The Netherlands- student reflections

Spoken Word Poetry Workshop by Fairen

Monday morning we had a creative writing workshop led by the spoken word artist Naomi. We started out by telling her about ourselves by writing little blurbs as if we were a radio announcer announcing ourselves to the show. It was tricky writing in third person, and it felt unusual for me personally to write about myself as if I were an important guest. We were all a bit shy about reading ours, but as we went around we were laughing and smiling, and began to see how fun this could be. She then had us find a partner, someone who we hadn’t talked to as much. Many of us had some difficulty with this, as we have all grown so close over these three weeks. Once we had partnered up, we interviewed each other. We could ask each other anything; my partner and I ended up talking about pickles (and how much she hates them).

After reconvening, Naomi told us our task; we had twenty minutes to write about this person using the interview and just our general feelings about them. We could write a short story, a poem, or a spoken word piece about about them. After struggling, reciting, crossing out, re-writing, and writing for a while we all came back together to share what we’d written. Hearing what other people had written about and for each other, and hearing what someone had written for me, was really beautiful and powerful. There were tears, and smiles, and laughter. It was bittersweet hearing how important we had all become to each other, knowing that in just a couple days we have to say good bye to each other and this beautiful country. But if this workshop shows anything it shows how much we have all grown; as individuals and as a group. I can’t imagine feeling comfortable being so vulnerable around any other group of people.

Reflections on the Experiment Netherlands by Emma

Looking back on the trip, it’s insane to think we all met only a few weeks ago. Together, we have experienced so much. From dealing with the freezing cold wind on the beach in Vlissingen to the Anne Frank house, we have gotten through all these highs and lows as a team. Though our team decision-making skills sometimes leave something to be desired, the bonds we now share empower us to be strong and work for what we believe in. In the wise words of Ny’Asia, “everybody’s a revolutionary in their own right.” As we take the next steps and return to our regularly scheduled programs, it helps to remember that this trip, these people, it’s made a home for us, one that is waiting in the wings with arms wide open if we ever have a need for it.

Reflections on Trans* Issues by Santana

As a trans* person of color, it felt really great to have workshops about trans folx this week. We were introduced to the Genderbread Kit by Chris Rijksen of the Transketeers, which helped us to map our gender and sexuality as a “recipe” for our personality. We were also introduced to Trans* issues in the Netherlands and accessibility to trans* inclusive health services.