A Semester in a European Castle Past Review

By (Theater Studies non-performance, Emerson College) for

Emerson College: Kasteel Well: The Netherlands

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
So worthwhile. I absolutely loved it although there were hard parts. I feel like I changed as a person because I tried to stay open to everything. We were so lucky to travel as much as we did. I went to 10 countries in 90 days and multiple cities in some of those countries. Every person gains something different from this experience and grows in a different way so it was fun to see how people were at the beginning vs the end of the trip. I had a lot of fun.

Personal Information

The term and year this program took place: Fall 2009

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I think the level of academics fits perfectly into the schedule of the program, meaning it takes into consideration all the weekends the students travel. But if there was not travel the classes would be really easy. It was perfect for me because I went to learn outside the classroom and it was cool because I could learn about an old, european art piece, then go to that country and see it. But I did not go on this program to take classes, I went to travel.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The academic head was not the greatest administrator and I hear he didn't treat Student Affairs that well. The Office of Student Affairs was great though -- really nice people. The Head of the Program was also one of my teachers, and she was really nice. She was very willing to pour her entire self into anything she did. I had no real problems with the Administration there.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I mean, we lived in a Castle...can it get much better??

* Food:

The food got gross and boring by the end, but it's hard to cook new and interesting delicisous food for that many people over 90 days. Over the weekends they don't make meals so you're on your own if you're not traveling. There is a supermarket in town so its not that big a deal, but it got annoying for people.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I traveled every weekend which was the most amazing part of the trip. It was the reason I went and turned out to be the most educational part of the program. There is really only so much you can learn in a classroom. Traveling teaches you how to be independent, to how get around on your own and deal with problems that arise, it teaches you how to budget and spend money in other currencies, etc. There are so many things I learned. It was truly one of, if not the most, valuable experiences in my life.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

There was the H1N1 flew scare that they addressed, which was fine. There was also a doctor in town, but no hospital or school nurse or anything. Its better not to have health issues there at all. As far as safety, at the Castle its so safe. The town of Well is small and secure, and the castle has a lot of security to make sure outside people don't come in. When traveling, its really up to you how safe you are.

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)


Language acquisition improvement?

It was not a language program...I only spoke English.

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Do it! If you feel you can/want to be an independent person, if you have the money saved, and if you have an open mind there is no reason not to do this program. Just be careful when you travel, and plan your trips. Although I think its really important to not hold on to your plans to closely -- be able to be spontaneous and grab at opportunities. If you have an option to do something or now, I would suggest do it if you have the slightest inclination to. Don't hold back.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

History of European Art: Renaissance and Baroque

Course Department:
Instructor: Rob Dukers, Dulcia Meijers
Instruction Language: English
Comments: LOVED IT! Rob and Dulcia knew what they were talking about and loved to share that with the class. We could learn about the Sistine Chapel one week, then go see it that weekend. It was amazing.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

History of European Music

Course Department:
Instructor: Geoffrey King
Instruction Language: English
Comments: I really enjoyed this class. The professor was a composer himself so he had an understanding and respect for music and the pieces we studied that transfered to us. I feel like I got a good overview of music and how it changed over the years. I was cool learning about it in the historical context of Europe.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

World Drama I

Course Department:
Instructor: Emile Schra
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Emile was great! I loved the professor and the way he taught the class. He was always really interested in the student's opinions and he encouraged feedback on every class to see how he was doing and what we would rather be learning about.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Topics in European Literature

Course Department:
Instructor: Richard Chetwynd
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Richard was the one American professor I had and he was obsessed with the country. Our 'topic' was dystopian European novels and he somehow managed every class to wrap that into American conspiracy theories and comments on how our new President is becoming the old one and barring the way for any Black man to be elected again in the next 10 years. Most of what he said seemed irrelevant to the course. He was very smart and loved to show off his intelligence, even though most people in the class had no idea what he was talking about most of the time. But that's just my opinion because some of my classmates absolutely loved him.
Credit Transfer Issues: