Updated: Jun 6, 2022
I have been living in the Netherlands for 9 years now and whenever I talk to family or even friends back home, the one question that is always asked is “are you coming back to Aruba when you’re done studying?”. For the past 9 years, my answer has always been “hell yes, counting down the days!”, but now that answer is slowly starting to change…
From the beginning, my goal was always to come to the Netherlands, get a diploma and then move back home. Initially, I thought it would only be 4 years. But things happened and two studies later I finally found something I am passionate about. And here we are, still in the Netherlands almost 9 years later with less than a year to go. You’re probably wondering why I don’t sound more excited to leave. I was trying to decide whether I wanted to do my internship in the Netherlands or Aruba. At first, I was dead set on doing the internship at home in Aruba. But then, I started to think about how I would only be living in the Netherlands full time for about 6 more months. I started to think about everything I would miss about being in the Netherlands and of course, I started spiraling… While I hate being away from family, I do have independence here that might change if I move back home. Let’s not forget how (fairly) easy it is to manage everything from your computer or phone (and not have to speak to anyone most of the time). Traveling, especially with friends, is so much easier and cheaper when you’re in the Netherlands and this specific thought is what made me spiral. I started thinking about not being close to my friends here, not having the ease of hopping on a train or plane and discovering someplace new in a short time and without much planning, not having the ability to order stuff without thinking about shipping costs and time and I swear I might start spiraling again, so we’re moving on. After consulting people in my work field and other experts (specifically my mom who is an expert in everything good for me) I decided to stay for my internship… So besides staying for 5 years longer than I anticipated, I am extending my stay by 8 months. And I am honestly excited about it, which I didn’t think I would be.
This whole spiraling episode and questioning myself about moving back or not for a few months made me think a lot about how we, as students, think about going home. I always thought most people would want to go back home as soon as they finish their studies. But, during my time here I found out that most of my friends are set on staying abroad for work while others are still not sure about what they would want to do. When talking about this with friends it’s interesting to see what their thoughts are about this topic. Most of them want to stay because the pay is better here, they have more opportunities to learn, grow individually and grow in their work field. Some of them want to stay and make a life here forever and some want to stay and gain some experience after they finish studying and then move back. Some want to go back but feel like they can’t because there is no job for them back home. Others want to go back home because, like me, they always planned on going back home. In some cases, they might feel obligated to go back because their family expects them to go home as soon as they finish. Moving back home is such a huge step to take and it is important to think about what you want for yourself and what works for you the most. I also think it’s important to talk about this topic with other students, family and friends that stayed abroad, those who went back after their studies and even those who decided to stay in Aruba, to gain different perspectives on this topic.
So now, whenever someone asks me whether or not I’m moving back when I’m done studying my answer is still yes, but it’s more of a hesitant yes than a definite one. I don’t know what life has in store for me, I might move directly after my internship or I might get a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and stay or move somewhere else. But I guess we’ll find out when the time comes. Until then, I’ll just try to make the best out of my life in the Netherlands and seize every opportunity I encounter.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official views of Phryme.