"Broke, Late, Confused, Cold and Wait Someone JUMPED In Front of My Train?" Best Semester Ever Past Review

By (Marketing Communication, Emerson College) for

Emerson College: Kasteel Well: The Netherlands

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It changed my perspective on everything. At best, I am a cultured, refined student with broadened horizons and a deeper understanding of the world. At the very least, I have some really cool stories to bust out at parties. This time abroad has instilled within me a passion for traveling that I know I will take with me for life.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The workload was not necessarily large, however, with the elimination of weekends to complete tasks, it felt much greater than it was. I had 2 classes taught by Dutch teachers, one with a French instructor, and one German. Each of my teachers held coffee breaks halfway through the 1 hour 45 min class, which was a nice and welcome change from American classes. It is apparent that grades do not have as great of an impact on scholarships, loans, etc. in Europe as they do in America; B's and C's are incredibly commonplace and A's must be worked for, an adjustment that I myself took some time to get used to.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

While OSA was available to answer any questions students had, a lot of the times the onslaught of information and trip-planning anxiety was overwhelming and left students unsure of what questions to even ask. However, this then left us to try to make sense of everything on our own, with OSA there if we needed them. I feel that this is the best way to tackle a program like Kasteel Well. When you are presented with this level of freedom and opportunity, you cannot have your hand held. The program is very sink or swim, the way I feel it should be.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in a castle and it was magical.

* Food:

Entirely redundant and unsatisfactory, especially toward the end. With the amount of money students are paying for the program, breakfast should consist of more than crusty bread and a few cold cuts.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I got to visit nearly every country in Western Europe. No other program offers that kind of opportunity, and I am incredibly satisfied with my experience. The special trips organized by the faculty (Amsterdam and Berlin) were highly informative, if a bit cramped. I don't know that I would suggest using Berlin as a required excursion again. It's such a huge city, and scrambling to tour all of the important parts in 3 days was exhausting. I would suggest maybe Prague for future semesters.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

The village of Well is pretty much as safe as it gets. I once had to go to a doctor in Nieuw Bergen due to a cold, and it was made incredibly easy for me. The doctor was very helpful.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
Language acquisition improvement?

The program was entirely in English, in a Dutch speaking country (though most of the inhabitants spoke English.) I chose to take a French class while attending and I would highly recommend it. The class was very thorough and comprehensive, especially given the limited time frame.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
  • Other
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Traveling on weekends.
* What could be improved?
  • The food.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Adventurous students would benefit most from this. People who have the desire to see what the world has to offer and will take this opportunity to go out in search of it. There will never be another time in your life like Kasteel Well. You can literally point to anywhere on the map and then be there that weekend, only to return home to your CASTLE when all is said and done. It sounds corny, but this program will legitimately change your life in ways you never imagined. “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” -Mark Twain