Kasteel Well: The Happiest Place On Earth Past Review

By (Film Production, Emerson College) - abroad from 01/16/2014 to 04/16/2014 with

Emerson College: Kasteel Well: The Netherlands

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
People will tell you that Disney is the happiest place on earth. The people telling you this have never spent three wonderful months at Kasteel Well. My time in Well changed me for the best. I left for Europe not knowing a soul, but I returned to the States with some of the most amazing friends I have ever known. When you're in a foreign country and traveling every weekend, you are forced to make fast friends, trust your gut instinct, and step outside of your comfort zone. This is constant. This fosters a newfound sense of confidence. Despite tired eyes from countless flights, conversations in broken languages, and balancing traveling with studying, time spent at Kasteel Well is a happy time. Even when times are tough, you're surrounded by friends who become family. It seems like those three months just fly by. I can't imagine describing my 90 days in Well as anything less than happy and transformative.

Review Photos

Emerson College: Kasteel Well: The Netherlands Photo Emerson College: Kasteel Well: The Netherlands Photo Emerson College: Kasteel Well: The Netherlands Photo Emerson College: Kasteel Well: The Netherlands Photo Emerson College: Kasteel Well: The Netherlands Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The courses were challenging, yet informative. I found that certain classes were more interesting than others, just as I found some instructors to be more helpful than others. Many classes found a way to incorporate students' travels with academics in a way that made the material more interesting.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I have nothing but nice things to say about OSA and the administrative staff at Kasteel Well. I have never met a group of people so caring and committed to their students in all of my years of academia.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was living in a castle overlooking a moat... there's really nothing I could complain about.

* Food:

I didn't have a sweet tooth until I went to the Netherlands! Overall, the food seems to be more heavy and filling than the food I was accustomed to in the States. Most meals were very delicious and included several popular Dutch foods. There were a few times that I skipped meals because it was something I didn't enjoy, but that was rare. Meals are served three times a day at designated times. This is different from the Boston campus, but something all students grow accustomed to soon enough.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Most people in Well speak English. However, we had to get groceries at a Dutch grocery store/bakery, learn to use the public transportation, say "thank you" in Dutch, and eat local foods. I think it was a great experience.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I'm giving this 5 stars, although I didn't need to utilize the local health care. I just know that there were several people who had to see a local doctor and the staff was willing to drive them there. Most people were content with local healthcare and a few had complaints. There is no nurse on campus, but the local doctor isn't too far away. I didn't need any specific vaccines before leaving.

* Safety:

Well is a safe little town with friendly people. I never felt unsafe, even walking around at night. However, fair warning: don't get in the way of bicyclists in the Netherlands! They will run you over if you don't move.

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)

I came back from Europe a new person and with an empty wallet. Expect to spend a lot of money depending on where you're traveling each weekend. Also, sometimes things come up (emergency expenses, lack of employment, etc.) Just be sure to budget before you leave and always have extra money in case of an emergency. Utilize an app for currency conversion. It's super helpful!

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? 1. Always have extra money put aside in case of an emergency. 2. Use an app for currency conversion. It will definitely help you. 3. Some weekend trips are more expensive than others. Be sure to look into that before traveling. (I spent very little money in Prague, but entirely too much in London.) 4. Budget airlines, overnight busses, hostels -- they are your friends!


* 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? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Amazing new friends
  • Calling Kasteel Well home
  • The chance to travel so much in such a short period of time
* What could be improved?
  • n/a
  • n/a
  • n/a
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had utilized a currency calculator earlier in the trip. Aside from that, I wouldn't change a thing. I'm glad I learned by trial and error. I learned a lot by figuring things out as I went along.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

The World Since 1914

Course Department: History
Instructor: Ralph Trost
Instruction Language: English
Comments: I took The World Since 1914 not knowing how I'd feel about the course. Three months later and I can say with confidence it was my favorite class while abroad. Learning WWI and WWII history from a German professor offers a really great global perspective. Ralph is intelligent, funny, and caring. I cannot recommend taking one of his history courses enough. His exams were extremely fair, he offered advice after midterms to each student individually to help them, and he was always willing to answer questions.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

French I

Course Department: Language
Instructor: Michaele Gauduchon
Instruction Language: English & French
Comments: Michaele is so sweet and always willing to give extra help to students struggling. I often mixed French words with Italian words, so she did her best to help me through several lessons. She's an amazingly fair grader, very sweet, and I recommend taking her course if you're interested in learning French.
Credit Transfer Issues: