would leave within 30 minutes. Well fine, I thought, let’s go for it! Once in the car we first drove to a supermarket to buy some food and vegetables for the barbecue. Then we went further on to Kate Sessions Park, where the security guy from Vantaggio already heated up the barbecue for all students. The location? On top of a mountain with a beautiful view on the Pacific Ocean, really great! Wonderful to be here! After preparing the food, the barbecue started. It was a lovely evening and we met a lot new people from many different countries.

Well, and that’s how it supposed to go: “come to know people”. It happens at moments you actually don’t expect it, or you actually planned something else. It happens at those moments you need something, but you actually don’t really know what. It happens at the moments when you just have to go somewhere. Do not plan too much when you are travelling; people around you are already organizing a lot of things! And you’re in, for sure!

During the barbecue I met Alexandra, a girl of French that now lives in America because of her boyfriend. She’d invited us for the next day to come to Pacific Beach. So we did, and we had a great day and we shared a lot of laughter. We are now also planning other activities for the upcoming week, really fun.

Aside from Alexandra we also met another couple, Philip and Marielle. We had such a great time with them in Kate Sessions Park that we spoke planning a second dinner. And because of all that on Sunday afternoon my cooking friend dropped us off at Philips apartment. The barbecue was already prepared and they really arranged the whole thing. A lot of food and a few cold beers were already waiting for us, such hospitality! I felt happy and I was surprised to see such hospitality, because we hardly even knew about these people. And guess what? After having a nice warm bath in the jacuzzi we met nice people again! Friends of Philip. Very friendly girls with whom we spoke to for a while. Now we are already having some ideas to go on a road trip with a little group of persons. Maybe we will rent a car and go to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon. Wow, this happens fast “come to know people”. And yes, you can still trust people. And talk about politeness and hospitality? Yes, you can still find people that are! This conclusion brought a smile to my face!

Despite everyone’s complaining about ‘Mondays’, I felt great today! Upcoming travelers, I can give you some advice: 1) Go for every adventure and take every chance you can take; 2) Things do always come when you will not expect them to come, be flexible, don’t plan too much and enjoy all those special ‘unpredictable’ moments; 3) Be open to everyone, this weekend I have really seen the best of people. Trust and hospitality therefore are determining factors. Go for it and enjoy!

Well, a day in the life of a student living abroad? It blew my expectations!