I have a very clear wish for the future: moving to the USA. Preferably for 5 to 10 years, if I like it indefinitely. I’ve had this wish for a while, but there is a bit of story behind it that I do not want to keep from you.
It probably started when I was in my early teens, when I became obsessed with MTV and the shows they played. I of course had heard of the USA, but didn’t have a clear view of what it meant. That is why I started to read books. I got a job at the local library when I was 15 and I especially when I first started out, I would always be getting books about the USA and plow through them. In a way it even influenced my love for the English language, even though that may have been around for a longer time.
After a while, I knew the Star Spangled Banner better than the Dutch national anthem and already knew about the quirky differences between British and American English. I had also been on vacation to England and Wales a few times with my family. Other families went to Spain, we went to England. This of course helped my English as my parents quickly discovered I was far better at speaking English then they were. So there I was 14 or 15 years old and pretty much arranging everything whenever we encountered English.
That doesn’t have much to do with my love for the land of Uncle Sam. By the time I was 16 it was time to look into universities. The things that eventually made me choose Leiden University was because they had one of the best American Studies departments in the country and has a great number of exchange programs.
It was my wish at that point to simply go to the USA, just once. I wanted to go there on vacation, study abroad, etc. Just as long as I could go to the USA I was a happy bunny. While still in high school, I looked into doing a high school year in the US, but that unfortunately never happened, because my parents simply didn’t have the money.
When I was 18, I went off to university. At the end of my 1st year I signed up for the exchange programs and at the end of 2003, I was told that I was allowed to go on exchanged in the academic year of 2004-2005. Before I went however, I went to New York City, on my very first solo vacation ever. I will spare you the details on how much time and effort I had to put into finally being able to go on exchange, but in January of 2005 I finally left Holland to spend 4.5 months at College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.
Needless to say, I had a blast there, and got to know so much about American culture that I could never have learnt from a book. I loved every minute of it and till this day, all I want is to go back and preferably for longer than a college semester. Unfortunately, I haven’t had the chance to go for very long, but as you all know from this blog, I have spent some more time in the US since then.
My aim is to get a job in the US, which isn’t easy. It is actually one of my main reasons for going back to school. Being a non-native speaker of English, who teaches English isn’t going to get very far in a country full of native speakers. They won’t even hire me in certain teaching jobs because schools prefer native speakers! So here’s to hoping that I find a good job once I’m done. Maybe I can manage to get a PhD position at an American university. Now that, would definitely be a dream come true!