Independent journalism about VU Amsterdam | Since 1953
27 February 2024

Campus
& Culture

‘I like the rain but I miss cultural warmth’

Anahí Flores Caballero (19) is one of the first-year international students we will follow for our Freshmen series this year. This is the first check-in after she started her academic year as a student in Philosophy, Politics & Economics.

“Now that it’s getting cold in the Netherlands, I miss two kinds of warmth. Firstly, of course, the weather: Mexico, where I’m from, is warm and sunny. Being here, I experienced for the first time how much the weather affects people. I found the grey weather a little depressing, but since I found out that I just had to take vitamin D which I was missing due to the lack of sunshine, I actually like the rain now. Rain is so purifying and refreshing and the grass here is wonderfully green. Another good thing about the rain: It makes me want to stay inside to study and do my homework.  

Also, there are so many cozy places to go when its cold and rainy. I must say, the Dutchies really know how to enjoy life, even though you can’t go out that much: Just grab a coffee or have a nice dinner at those places. Especially now that Amsterdam is beautifully illuminated with all those light chains in the trees!” 

Missing emotional support

“A different kind of warmth I miss, though, is the cultural warmth: Mexicans have very close relationships between parents and their children. Now that I live alone and am responsible for everything on my own, I miss the coziness of being home. I miss the emotional support and just being a child – so sometimes it is really hard for me to be that far away from my family.  

However, this is compensated by the other side of living abroad and being on my own: I enjoy the freedom to decide for myself. I am aware of all my actions and that is the only way to get to know yourself better and become independent. And it makes me value my parents and friends much more. Especially all my new friends who are my family here now.” 

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