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(Emma Hamilton (29, Chairman for Young@EUR & IBCoM Programme & Exchange Coördinator)

“My mum is Dutch, my dad’s from Sweden and I was born in Hong Kong. When I was 2, we moved to the Netherlands. I grew up in Putten, a small village where people’s idea of holiday is going to Renesse. Not quite my thing, so coming to Rotterdam to study International Business Administration felt like coming home.

I went on an exchange to Canada during my master’s. There I fell in love with a South African guy. Because of him, I decided to write my thesis in Cape Town. But our love didn’t last long.

Six years ago, I walked through the cafeteria in the T building when I saw my colleague talking to a man. I didn’t know who he was but I immediately recognised the accent. South African! That’s how we started a conversation. What can I say? We’ve been together ever since. Married. We’ve just bought a house. The way he looks at me with such warmth, it still gives me butterflies.

Sometimes I think it’s a shame that I have so many memories of South Africa without him. But then I think: “If I hadn’t been to Cape Town, I wouldn’t have recognised his accent and we might never have been where we are now!”
So being able to encourage students to go on an exchange, to travel, is so rewarding. Travelling enriches you, as a person and your view of the world. And who knows, it might lead you – maybe with a detour! – right into the arms of the love of your life!”

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