Hello! My name is Lan Nguyen. I am a fourth-year Environmental Resource Science major with two minors in Horticulture and Geography. I was fortunate enough to have been accepted into Europe: Flowers and Photography Maymester led by Dr. Julie Campbell and Dr. Jessica Holt. Before the program started though, I had to plan a few items months beforehand. I created a spreadsheet to help me track what scholarships I had applied for, when they were due, and what their requirements were. This task immensely helped my friends and I fund my study abroad. Please, do not hesitate to apply for scholarships! The opportunities are out there to help people like you and me. Another step I had to take was booking the flight six months beforehand to get the best price.

We visited three countries, but that fact understates how many beautiful cities we were able to see. Amsterdam, Delft, and Leiden were just a few of the cities we were able to stop in for the Netherlands. We were able to visit a botanical garden in each of these cities! This was a major highlight for me. Each hortus botanicus (botanical garden in Dutch) was so similar, and yet so different based on how they were operated. Amsterdam’s is independently owned, Delft’s operates under a technical university, and Leiden is one of Europe’s oldest botanical gardens that is run by the city’s university. They are all botanical gardens, but I was fascinated by how their histories, layouts, and operations differed. As I’m reflecting on this program, I think I have a new goal to visit as many botanical gardens as I can! This program has allowed me to create new connections in cities and countries I would never have been able to initiate on my own, apply horticultural lectures in different parts of the world, and gain a new perspective on the importance of ornamentals and floriculture in a different country compared to home.