'Not exploring the opportunities that we have seems like a crime'

Travelling around the world has always felt like a responsibility for me. We live in a world where not exploring the opportunities that we have seems like a crime. I live in a small country called Latvia, so when the opportunity to become an exchange student in the USA arose, I gladly accepted the offer.

The journey I had was not easy, considering most of my studies were spent learning online because of the pandemic. It often felt like the universe was testing me. Nevertheless, when you taste the drive of something new, you can’t help but crave more. The year was spent with countless new experiences, new people, and new feelings. Is this what I was supposed to be doing all my life? My passion for exploring had never felt stronger. My exchange year flew by and I didn’t even get to realise that I was back home in Latvia, not knowing what to do next. There was still a year of high school left, but what after? Do I take the easy route and stay, or do I take on more rewarding challenges? It didn’t take me long to decide.

As a student in the 21st century, you have so many possibilities. Choosing where to go seemed like a big responsibility, but one step at a time I did it with my favourite method – exclusion or deduction.  I basically narrow down everything by subtracting the options that don’t fit me or my needs. Little by little, you will be left with a small portion of possibilities.

Deep down, I have always known – my passion for literature cannot be beaten by anything else. The first thing I did was look at universities that had my desired programme. Turns out that literature is not the most popular thing to study, which made my choices shrink a lot. The next thing to deduct were places I didn’t want to go. My ideal place would be a bit further from my home country, but not across the whole world. I wasn’t ready for that yet. Lastly, you are left with tuition. It really felt like fate when I learned about Utrecht University.

Sometimes in life, you just get a sixth sense, and everything falls in place. Even before applying, I felt like this was the place for me to end up, and I was right. Surprisingly, the application process was much easier, the course fit me beautifully, the tuition was affordable, and the city was breathtaking. My hard search was over since I had found my new home for the next three years. 

So, what now? It has almost been a month since I moved here, and even after exploring the city every day it still feels like there is an infinity of uncovered secrets and gems, which I cannot wait to unveil myself. The city speaks to you like it is accepting you into this hidden paradise, which is exactly what it is.