A little about me...

My name is Brogan, I am a 2nd year Media Production student at the University of Lincoln in England. I study TV and Digital Media and am interested in photography, art, and design. In my 1st year of university, I was given the opportunity to apply for an exchange in Digital Media for the second semester of my 2nd year. Myself and a friend Jason already knew of the Erasmus exchange programme so jumped at the opportunity to learn more. We both started the application process for the two exchange places with The Academy of Pop Culture in Leeuwarden, Netherlands.

The Process

The application process for the Exchange was started in November 2015, we were chosen for the exchange places by our university before being accepted to the Pop Culture minor by Hanze University. once our places were confirmed, there was a lot to organise; Things such as accommodation, flights and insurance, but also small things that you wouldn't immediately think of. On top of all this, we had to work the first half of our 2nd year in Lincoln around our exchange, finding somewhere to live with short contracts and making sure that our credits will all work out by the end of the year.

After many 'To Do' lists, talks with various tutors, evenings searching for places to live, and working out details, we finished our last semester at Lincoln before the exchange and went home for the Christmas break, knowing that we wouldn't be back in Lincoln until September 2017. January 2017 was spent organising all of the last details whilst all of our friends started back at university in Lincoln. Over a year of preparation all came into play when it came to February 2nd.

Here we go....

Jason and I met at the Airport on February 2nd and flew into Groningen to be greeted with a sunset landing; the start of our adventure. We stayed in a little hotel for a night in Groningen before attending an international welcome day at Hanze University of Applied Sciences.

We had a welcome talk which was a nice intro to Dutch culture, but all of the information was on living in Groningen, and no one seemed to know a lot about the Academy of Pop Culture in Leeuwarden! We left the welcome day once we had gathered all the relevant information and headed over to Leeuwarden by train to pick up the keys to our rooms (we are living with 23 other students from around the world, sharing one big kitchen which will be interesting). We dropped our cases off before getting straight back on a train to Groningen to spend another night there and see the beautiful city!

Here you can find the photos from our few days in Groningen under 'Trip One'.

Something To Note About the Academie voor Popcultuur...

It has no curriculum. The entire course is based on student drive. It is all down to the students to work on a project of their choosing and to source the help they need from the right people at the academy. There are also only 247 students across all four years (foundation, level 1, level 2, and level 3). There are about 13 exchange students this semester, though 8 of these are from the parent university in Groningen. 1 of the 5 remaining exchange students is Dutch, so that leaves 4 non-Dutch-speaking students in the university, myself and Jason being 2 of them.

The First Week- 06.02.17

After a day or two to find our feet, meeting our new flatmates, exploring the city, and buying bikes (very important here as everyone cycles everywhere!) Another thing was finding food... not only are we in a new university and city, everything is new. You can't just go to Tesco to buy food, we had to work out what shops sold food at a decent price and what on earth most of the food is! Our first shopping trip was an interesting one, with google translate at the ready and a willingness to try new foods!

We met with Anne Karen at the AvP. She gave us a few details on start dates, and told us how different the Academy is to all other universities, but we still felt a little in the dark about what we will actually be doing there! We had a few days before we started our first week, so We decided to travel a little around the Netherlands. We caught a train to Arnhem, then visited Dieren and Nijmegen which gave us a chance to take some photos, see some sights, and practice speaking a little Dutch. Photos can be found on my photography blog under 'Trip two'.

Day One at AvP- 13.02.17

Day one at the academy gave us the dreaded 'what have we done' feeling when the 2 and a half hour lecture was 90% in Dutch..... This was remedied a little in the afternoon when we met with Ype so he could explain to the 4 non Dutch speaking Students in the entire university (myself and Jason included) that we will be having 3 types of 'classes'. Production houses, Labs, and SLB meetings. We will choose these tomorrow.

Day Two at AvP- 14.02.17

Day two was essentially made of fayres. The first being to talk to each production house to decide which tutors you wanted to work with based on their expertise and way of learning and the second being to choose our Lab which would teach us the practical skills we would like to learn. Jason and I both chose 'Stroom' production house because it fitted our needs for Digital Media expertise. We also both chose the Design Lab and will be meeting Thursday to design our own curriculum.

The design tutors were aware there were exchange students, so spoke mostly in English. Some students struggled a little with this so in some cases, things would be explained in both English and Dutch which was interesting. I feel as though it will be a learning curve for everyone, many of the tutors have said it will be a good chance to practice their English. We then met with our SLB tutor, Emmilee (our one on one tutor) and our group which was made up of all of the exchange students. We have to submit our project plans by the 28th February for sign off.

Day Three at AvP- 16.02.17

We met with the design lab to work out what everyone would like to learn this semester for their projects. The lab is made of all of the design tutors, and anyone interested in design across all four years. We all made boards containing skills we want to be taught so that the Tutors could put together a plan of classes for this semester so that we can attend the classes relevant to us. It was funny that tutors would start in Dutch, then mid-sentence say 'sorry, English!' and continue in English. All students tried to put their points across in English, and when they couldn't, they would switch to Dutch and this would be explained. The flow of the two languages is interesting, it is very fluid swapping back and forth, and many of the students are happy to help Jason and I to translate.

And then we got packing...

Beginning of Winter Break! 27.02.17

Having only had 3 days of uni, we then had a week off! With no idea of how grading works, what we needed to prepare (other than answering a few questions about our project) and having found out that we got into the production house we wanted, we went travelling! We left early on Friday morning, and got a train to Ghent, Belgium.

Day 2- 18.02.17

We went to Gravensteen castle in the morning on Saturday, before getting a train to Bruges, Belgium. We spent the day there, went on a boat around the city before getting another train to Lille, France late in the evening.

Days 3 and 4- 19.02.17- 20.02.17

We spent 2 days in France, staying in Lille which was beautiful for 3 nights, and visiting Bethune and Lens while we were there.

Day 5- 21.02.17

Day 5 we spent time in 3 countries in one day! Woke up in Lille, France; spent the day in Tournai, Belgium, then had dinner and got to our hostel in Cologne, Germany for the evening!

Tournai was very wet!

Day 6- 22.02.17

Spent the Day in Cologne, Germany. Had a walking tour before going up the triangle and then visiting the love lock bridge. We got a train to Dusseldorf, Germany for the evening.

Day 7- 23.02.17

Spent the day in Dusseldorf, having not realised that it was Carnival! It was very busy, with a lot of drinking. We spent a little time having a look around, but didn't fit in without the costumes! We found food (no idea what I ate but it was very tasty and and as big as my head!) We then found a really great car showroom inside an old roundhouse on the outskirts.

Day 8- 24.02.17

Spent our final day in Wuppertal, Germany. It was like walking onto a film set. We were both so amazed by the Schwebebahn, we got a day pass and rode around on it all day! We also went to a tapestry museum which was really cool.

We made our way back to Leeuwarden in the evening by train, a fantastic 8 days. We visited 9 towns and cities, 3 countries, and walked over 95 miles..... A fantastic adventure with many many memories.

Week 3 at AvP- 27.02.17

Week 3 we started off with our SLB meeting, discussing our projects before our first Stroom production house on Wednesday with our Tutors, Hans and Adri. The group all suggested things they wanted to do for the next 8 weeks and any excursions they would like. Hans also told us about the group night away next week.

We then had a 3D lab in the afternoon, where we were trying out projection mapping, and tracking a 3D object into footage using Cinema 4D.

04.03.17- 05.03.17

Jason's parents came to visit, so we went out for a lovely meal on Saturday evening, and then we went on a ferry to Ameland for the day which was a really great chance to get to know them better!

Week 4 at AvP- 06.03.17

Week 4 was an eventful week.... on Tuesday, we met with Adri early and drove with him to Estermar, Netherlands. We had an old Saxon farmhouse rented for Stroom for the night.

We met everyone there, worked out what to buy, and decided that I was cooking for everyone, then went to a shop to buy supplies. We went for a walk around the countryside, all stood on a bird watching platform discussing art and culture and different societies. We all came back and worked on our projects before I cooked everyone dinner and we ate around the table together. After dinner, we finished off our mini projects, and met in another room to show our work. I had been playing around with different styles of digital drawing.

We all relaxed, drank, and had creative discussion about everyone's projects. I am really enjoying the open discussion with other creative people, it's something I think I am learning a huge amount from.

We then relaxed for the evening, listening to music, jamming, talking, It was a really great evening.

We ended up going to bed at 5am, very sleepy people!

We drove home in the morning after breakfast, Jace and I were both exhausted but had 'Dinner with the Mayor' that evening. It turned out to be a fairly strange affair, we both dressed up, but it was a talk about Leeuwarden for international students, followed by a trip up the Oldehove, then for pancakes on the Pannekoekschip. It was a nice evening.

This week, I also worked on learning some Cinema 4D skills, and how to track an object into video with reflections.

Week 5 at AvP- 13.03.17

This Tuesday I went to a cat cafe with some friends from AvP before my SLB meeting, it was really great, we had tea and cake, and got to play with the cats. They were all such characters, Romy loved my shoelaces!

On Wednesday, we had a meeting with Stroom, got to meet Ellis who said she will help us with working out things for assessments (we only just got an English version of the competences (what we are graded on!)) Jason and I have agreed to help the academy to improve the course for new international students. Adri talked us through how to apply the competences to our projects. We then had the animation lab, and started designing an animation with a robot. I have been set the task to make the factory scene for next week.

Later on, Jace and I met Clive and Richard from back home. We discussed how our exchange was going, our experiences so far, and caught up on some necessaries from Lincoln. We had some food, and discussed how our experiences at AvP could be used to help Lincoln. Jason and I have agreed to help bring in some of the academy's learning techniques to the re-written media course at Lincoln. It was a really productive evening, and was great to see some friendly faces from back home too!

I spent the rest of the week trying to figure out the competences and core tasks I wanted to be assessed on, and helping to make scenes for animation, pretty proud of our factory!

Week 6 at AvP- 20.03.17

This week, we looked at our work in different contexts in Stroom. Adri also looked at my core tasks and competences, it turns out they were wrong so I need to re- do them now that I understand. I'm stressing out a little, I haven't been able to start my projects yet because I didn't understand what they needed to be assessed on, so i now have 2 weeks to create 2 concepts with 2 full portfolios.... We made robots in the animation lab!

Jason and I worked on our competences until the early hours of Friday, I think we were going a little crazy by the time we decided to call it a night!

Week 7 at AvP- 27.03.17

This week, I finally started working on my first project-

My EDS art piece.

A 3 minute video piece which can be shared on social media. The piece will be a mixed media project, with a projection mapping illustrating spoken word poetry about HSD, Chronic pain, invisible disabilities, and the social perception of it. The projection will be projected onto the speaker’s body or parts of the speaker’s body. The aim is to raise awareness of the condition and other invisible disabilities, to give viewers an insight into what it is like for sufferers.

Mac V Windows in Stroom...

In the production house, I did my presentation on my project for feedback. Every week, we do a 'Throw your shit on the table' session where we discuss what we have done that week, but twice a semester, we have to do a presentation to the group. Mine went well and I got some really great feedback from everyone.

Wednesday afternoon, we started to animate our robots, and got the factory scene animated. We set up 3 animation stations and got to work!

Week 8 at AvP- 03.04.17

This week, I worked on my second project...

My 3D sculpture project.

A video proposal, 30-60 seconds long to be shown to the council and residents of Leeuwarden to propose a statue which recognises the cities achievement of winning the bid for the European Capital of Culture 2018. The sculpture will be modern and will use the environment around it to reflect the culture in the city. The sculpture will be created as a digital 3D object, and tracked into a video of the chosen location(s).

In the production house, we discussed how to present our portfolio. There aren't any real requirements or constraints (as with everything here). I think I'm finally on track! I submitted my 43 page, 8500 word document containing my 2 portfolios for feedback on Friday. Time to relax for the weekend, nothing I could do but wait.

International dinner at our flat Friday. Everyone brought dishes from their home country, and we all shared food. Jason and I made a good old Eton Mess which went down a treat.

Jace and I went to Groningen on the Saturday to visit a photography gallery which had just opened. We then visited the Groninger Museum, it was a nice day out!

Week 9 at AvP- 10.04.17

Week 9 I received my feedback, mostly positive! I worked on the animation again on Wednesday.

I submitted my final portfolio for assessment on Thursday, my assessment for these 6 competences is on Tuesday, it will be interesting to see how I do, the assessment isn't like anything I have done at Lincoln.


With our portfolios submitted, all we can do is wait! Jason and I went with his cousin Mark out to Harlingen for the day which was a sweet little town by the sea.

Week 10 at AvP- 17.04.17

Assessment week! This came around all too quickly, and i was a little nervous going into my assessment Tuesday, as the whole experience was new. I was given my assessment slot with two AvP tutors, and had a half an hour period with them. I entered the room, they explained how the process worked. I needed to give a 10 minute presentation on areas which had been flagged up in my feedback, so I discussed my own personal reasons for my sculpture design. The tutors then had 10 minutes to ask me questions about my project. I was asked why I hadn't approached the Capital of Culture team about my project, and I explained that the project was theoretical and as a carrier for learning the softwares I wanted to learn, rather than a real project. The tutors urged me to speak to the capital of culture, but I stood my ground, which concerned me a little that maybe I would loose a competence for not reaching out to professionals. I was then asked to leave the room for them to decide. I decided to assess 6 of the 10 competences for my minor in the first assessment, so that if I failed some, I had time to improve and still would have had 3 or 4 from this assessment. I was called back into the room, and was told I passed all 6 competences, and that they really liked my work, and they were impressed, although I had done too much work. The assessment gave me a lot of hope that the projects are on the right track!

Spring Break- 22.04.17

So, a well deserved rest for Jason and I! We decided to cover Switzerland And Italy in the week off, Switzerland being one of the places I wanted to go most on our travels.

We left around 6am and traveled 10 hours by train to Lucerne, Switzerland. It was breathtaking. We spent the afternoon and evening around the lake, taking in the beauty of the place.

Day Two- 23.04.17

We spent Sunday in Lucerne too, and after walking around the lake for the morning, we rented a powerboat and took it out on the lake. Jason and I were both speechless. Neither of us could believe we were here, doing this, and all off of our own backs. It was a very special moment, one I will never forget. We were in such an incredible place, doing something we couldn't have dreamed of.

After that amazing hour, we got a bus out to a lift which took us up to the top of Mt. Pilatus. The views were so stunning, we were on the edge of the Alps.

We headed back down the mountain, and got on a train to a little place called Emmen. We sat in the middle of a river and had dinner, Jason climbed on rocks, and I paddled, it was a lovely way to end such an amazing day.

Day Three- 24.04.17

We got a train to Lugano, Switzerland. Another stunning lake, I really didn't want to leave Switzerland. We drank lake water in both Lucerne and Lugano.

We then got a train to Verona, Italy for the night, and stayed in a strange, sea themed B&B.

Day Four- 25.04.17

Spent the day in Verona, A beautiful city with rich colours. We spent the day exploring the city, and had some amazing food in a wonderful little Italian restaurant.

We got a train to a lake Garda for a little bit, before getting the train to Venice for the night.

Day Five- 26.04.17

I spent the day in Venice, Italy alone as Jason was ill, it was certainly a new experience exploring alone! Venice was like a maze, but I found my way out eventually!

Day Six- 27.04.17

We got a Train to Pisa! We decided we had to do the tourist ting while we were here...

Day Seven- 28.04.17

Rome! We got a train from Pisa to Rome, and stayed in a hostel overnight before spending the day absorbing the history. Such a big city, but very touristy.

Day Eight- 29.04.17

Sad to be leaving, but our flight home! We got to go into the cockpit when we landed.

When we landed back in the Netherlands, we took an unplanned detour to Rotterdam for the afternoon, and hired some very wobbly bikes!

This trip was amazing, such beautiful places, I didn't want to leave Switzerland, and would love to go back. Certainly a trip I will never forget.

Week 11 at AvP- 01.05.17

This week in the production house we made a plan for the block, both what we wanted to do in the production house, and for our projects.

Friday Jason and I went to a festival in the city which was really cool, some great live music!

Week 12 at AvP- 08.05.17

I spent this week writing my slam poem for my EDS project, and sketching my sculpture plans. I got feedback on my poem for my portfolio as I need to record my voice over really soon to start making the visuals alongside the finalised recording.

Tuesday I went out with a big group for a flatmate's birthday. It was lovely to get to know more Dutch and International students, we had a barbecue in a really pretty park by a windmill.

Week 13 at AvP- 15.05.17

This week I booked one of the recording bunkers at AvP and recorded the EDS poem. The bunkers are really cool, and are all decorated in different ways, but I found the soundproofing wasn't great! I also drew out my plans for the animation this week.

Jason also helped me to map out the mask for my projections.

The production house this week was a field trip to Groningen, to meet two guys who were living in a shipping container by an old sugar factory, and were living off of the land. They explained what they were doing in Dutch while we drank a kind of tea we had to make from branches. Elsalie translated for us.

We then went out forraging for food with the guys, before making nettle soup, pesto, and cooking some of the other plants we gathered! I met some great people, and got thrown into an odd situation with everyone, which was a lot of fun. the pesto was amazing too!

Jason and I were also invited to a Jam night by Justin, so we spent the evening listening to some amazing live music. One thing I'm realising about Leeuwarden is that every corner, there are new creative opportunities. It is such an experience being surrounded by such a talented and artistic group of people.

Week 14 at AvP- 22.05.17

Wednesday's production house was our Do Day this week. Everyone used the time to work on their projects in class, which meant that others could input ideas and help during the process. I helped Ymkje with making her tattoo illustrations symmetrical using Illustrator, and Elsalie helped me with projections while i was testing out projection surfaces. The ability to discuss with others is something I've found so helpful at the AvP, it's something I don't feel we do enough of generally.

On Thursday, Jason and I went to Europe's biggest flower market. It was mind boggling how many flowers were here, it covered 3 of the main squares in the city as well as streets.

On the Saturday, Leeuwarden held the Straatfestivaal, which was similar to the 'Out There' festival held in my home town, but with live music too. Lots of street performance during the day, followed by some great live music into the night.

Week 15 at AvP- 29.05.17

I spent the week creating my own projection visuals this week, it took a lot of long hours. I also filmed Elsalie's first performance for her graduation piece to document her work, which was additionally great experience for filming my own projections at a later date, and a chance for me to learn what looks good on camera, and how to manage my light levels.

After the production house wednesday, I went to the Oldehove to film my location for my sculpture project. I also created my sculpture in Maya, and painted it using Substance Painter. A very productive week!

Week 16 at AvP- 05.06.17

No production house Wednesday, but I finished my sculpture in-situ, and it is ready to be exported. I also finished my draft animation for my EDS project at last, I worked hours and hours on it!

Friday, Jason and I went to Amsterdam early in the morning to meet friends from home. We met them, and went to a museum in the red light district, before going to the top of the A'dam building, and going on the highest swing in Europe, 100m off of the ground. It was so much fun, I wanted to go again the second I got off of it.

We got food, and headed to the Anne Frank museum after queueing forever. We visited the I Amsterdam sign, and got some dinner before heading to Utrecht for the night.

Saturday, we spent the morning in Utrecht, and climbed to the top of the Dom tower. We then looked around a cathedral, before heading to Amersfoort for some food and a walk around the pretty rivers.

We said goodbye to Lewis, Lydia, and Sophie at the station, before getting the train to Zwolle. We spent time in the park having food after looking around the city, before heading home. It was so lovely to see friends from uni and spend time with them!

Week 17 at AvP- 12.06.17

On Tuesday, I filmed the first attempt of my EDS project. I painted myself entirely white, and projected onto my body, recording the project along the way. It came out better than I expected, but didn't have a professional finish to it. It took me 4 hours to peel the paint off of myself before I could shower!

Wednesday was the production house, and my main presentation of the block. I showed my EDS project, and got lots of great, very critical feedback. There were many things mentioned, such as the shininess of the paint, and the angles used. One of the most important things came from Adri "it looks like a document of a performance, rather than a film piece." He was right. It was a group decision that I needed to re-shoot, and use more camera angles. It meant that I was also able to tidy up some of the parts of the animation I didn't like on the first take. I went to Space Lab after to get some feedback from the space and performance side, they mirrored what had been said in the production house, and helped me with angle ideas.

Saturday, Jason and I went to the dance festival for more live music, and we rode bikes which you pedaled upside down!

On Sunday, I re-shot my EDS piece with Jason using a second camera. It really helped having a 2nd pair of eyes to check I was lined up correctly. It took another 4 hours to peel the paint off after, however, the footage was much better than on the first attempt. I am very glad that the group gave feedback before I finished the product, that open discussion on work during the creation process is powerful, and is something that I feel we lack at Lincoln.

Week 18 at AvP- 19.06.17

This week, I exported my sculpture piece (48 hours of rendering!) and edited my EDS video together roughly.

Tuesday, Jason and I filmed Elsalie's graduation performance which was different and a more well-rounded project the second time around. It has been really interesting seeing this graduation piece evolve throughout my time at the AvP.

Wednesday was our last production house! Such a strange feeling, coming to the end of our time with these great people. I gained more feedback on my project from the group, who suggested less cuts and different transitions. Jason and I took a lunch break and went to the city, where there was a huge crochet laid out, a taster for a part of the capital of culture next year.

I then went to Space Lab, and since I was the only student there, |I had all 3 teachers to myself. We discussed my project and how to improve it further, they suggested making it more personal, so i went home and filmed the additional piece we discussed, which rounded off the video nicely. I finalised the edit for my EDS project just in time!

Thursday, I spent a couple of hours at uni Setting up for the PopCultura! Interesting to see how the space develops.

We also went to the cat cafe again for one last time!


Friday was our PopCultura (End of block show). We arrived early to set up, lots of people installing such a variety of projects.

The show was busier than I expected, I had people coming to me often to tell me they loved the piece. Live music, Adri was cooking food with electricity, and people sharing their creations with the rest of the school, as well as the public.

Loes had a small studio setup, she's so talented, and I admire what she does with her limitations. She has been a great help in creating my EDS project, as she suffers from EDS herself.

Credit: Loes Gorseling- loesgorseling.nl

I finished my portfolio for submission over the weekend. 17000 words, 96 pages!

Week 19 at AvP- 26.06.17

A little time to relax! Another International dinner with our housemates, it was a lot of fun!

Wednesday, we went out for drinks with our production house. Such a strange feeling, knowing that it was the last time we would see everyone like this, but also a lovely last gathering together. Thursday, I submitted my last submission for the AvP!

The Final Products!

Here is my main project

And my sculpture project.

Week 20 at AvP- 03.07.17

On Monday, Jason and I realised we hadn't explored Leeuwarden with our cameras yet, so we had a day out in the city taking photos!

Wednesday was my final assessment at the Academie voor Popcultuur. I assessed 8 competences this time, even though I only needed 4 to pass. I wanted a safety net to catch me if I failed any, and if I passed them all, well, that's an achievement! The assessors liked the end result of both my projects. I did my presentation on how I applied different organisation methods, and what i learned in each of my projects, as the feedback asked for. I was called back in, and informed that I passed all 8 competences, meaning I leave the AvP with a full minor, with 42/30 credits! Jason and I met up with Loes and her partner, Baz. We drove with them to Velp, and went on an evening walk/bike ride into the National Park in Rozendaal. We got to see Wild horses, wild boar, and deer! It was a beautiful place, with some wonderful company.

We stayed the night, and got a train to Walibi Holland (a theme park) on Thursday. We got very wet!

After Uni Travels- 08.07.17

So, Jason and I decided to make the most of things and travel some more! Saturday, we traveled to Schipol airport, for our flight to Budapest. After long delays, and the computer system going down twice, our flight was canceled. Many issues with the airline later, we had no option but to sleep on the airport floor, as advised by the manager!

We traveled back to Leeuwarden early in the morning, and spent a night at home, before travelling back to Schipol for our new flight on Monday. We flew through Thunderstorms, and got caught in one of the biggest storms I've ever witnessed when we landed!

Day Two- 11.07.17

Tuesday, Jason and I explored Budapest on foot, before getting a bus in the afternoon to a chairlift, which took us to a tower which gave us a view of most of Budapest and a lot of Hungary. It was breathtaking, I didn't want to go back down!

Day Three- 12.07.17

Wednesday, we got a train out to Vienna, Austria for the day and spent time admiring the huge buildings, before travelling back to our hostel in Budapest in the evening.

Day Four- 13.07.17

Another day trip Thursday! This time to Tata, Hungary which was stunning, and so different. We found man made ice caves, and ruins, as well as going out into the more run-down residential areas. I'm so glad we went to some smaller places, and not just big cities.

We then caught another train to Komárom, Hungary, and walked over the boarder to Komárno, Slovakia. We caught a road train, and were taken around the two cities, before finding the old town in Komárno on foot. A train journey back to Budapest in the evening left us enjoying the night life in Hungary.

Day Five- 14.07.17

Budapest for the day! We started our day out with a few hours at the Szechenyi Bath, a well deserved rest I think!

Jason and I then climbed up the hill in Pest to the Citadel, and spent the evening watching the sunset from that side, after an incredible recital with a string orchestra.

Day Six- 15.07.17

Our last day in Budapest, and Jason and I visited the Basilica. We went up to the top to see the views, and spent the morning soaking in as much of this wonderful city as possible until we had to fly back to the Netherlands in the Evening.

17.07.17- 19.07.17

A few days rest! Spent the time tying up loose ends in the Netherlands, sending home luggage, un-registering as a citizen, closing bank accounts. It's quiet in the flat, everything is coming to an end, and I want to stay longer. Jason's parents came to visit, and I cooked them dinner Wednesday night to thank them for all their help while we have been here.


On Thursday, Jason, his parents and I went on a little day trip to Giethoorn, 'the Venice of the Netherlands'. It was a little village with rivers instead of roads. We hired a boat for a couple of hours and Jason and I drove it around, it was a quaint little place.

We went back to Leeuwarden, and went out for dinner at a lovely restaurant.


We spent the day in Leeuwarden, Jason hired a boat as our final goodbye to such a cultural little city. Jason and I drove the boat, which was quite an experience dealing with boat traffic, bridges, and tunnels! This experience has given me a lot more confidence to jump into anything head first. I've learnt that you can't pass up opportunities just because they intimidate you, you just have to grab it with both hands and take it on.

We went and got lunch in city afterwards, such a sunny day.

We then went up to the top of the Oldehove to see the city from above. I had been up once in the time we were here, but without my camera, so it was something I really wanted to do before I left.

Jason and I went out for drinks that evening with Elsalie and Justin, and spent time discussing what a wonderful time we've had with a couple of the amazing friends we have made.

Goodbye to the Netherlands.

On Saturday, Jason and I packed our things into the car for his parents to take back for us, before travelling to Schipol. I managed to lose my passport, but we were able to get on the flight so we could sort it out at an embassy after the weekend. It was a sad moment, lifting off from the country we had called home for the past 6 months. We arrived in Berlin and reported my passport lost to the police, before spending the night in a hostel in Berlin.


Spent the day in Berlin Sunday! We went to see the wall, which was really interesting to learn about, and spent time in the city before getting a train to Dresden, Germany for our hostel for the night.


Dresden today! I really like Dresden, possibly my favourite city we have visited in Germany (up there with Wuppertal) because of the vibrancy of all the street art on the outskirts. I enjoyed exploring, and going up into a cathedral with a spiral up to the top through the dome.


Prague! We started our day by visiting the embassy, and I paid a lot of money for an emergency travel document. We went to the square and visited an art gallery there, before climbing a very steep hill and collapsing at the top. The views were great from above too.

We then got a night train to Warsaw, Poland, which was such a funny experience. This tiny little room with bunk-beds, I didn't sleep much, but it was worth it simply for the laugh we had about it!


Warsaw! Such a lovely city, especially the old town! Jason and i Explored on foot, the buildings were really different, and it was up there with one of my favourite places!

Come the evening, Jason chose this wonderful vegan restaurant with amazing food. We ate, before walking around and seeing the city at night!


Thursday I took Jason to Dunkin' Donuts as he hadn't been before, and we then got to the airport. We flew from Warsaw to Gdansk for less than it cost to get the train! We arrived later than expected in Gdansk, and by the time we had got food, it was pretty late. We explored in the dark, I wish we had had longer in the city though, because it seemed to be a very pretty place.


We woke up incredibly early, and got to the airport in Gdansk. Two very sad students ready to leave Europe and return back to England after an incredible time away. We landed and were both a little in shock. It was strange to be back on English soil, and for everything to be in English! It's hard to explain, but you kind of adjust to living in a country where you can't just read a sign or a food packet, so going into the airport, and seeing all of our British brands in shops, and everything being in English was an odd experience. We got the train to Kings Lynn where our parents met us. The whole journey home consisted of Jason and I discussing how weird things were back in England, which is something we never would have imagined six months ago.

So Here is the End...

Erasmus has been such an incredible experience, I wouldn't change any of it for the world.

You can find more travel photos on my photography blog here, although I am slow to update this as uni work takes a lot of my time, and I have over 10,000 photos to sort through!

I learnt so much, from the Academie voor Popcultuur, moving to another country, and travelling. I really feel like I made the most of my time here; I met some amazing people, and experienced things most people my age haven't. On top of the exchange, Jason and I arranged all of the travelling just the two of us. We made it happen. Life isn't handed to you on a plate, you have to be the catalyst, you have to go out and make what you want to happen, happen.

I took this opportunity on knowing it would be a challenge. I knew there would be difficulties and moments where I wondered if I had done the right thing. It was hard adjusting to such a different system with uni, and it was difficult to keep up with what I was missing at university back home, but it was all so worth it. I feel as though I have grown as a person. I have learnt life skills I wouldn't have got from another semester back in England. I also created work I am proud of, and something I wouldn't have had the freedom to create back home.

I have been out of England 6 months. In that time I have met wonderful people from around the world, met some of the most creative people at the AvP and learnt what it is to surround yourself with talent and imagination. I have learnt to take on challenges as they are thrown at me, and to not stress too much about things I have no control over. I have traveled more than many people ever will. 11 countries, 44 cities and towns. I saw things I only dreamed of, and made my dreams to travel a reality with fantastic company by my side. I developed as a person, as a creative, a photographer, and a professional. I got to experience life.

Created By
Brogan Lawes

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.