Study Abroad Experiences: Miselo Kababa

Home / Blog / Study Abroad Experiences: Miselo Kaba

Published: 21 March 2024

Unveiling the World: A Personal Odyssey of Adventure, Friendship, and Discovery Abroad

My exchange semester in the Netherlands has been the most profound chapter in my life. Not only was it an addition to my academic record, but it also marked significant growth in me and a newfound appreciation for diversity and exploration.

The opportunity to meet various people from diverse cultures was the cornerstone of my exchange program. Having culturally diverse classes made the learning process a lot more exciting. From speaking more in my classes to sharing my own life experiences with my classmates, every session was another opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and engage with perspectives different from my own. The Dutch society, known for its inclusivity, encouraged me to embrace diversity and broaden my understanding of the world. It was mostly interesting to see how lecturers engaged with students almost like peers. It was hard at first to adjust from our Zambian cultural norm of approaching lecturers in a formal manner, but with time and practice, it almost felt natural to have casual and random conversations with lecturers, which in turn showed me another viewpoint that I had not had access to beforehand.

The Netherlands, but more specifically Venlo, being in close proximity to Germany was an added advantage because it was easy to travel between the two countries, so much so that it didn’t even feel like you’ve left one country and entered the other until you see the language change on the road signs. I had travelled to Germany five times, to different cities each time, in the span of two months. While some were spontaneous trips with friends and others were planned weeks before, I fell in love with the architecture and historical sites. With the Cologne Cathedral as the highlight of my adventures around Germany, having seen a building that stood for about seven centuries standing in its beauty.

(European Parliament Brussels, Belgium with all Erasmus+ students. Fall ’23)

But Germany wasn’t the only country I had the chance to visit during my semester. I had the opportunity to visit Belgium twice, first for our trip to the capital of the European Union, Brussels, where we had the chance to enter the European Parliament and have a tour of its operations at large. My second trip was rather spontaneous, as I had escorted a friend to the Zimbabwean embassy in Brussels as well. But because of the very cold weather on the day we travelled, we had to cut our trip short because we could barely walk in the snow, but we tried to make the most of the short trip.

And my personal favorite trip was Christmas in Paris. It had always been a dream to travel to Paris, but I had not expected it to come so soon and, as the theme of my journey, spontaneously as the opportunity literally fell into our laps as a friend who had planned the trip couldn’t make it and had asked if we were interested. So not only did we not have to deal with the whole planning and booking process, but the tickets to and from Paris were very affordable as she had bought them on discount.

While I had the best experience throughout my exchange semester, the biggest blessing has been the friends I made along the way. To have found an “international family” in a short period of time is the biggest blessing that I know not to take advantage of. From my amazing classmates to the close circle of friends that I had around me who made the small things like a midnight walk along the pier, to hanging out in our apartment kitchen cooking different kinds of meals, blasting music and laughing, were the happiest moments. It wasn’t easy to leave home and the people I love to go to a new and unknown place, but they made the transition softer, and in time I found home in them.

Not forgetting Free Gospel Church for being an anchor for me in a continent where Christ isn’t served as loudly as here in Zambia, which was a culture shock I was not prepared for. They brought a sense of warmth that only fellowship with other believers would.

As I reflect on this transformative journey, I am filled with gratitude for the life-changing opportunity that studying abroad has provided. The challenges, though not spoken about but many, and triumphs, the friendships formed, and the moments of self-discovery have shaped me into a more open-minded and intentional individual. And now I can gladly say I will live my life through a different lens, a better lens. The memories captured through pictures serve as a visual diary of my growth, reminding me of the incredible journey that has unfolded.

Lastly, as I had not embarked on this journey alone, Mapalo Kunda and Luyanda Zulu, who were at first just the two other students who made it with me, slowly became brothers to me as the weeks went by. It became more and more clear to me that they weren’t just random names that were picked alongside mine, and I can confidently say that it was not by accident that all three of us were put together for this semester. Through them, I learned, and will continue to learn, a lot about life. As different as they are, they have grown to inspire me in their own ways, and I’m grateful to have experienced the last six months with them as my counselors, confidants, and bodyguards, as I would joke with them.

To conclude, my study abroad experience in the Netherlands has been a tapestry of personal development, cultural exploration, the joy of travel, and the creation of lifelong bonds. I am immensely thankful for the invaluable lessons learned that would not have been possible without Northrise University and the Erasmus Program. This chapter in my life will forever be etched in my heart as a period of profound growth and gratitude.

Written By: Miselo Kababa


Your Northrise story begins with your application, and we can help with the rest.