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 gained a greater sense of independence. I learned who my real friends are. Being around different cultures and people from around the world broadened my understanding of humanity and politics, not to mention made me more self-critical, and more self-aware of my actions. It will also be hard for me to stay in one area too long now, I want to see more of the world.

Personal Information

The term and year this program took place: Spring 2009

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The classes were a lot more difficult than they are on our home campus in Boston. I know that European professors are supposed to be more challenging, but some of the difficulties came from miscommunication and the sheer absurdity of the way the classes were run. I know other people that had better experiences than me. Even so, I will give it a 4/5 because I did learn some things, and I do not blame the professors for grading harshly. I blame myself for not living up to those standards.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The admin here is great. They really want you to grow and experience a lot. The rules are all in place for a good reason. The program size is perfect. There are always administrators to talk to, they know this area of The Netherlands well. Smart people.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The castle is a beautiful location to have a program. It's just a shame that it's kind of in the middle of nowhere. But the facilities are great. I love my dorm room. There are a few pubs in town that students hang out at.

* Food:

If you hate potatoes, meat, or bread, there is nothing to eat here. It's hard for people do be vegetarian here, and I think all of the original vegans have gone vegetarian until they get back to the US. There is plenty of food to eat here, you just can't be picky.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Being in the castle with 80 other students is great. Being open-minded and friendly, you will make a lot of new great friends here. There are events going on every week, something for everyone to participate in: talent shows, comedy skits, sports night, capture the flag, dance performances. The students love to put on activities and shows. Going on travel excursions really brings the group together. We went to Amsterdam and Prague and they both were pretty great.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

We have a local doctor we can visit, and there's a hospital a few towns over. I didn't have any experiences with the healthcare though. But the school helps students make appointments.

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 didn't learn any of the Dutch language. I did get to use some of my French while I was in Paris, but I did not get better at any of my foreign language skills.

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Europe is expensive. Plan ahead to have around $3000-$4000 available for extra travel expenses, not including a Eurail pass if you decide to buy one. Travel with different students each weekend, you'll make more friends. By the end of the semester, a lot of people are sick of being around the same 80 students...that's a given. Try to do well in your classes because they still count towards your GPA and your survival back in Boston. But don't let academics get in the way of having fun. Also, be wary of the legal drugs in the Netherlands. There are a lot of fine print laws attached to the legalization, and also, the drugs are stronger than they are in the US, apparently.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Travel Writing

Course Department: WR316-3
Instructor: Denya Cascio
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This course was not what I expected. A lot of the assignments were too narrowly focused, and I felt constricted by the requirements. The set up of the critiques was not useful. I don't feel I improved my writing at all. The travel part of the writing was very downplayed. The class had more to do with writing technique.
Credit Transfer Issues: