As part of our ongoing student spotlight series, all of us at Greenheart Travel are thrilled to introduce our featured high school abroad student of the week, Valerie Wierenga! Read a little bit about Valerie and her reasons for studying in the Netherlands !
Valerie Wierenga, 18 years old from Grand Rapids, Michigan
Run, play soccer, bake, and hang out with friends and family
Yes, I have traveled with family to Europe and visited several countries there including England, Belgium, Scotland, France. I have also traveled to Honduras for medical mission trips.
I’ve always had a passion for traveling and several of my siblings have studied abroad at Oxford and various schools in college, so it is something I’ve always hoped to do. However, because I will be competing in collegiate athletics I did not think I would ever have the chance to participate in study abroad. I was thrilled when I found Greenheart Travel and their program that allows me to travel abroad in high school.
I am most excited to learn a new language, see what school is like in a different country, and make new relationships. All my relatives are from the Netherlands so I am excited to learn more about where my family is from and be able to speak Dutch with my Grandpa.
I’m sure I will miss my family and friends from home the most. I have a close relationship with my parents and 7 siblings as well as my friends from school and sports. I’ll miss them, but I’m not nervous about becoming homesick because I have spent extended time traveling before, and this trip is something I am very excited to take.
I am nervous about the Dutch language because I am not confident in my speaking or reading skills. I am also nervous about attending school because I want to adjust to the new environment well, and meet other students.
I don’t know Dutch very well, I just know basic words and grammar rules, but I am working on learning more before I leave.
Throughout my trip I think I will become more independent and better at trying new things often.