Kasteel experience: lackluster, European travel: AMAZING. Past Review

By (Visual & Media Arts: Sound Design and Audio Post-Production, Emerson College) for

Emerson College: Kasteel Well: The Netherlands

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Too much to list. I can probably never afford to go back to Europe and do it all over again so it was truly a trip of a lifetime. Every single day spent away from Well was a challenge and I was able to share it with my best friend (while making new friends that I'll keep forever). My advice: however you do it, go to Europe and travel everywhere and spend all of your money. If the Kasteel is the only way you can do that, then do it. If there's another way then definitely do that instead!

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The workload was manageable even with all of the traveling that we did. Teachers tended to be understanding about what we were dealing with. It was excellent to be able to skip a certain number of classes in order to travel. I was able to extend trips to Paris and Barcelona that otherwise would have been too short. The European teachers were a little tougher and accepted less nonsense than their American counterparts at the kindergarten we call the Boston campus.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administration at the castle was fairly awful. The Office of Student Affairs was just barely above incompetent and while many students thought it was cute, I was annoyed that I was paying these people to make mistakes and waste my time. The Kasteel felt like summer camp and while many students enjoyed that, I resented being treated like children when every weekend I felt myself becoming more and more of an adult, faced with the challenges of navigating a new city. Returning to the castle each week was like regressing back to childhood. The required academic excursions were especially painful as one staff member ordered us not to take photos (or look anywhere but at him) while he was speaking and we never spent adequate enough time in the museums or other places they took us. In general, I would say being at the castle and traveling with the castle staff was awful but being able to travel was amazing. If I could do it over again, I would try to find a different program where you're not under the constant supervision of a team of buffoons.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Since we were living among American students and only interacted with English speakers while at the castle, none of us made the effort to learn Dutch and that's pretty sad. Housing was adequate. Well is a village in the middle of nowhere Netherlands with nothing to do. As a result, we did what anyone in that situation would do and made sure to get high and/or drunk every night. Sometimes we did our homework. There is legitimately nothing to d in this village. Thankfully, we were close enough to Weeze airport as well as a series of Trains and bus stops that could take us to interesting places. If I never see Well again, it will be too soon.

* Food:

It was gross but we ate it. The burritos were the highlight of the dining hall and they were pretty disgusting. The knock-off Nutella was sad.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

There was a Haunted House that was offensively bad and a HUGE waste of time. I know the president of Emerson got good and drunk and loved it though so that's what matters.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Nothing can happen to you in Well.

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)

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans