Study Abroad Experiences: Mapalo Kunda

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Published: 11 March 2024

From Zambia to the Netherlands: A Thrilling Journey of Cultural Riches, Academic Triumphs, and High-Speed Adventures at Fontys University!


Imagine this: me, a student hailing from Africa, more precisely Zambia, nervously boarding a plane for the very first time, bidding farewell to the familiar sights and sounds of home. The destination? Fontys University in the Netherlands! It felt like plunging headfirst into a whirlwind of new experiences and diverse cultures.

Right from day one, Fontys embraced me within its vibrant community, a melting pot of students from every corner of the globe. I found myself surrounded by a medley of nationalities – Mexico, Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, Ghana, Zimbabwe, France, Germany, Korea, Italy, and more. Each interaction became a delightful exchange of ideas, customs, and, yes, even culinary delights, as I relish trying different types of food. Together, we forged bonds that transcended borders, sharing laughter, struggles, and the occasional homesick remedy.

Inside the classroom, I unearthed newfound confidence in the “Leadership and Coaching” class, seizing the opportunity to showcase my flair for public speaking. Little did I know, this would lead to an invitation to speak at College Den Hestle, where I shared insights with eager students and received a heartfelt token of appreciation. Amidst my studies, I achieved a personal milestone – completing and publishing my ninth book, “The Learning Game Plan: 6 Foolproof Study Techniques for Top Grades.”

But the adventure didn’t conclude there. Fontys served as a hub for cultural exchange, hosting events like the International Culture Fair and Language Speed Dating. Proudly representing Zambia, I showcased our rich heritage, sparking curiosity and dispelling misconceptions about Africa. The response was overwhelming, with many expressing a newfound desire to explore the wonders of my homeland.

And then came the travels – oh, the glorious travels! Picture me hurtling down the legendary German autobahns, wind in my hair, heart racing with adrenaline. It was a dream come true; I had always envisioned traveling on the autobahn, reaching speeds of over 200km/h. I didn’t expect that dream to materialize so soon. During my numerous visits to Germany, I explored cities like Dusseldorf, Mönchengladbach, and Aachen. In Belgium, I stood in awe of the European Union’s headquarters in Brussels, marveling at the complexities of European politics – like stepping into a real-life history book.

My final destination was Paris, the fashion capital of the world. I must admit, I felt a bit out of place surrounded by all those stylish people. But hey, it was a lesson in fashion 101, and I left feeling inspired to elevate my wardrobe game.

Reflecting on my time at Fontys fills me with gratitude for the unforgettable experiences and amazing friends I made. Thank you, Fontys University, Northrise University, and the ERASMUS program under the EU for making this epic adventure possible. I eagerly anticipate more such experiences in the future. Indeed, life’s too short to remain in one place.

Written by: Mapalo Kunda


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