Past Review

By (Writing, Literature, And Publishing, Emerson College) for

Emerson College: Kasteel Well: The Netherlands

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I think I've said enough times how amazing it was and how much I gained from this experience, so I'll just say YES, it was worthwhile and beyond anything I could've expected, imagined or hoped for.

Personal Information

The term and year this program took place: Fall 2008

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I learned an unmeasurable amount from the few months I was abroad, but more from the experiences, explorations, adventures, conversations and independence than from the courses themselves. The material just didn't interest me enough to distract me from the education waiting outside the classroom - I would've preferred it to be more related to travelling and/or to have had less classwork and more time to travel.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The people in charge of organizing the program clearly love their jobs and put a lot of time and effort into making things as amazing as possible for the students. Sometimes they didn't communicate with us as much as they could have - at times I felt as though I was just plopped in a foreign country and left to fend for myself without a clue - but in a way this was a strength of the administration because it forced us to be independent and figure things out on our own.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Staying in a castle was SO AMAZING! It was the most unique, priveleged experience I could imagine - everyone I've ever told has been jealous beyond belief. I loved being in a quaint, small town in the Netherlands because it gave me a quiet place to come back to and feel at home in after travelling in crowds of strangers and crazy cities.

* Food:

A lot of people complained about the lack of choices, but I loved the food most of the time and felt as though I was getting a personal homecooked meal everytime I went to the dining room. I also liked the fact there were such short times available to eat because it created a community feel for meals and got everyone together. I especially loved Nelly's (the main cook's) crepes and french toast and will forever miss them!!!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

If I could I'd rate this a 10 out of 5. I've never in my life met so many great people. I used to be much more awkward in social settings but the people in the castle program made me feel welcome and at home, and I established close bonds with people in a matter of weeks that I haven't even been able to do in my entire life. Spending Croatia with the entire group of students was my favorite part of the trip. Most of the time it didn't matter where we were, whether it was Prague or Brugges or London, as long as we were together we had a great time.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I felt safe overall because the town was so small. The only problem was that the small town meant there wasn't really a closeby doctor readily available at all times, so in a medical emergency (which fortunately never happened), there may have been an issue. Also, sickness was spread around like the plague because of peoples' exposure to new germs, lack of sleep and close proximity, so I'd recommend taking your vitamins and staying as healthy as possible.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No


* 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)


Language acquisition improvement?

I learned a lot of key phrases in all different languages, but did not improve particularly in one language because the experience involved travelling to so many different countries. The goal of the trip wasn't to learn language so it wasn't an issue for me.

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I would recommend this program to anyone and everyone. It's a life-changing, eye-opening, fun opportunity which will stay with you forever. Don't hesitate - just do it and you won't regret it.