About the Journey

In July 2008, I spent eight hours in Amsterdam during a layover.  I was charmed by the city.  But I didn’t think too much of it.  At the time, I was just becoming somewhat adjusted to living in New York, with no interest in making any moves in the near future.

In September 2008, I had a reading with a psychic who asked me quite nonchalantly why I would be looking for a relationship with a boy when I hadn’t yet figured out where I wanted to live – or what my career would be.  Sadly, at the time, I thought I had figured out those things, at least mostly.  Her words were pretty jarring.  She told me to “consider the world as an option.”  That’s all it took to start the wheels turning.  What about Amsterdam?  Could I live there?

In January 2009, I attended a week-long professional development course for nonprofit middle managers, where I met some introspective smarties.  While learning some lessons that would help me in my day to day job responsibilities, I began to question critically what my path could look like beyond the short-term.  In conversation with a fellow nonprofit middle manager, I said something along the lines of, “I don’t really enjoy living in NY.  I wish I could move somewhere like Amsterdam.”  To which she responded, “yeah, it’s hard to make that kind of international move – unless you’re going to school.”  The wheels were already turning.  But she revealed the road.

Later in January 2009, I was on vacation with two college friends, one of whom we were visiting in Jamaica.  In relaxed, supportive friend mode, I articulated the idea that had been brewing and was finally becoming clear.  What if I applied to a grad school program in Amsterdam?  What if I moved to Amsterdam?  What if I stayed in Amsterdam?  As crazy as I thought it seemed, my nomad-spirited friends were all for it.  That encouragement was all I needed.

In April 2010, I was admitted to a Master’s program at the University of Amsterdam, committing me to at least a year and a half there. I make the move in January 2011.

A visit, a question, an idea, and a conversation.  And so it begins.

13 thoughts on “About the Journey

  1. How crazy…..I had the same experience, only our timelines are about a year off. I spent some time in Amsterdam 2 years ago, and literally fell in love with it. When I boarded the plane to come back to New York, I knew i had to make the move at some point. Grad school was the only option. Hoping I will be accepted to HKU next year. I was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, and while it will always be home, I know i can’t plant seeds here….at least not ones that last forever!


  2. SO glad you made the leap! Not only across the pond to join the NL tribe:), but into academia, which can also be quite “trippy”. Glad to hear the research in Surinam is going well! I look forward to following your journey!


  3. crazy! I’m a Peace Corps volunteer in South America and I’ve been thinking about getting my masters abroad. Some of my friends are super skeptical coming up with a multitude of reasons why it may not be a good idea. It’s great to see another perspective on it. Been looking through your posts, and not sure if I missed it but do you have anything on the process of applying overseas?


    • Hi Melissa, I’m definitely an advocate for being “abroad” – for studies, especially! It’s the perfect opportunity. I’m not sure I shared too much about the application process. But it was pretty straight forward. I applied directly to the University of Amsterdam. Send a message if you want to know more. I’m happy to answer any questions!


  4. I studied in Maastricht, The Netherlands, planned to stay for only a year then return back to California. That was 1994! I loved the town, the school, the people, everything! Now, I live in Brussels, but lived in London and Stockholm before Brussels. The best laid plans…I am so happy to hear about your “journey”. Way to go and keep having fun!


  5. Haha, I actually just sent you a message and I’m realizing the thought process you had before moving to NL is quite similar to mine! I had spent a few days in Amsterdam a couple years ago while studying abroad in London, and I completely fell in love with the charm of the city. I realize that visiting and living there are completely different, which is why I’m so eager to find out from you what your experience has been like. In fact, now that I know that you attended the UvA, would you be willing to answer a few questions on the application/admissions process please? I’m filling out my contact info below, so please feel free to reach out at your convenience! Thank you!


  6. Your story is fascinating and I’ve been thinking about making the move to Amsterdam for some time. I am in the process of applying to the University for a masters programme.
    So, could we have an update? Are you still in the ‘dam? How’s your love life? Did you meet a nice Dutch man and do you date all races? Cx


    • Ha, thanks!! Things are still good. But I’m a little further south, living in the Hague now. And my latest post (Dating is still a thing) should answer your last two questions ;-). Good luck with your application. I hope we can welcome you here soon!!


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