“When I made the decision to come to the United States to attend Hun, I was expecting that within the first 100 days I would be able to go back home and visit my family,” said Tijmen Suijker ’21, a post graduate student from the Netherlands. “But because of COVID-19, those plans weren’t feasible and I was unable to return home. Now I’m on track to spend a full 365 days in the states. Despite the stress and the risks associated with this year, it’s been one of the best years for me.”
After traveling over 3,684 miles from the Netherlands to Princeton, New Jersey, Tijmen quickly found himself a home in the Resident Life community. Tijmen notes that having the boarding community as his support system while he adjusted to being away from home during the pandemic made his adjustment into the states as smooth as could be.
“Dealing with being away from home in the middle of a pandemic was stressful at times, but thankfully I found a great sense of belonging and community amongst the other boarders and resident faculty members,” he said. “It just made this whole experience much easier for me. Despite not being able to leave campus often, we were still able to do so much and experience so much together.”
And while Tijmen’s time in the United States didn’t include nearly enough traveling as he had hoped for, he plans to make up for lost time after the school year ends. He admits that before coming to Hun, he didn’t know much about the United States but after meeting students from all over the country, he is eager to explore more.
“The Hun community is really diverse and now I have friends from all over the United States,” he said. “I’ve learned so much about other states from my friends that now I want to travel there myself and hopefully visit my friends.”
Tijmen is currently living off-campus in a home-stay, but before he heads back home to attend Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands, he has a few United States-themed items to cross off of his bucket list.
“I would love to celebrate the 4th of July in the United States,” he said. “I’ve always heard that’s a really fun day and I would love to celebrate with a big backyard barbeque. Also, I want to see the beaches in Florida and maybe even travel to Colorado, California, or somewhere in the midwest. Since I’m heading back home to study I want to soak up as much time in the states as possible and go on as many adventures as I can.”
Next year, Tijmen will study International Business Administration with future plans to work in finance or follow in his parent’s footsteps and become an entrepreneur. Tijmen notes that he did not take his decision to study back home lightly, and he made his decision with his family and his education as top priorities.
“After being away from my family for so long when I wasn’t planning on doing that I knew it was the best decision for me to go back home,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to being back home and attending a school with a highly ranked International Business program. I know that not only will I be getting a really great education, I’ll also be spending a lot of much needed time with my family.”
As Tijmen’s time in the United States comes to an end, he reflects on this year as a learning experience that taught him valuable lessons about adulthood.
“For a really long time I thought being an adult meant that I had to do everything by myself with no help,” he said. “But my time at Hun really taught me that I can lean on the people around me and they will support me. Being an adult doesn’t mean you have to do everything by yourself and while I was here I was still able to grow and become more of an adult without being alone.”