What is life like as a Hope College Student in Holland, Michigan?

As an international student, it was a struggle to adjust being far away from my home country of the 7,614 islands of the Philippines; it was a struggle for me to figure how to adjust within a different country, let alone a small city. I grew up in the capital of the Philippines called “Manila,” in which the region has a population of approximately more than 20 million. Moving to a small town of Holland, Michigan, in Spring 2021, I knew there were so many adjustments I would have to make. Yet, I embraced and enjoyed the exquisite beauty of Holland, Michigan, in my own little world.

Living in Holland was challenging at first due to some grocery stores and other restaurants being more than a mile away. Though the distance is easily driven by a car, that was not an option for me. Given this, I became resourceful and tried to explore as much as I could around the area and it was a decision I never regretted.

Exploring Downtown Holland

Less than a mile away from campus, there is the downtown area where there are so many shopping centers and restaurants nearby. My personal favorite is Reader’s World; I go here with some of my friends to browse the latest books, magazines and other local publications. From scrumptious desserts to exotic cuisines, there are numerous restaurants within the area. Personally, I have eaten so many times at Peachwave (a frozen yogurt place) and Mizu Sushi (A Japanese restaurant), and have made the most amazing memories within these places.

Three Hope students enjoy a meal at Mizu Sushi.
My best friends Laura Zak ’24 and Nhi Hoang ’24 for a casual dinner night out at Japanese restaurant Mizu Sushi.

Beyond Downtown

Nearby, you can go to as many parks as imaginable, where you can simply unwind and relax outside of campus. I love Kollen Park, located about a half-mile from the Holland Civic Center. Here you can enjoy the beautiful lake with the most stunning sunsets I have ever seen. I also love different Asian cuisines, and when I am craving some, I recommend going to Boba House and the Asian market. I must admit that I have wasted so much money at these places as they have everything from the best boba flavors to every Asian ingredient imaginable. There are also nearby local Latino cuisines within the area and grocery stores, such as “Mi Favorita” and “Jhomary’s Paradise” and they offer a variety of flavors that will satisfy your taste buds. I would highly recommend these small businesses!

The Great Outdoors

If you are also looking to explore more of the outdoors, I highly recommend going to the Holland State Park which is approximately 12 minutes away from campus. I have been here so much during my past two years at hope and have made the most amazing memories here. I even biked here once from Hope College with a friend during the summer of my freshman year. From hanging out with friends to indulging in some very cold ice cream, this park has been a landmark for most Michiganders.

Student standing in front of Lake Michigan.
Lake Michigan at Holland State Park in the blissful July summer weather.

A Variety of Experiences

There are so many more places I could describe to you within the Holland area. Though I have only settled within this part of the state for almost two and half years now, I can definitely say that Holland has so much to offer to Hope College students and the overall community.

Fall colored tree at Crane's Apple Orchard.
Beautiful fall tree at Crane’s Apple Picking Farm.

Published by Jairus Meer

Class of 2024 Hometown | Las Piñas, Philippines Major | Biological Sciences Minor | Peace and Justice Studies

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