Past Review

By (BA Theatre Studies, Performance, Emerson College) for

Emerson College: Kasteel Well: The Netherlands

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
See above answer. I honestly cannot praise the program enough.

Personal Information

The term and year this program took place: Spring 2009

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I think all of the classes offered here at the Castle are interesting and beneficial, and taught by people who aren't necessarily only "scholars" in their fields but real-world positions as well. However, the condensed classes make learning a bit harder, and work a bit less impactful. Teachers still expect you to be able to write significant papers with VERY limited library resources, and any kind of big out-of-class project, paper, etc. (especially with a group) becomes much more difficult. But it IS all entirely manageable.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Dulcea is a goddess; some of the other staff members are not as nice or as understanding. Most will try and be as helpful and as kind as they can be--particularly the grounds staff is good at being awesome people--but know that you might have to fight to get some kindness and understanding from select members of the administration.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

You live in a Castle. There's actually nothing more you could want on the grounds or in the buildings.

* Food:

Dutch food isn't bad, but it will wear you down. It's heavy and very one-colored/one-consistencied, and it's hard to eat healthy.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

It's very easy to meet people here at the Castle, and you will become friends with people you never thought you would. Travel as much as you can, but don't stress out over fitting everything you want to do into one semester: you won't be able to. Some things seem hard to figure out, but the staff here is very helpful and most things aren't as hard as they seem.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Safety is one of their main concerns.

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?

The only language offered here is basic French, and having already known basic French, my language skills haven't improved at all, besides the few languages I can say, "Thank you," in. Hopefully, sometime in the future the Castle will offer a Dutch class, because it would be really great to learn the language of the country we're spending three months in.

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? There really is nothing better for you as a person, as a student, as a professional, as anything, than taking a semester abroad. I became so much more independent, and now have a really good head on my shoulders for handling unforeseen mishaps or complicated situations. I learned so much and saw so much; it's an absolute must experience for anyone who likes to travel.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

World Drama II

Course Department: TH 216-3
Instructor: Emile Schra
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Very good class. Emile's a dramaturg, but the European version--different from the American version. He's very intelligent and as long as the students are responsive to him, he's very warm and accommodating.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

The World Since 1914

Course Department: HI 208-3
Instructor: Ralph Trost
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Ralph is a fantastic teacher. The course is really interesting, and Ralph bases his instruction on the phrase, "People make history, not events." Lots of student participation, great lectures, AWESOME excursions and class-crafted field trips on the Castle-wide weekends.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Topic: Ethics or Value Theory: Literature

Course Department: PH 203A-3
Instructor: Chris Bremmers
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Ethics is already a difficult subject, very vague and mostly based on an understanding of language. Consequentially, the language barrier makes ethics much more difficult. Chris is very smart and very knowledgeable, but it's difficult to tell how one's doing in the class or if one has a genuine understanding of the topic.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Acting 4: Ensemble

Course Department: TH 222-3
Instructor: Sophie Bonhote
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Sophie is a very unique acting teacher, and it's great to get a European actor's perspective on the trade. Some students find her a little harsh and critical, but I think she's simply used to the European style of instruction, where students are there to learn and learn from their own mistakes--not from some teacher coddling them. Unfortunately, the class has very little time to meet, and one must know that putting together the final ensemble show will be incredibly difficult.
Credit Transfer Issues: