Past Review

By (Political Communication, Emerson College) for

Emerson College: Kasteel Well: The Netherlands

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Absolutely. I gained a new appreciation for the way that alien cultures interact with one another when placed in contact and for the different ways that people live. I felt much closer to the people of Europe than I ever had on previous visits and even having lived and studied there previously. Incidentally, I think that the frequency and independence of travel builds wonderful management skills, something to which I had previously considered myself immune.

Personal Information

The term and year this program took place: Fall 2009

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Overall, the quality of instruction was very high. My only wish would be for more up-to-date academic resources, especially in terms of library books and school computer equipment.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The helpfulness of the staff and their sheer dedication to ensuring that our needs were met were quite frankly phenomenal and left virtually nothing to be desired. Their efforts definitely improved the quality of my experience far more than I could have anticipated. I, in all honesty, cannot sing their praises highly enough.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

While the town and castle were an ideal learning environment, the actual housing provided was somewhat disappointing. Most notably, there was a significant hole in the wall of my room which led to the rather awkward situation of being able to hear my neighbours with perfect clarity. Also, some more convenient access to transportation than an hourly bus would have been nice, but I understand that this is well beyond the program’s control.

* Food:

The food provided in the dining hall was neither particularly good nor dishearteningly bad and alternate options are always available in town for those willing to spend the money.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Some token efforts were made to integrate the program and town communities, however I found that the spontaneous interactions that took place while travelling or even at the local pub were much more successful. The extra day given each weekend to travel definitely paid off in this regard, giving us enough time to get to know people we met in various destinations.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I appreciated that the program arranged on-site flu shots for us. Beyond this, I didn’t face any health issues during my stay. As for safety, the town is a very comfortable environment and having studied abroad before, I felt much safer there than I had on previous occasions living in Europe.

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?

My experience with the Dutch language primarily consisted of off-campus interactions which were incidental to the program itself.

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? No matter if you’ve spent plenty of time in Europe before or if you’ve never been out of your home state, the time you spend at Kasteel Well will be well worthwhile. You will experience and learn things you have never dreamed of and yet, among the hectic travelling and the rush of newness, I think you will also find a serenity there most conducive to learning and growth.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Topics in Literature

Course Department: LI 204
Instructor: Richard Chetwynd
Instruction Language: English
Comments: While lectures seemed at times to be going off-track, I found that at the end of the day, we had somehow managed to reach, through these lectures, several enlightening conclusions about whatever work we were discussing. The instructor’s style is highly engaging and so attending class became one of the highlights of my week. The rapid pace at which the material was covered worked perfectly and allowed us to move through a much greater variety of work than I would have anticipated.
Credit Transfer Issues: None.
Course Name/Rating:

Sophomore Honors Seminar

Course Department: HS 201
Instructor: Bianca Groesbeek
Instruction Language: English
Comments: While biology is not my strong suit, the instructor was able to contextualize the information in such a way as to keep it interesting and comprehensible to we laymen.
Credit Transfer Issues: None.
Course Name/Rating:

Intro to Creative Writing: Fiction

Course Department: WR 211
Instructor: Denya Cascio
Instruction Language: English
Comments: The basic aspects of fiction writing were adequately covered by the assignments given, if not in lectures. Often bizarre in-class exercises seemingly consisted of endless psychological preparation for the act of writing, followed by very little of the writing itself. Workshopping, while useful, was horribly inefficient, meaning that many pieces received little to no feedback from peers, which was frustrating considering that I found this to be the most educational aspect of the class.
Credit Transfer Issues: None.
Course Name/Rating:

Intercultural Communication

Course Department: CC 203
Instructor: Patrick Cattryse
Instruction Language: English
Comments: The pacing, coverage, and delivery of the material was spot-on and the instructor is clearly an expert in his field. His willingness to address complex questions in detail made the class much more satisfying for me. The only change I would have made would be more clearly assigned readings, since the book choices clearly complimented the lecture topics, but it was sometimes difficult to determine what to read in advance of each class.
Credit Transfer Issues: None.