Day 3 in Amsterdam has been a success! It seems each day is becoming a bit easier to get up and explore, as the effects of jet lag finally seem to be lessening. Each day to this point, we have had time on our own to explore the beautiful city of Amsterdam and get a feel for European culture and while we still stick out like a sore thumb, I feel we are gaining a better understanding of how Dutch culture differs from our own. I know that I have learned a great deal in these first few days and with seemingly a “Kodak moment” around every corner, we will all have plenty of captured experiences to share with our friends and family.
This morning, we headed out and took public transportation to the house of Anne Frank. We knew this was something we certainly wanted to see on the trip, and we were able to make it a priority for our third morning here. Unfortunately, many others in the area had the same idea. After (somewhat) patiently waiting in line for almost 3 hours, we finally had our turn to see the famed house. For many of us on this trip, Anne Frank and her experiences came up in history classes we’ve had in the past, so this proved to be a worthwhile experience to build on existing knowledge. For those of us who weren’t as familiar with Anne Frank and her experiences in the time leading up to World War II, this tour was very eye-opening. After getting to learn more in depth about Anne’s family’s situation, hiding from Nazi Germany invaders in their home country of the Netherlands, it certainly made us think about how fortunate we are back in the U.S. and the plentiful opportunities we’ve been blessed with!
During our time waiting in line for our tour this morning, our mother for the trip and AFA Director of Programs, Annie Storey, brought us all a taste of Amsterdam, Oliebollen. Fried donuts are a New Year’s Eve tradition here for the locals of Amsterdam, so each of us were able to satisfy our hunger with this delicious treat! As students studying agriculture, it makes sense that we make an emphasis of trying new food and we have not disappointed in that area so far. It has been very interesting to see how our preparation of food and food products available to the public are similar, yet different and I’m sure this will remain true as the trip continues.
With it being New Year’s Eve here today, we all look forward to experiencing how this culture rings in the New Year and seeing first-hand, the festivities taking place in Amsterdam. With Christmas decorations still out in full force, I am sure the sights will not disappoint this evening. I would like to thank AFA and everyone involved in making this trip possible for us all. With the country’s historic architecture, scenic landscape and rich history in agriculture, I know this trip is a once in a lifetime kind of experience!
Brad Dillner, Missouri State University