Living Well Past Review

By (Writing, Literature, And Publishing, Emerson College) - abroad from 01/17/2013 to 04/17/2013 with

Emerson College: Kasteel Well: The Netherlands

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned a lot about myself. You have to deal with a lot of drama and difficulties when traveling like this, but I learned that I can deal with all of that. I realized that I am capable of doing a lot more than I thought I was (traveling, exploring, staying safe, etc.). I feel a lot more grown up and mature. I am so proud of the changes I have made. You won't regret this experience. I was horribly homesick at first and wanted to go home, but I stuck it out and it was incredible. Even if you are second guessing it, just do it. And if it's horrible, it's a short time and it will go faster than you think. Just enjoy it, don't get sucked into the drama and the nonsense.

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.

Courses were difficult depending on the instructor, but overall very interesting. I enjoyed learning from a Dutch perspective. The courses were rigorous and required a TON of reading, but I loved them.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administration at the castle was wonderful. They take a real interest in learning who everyone is and making us the most comfortable we could possibly be. They were administrators and not friends, but still there if we needed anything and were so open and welcoming to us.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Tight quarters! Make sure you pick roommates that you can actually live with -- you don't want drama to be the one thing you remember from living abroad.

* Food:

The food got old, but wasn't bad. Just be prepared to eat a lot of potatoes. A lot of potatoes. But it was awesome how much they prepared and served us each day; I don't think a lot of us appreciated it, which we should have.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

It was amazing to be in the town of Well! You are living in an actual Dutch town with actual Dutch people -- not separated at all from the Netherlands. I loved going to the local shops, petting the goats and just living in a Dutch town.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had no issues, but I'm sure healthcare was easily accessible, as I know it was for others.

* Safety:

I always felt safe in Well. We had heard things about the Dutch in the town (there had been some rapes and other issues at the castle), so we all had our wits about us. But other than that, I felt completely safe. You just have to be aware of your surroundings and the way you are behaving, and you will be just fine.

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)

It was very easy to spend too much money. The Euros conversion is harder to remember than you would think. You get to thinking just about the Euro prices, and forget the huge difference between Euros and Dollars. It's hard to be traveling constantly and relying totally on your own money. We all did the best we could, but it's very easy to get caught up and not realize how much you are actually spending. I recommend keeping track, but that was very stressful too.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Depended greatly on where I was traveling to -- probably 50-100 euros on food and metros each weekend
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Keep track, but don't stress. Have an amount of money that you know you can spend each weekend, and stick to that. Don't try to remember every single thing you spent money on, it will only make you sick. Just stick to a budget, but don't stress where each single euro went.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 10+

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Traveling
  • Exploring Well
  • Living at the castle
* What could be improved?
  • Better food
  • More information from OSA about travel and phones
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That it will change my life! Don't be nervous, don't over think it. Just let it happen and enjoy it as much as you can. There will be bad times, but overall, your experience will be incredible and truly life changing.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!