Netherlands is a peaceful place top learn Past Review

By (Print & Multimedia Journalism, Emerson College) for

Emerson College: Kasteel Well: The Netherlands

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Yes. Traveling on weekends is what made the program worthwhile.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Education in Europe is very much different than that of the States. In the States, work load is definitely lessened and grades are more dependant upon exams. In Europe however, there are tests, quizzes, papers, and exams, and usually all are due within the same week. I could attribute this to the tight 90-day window of the program, but our professors definitely forced upon us a lot more work than we were accustomed to. On another note, I loved some of the professors that I had. I learned a lot from the courses I had, but take note, these classes aren't easy.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

From what I've learned about the differences between American education vs. American education is the attention to detail. American education is 'very much upon yourself' to learn what you want to learn where as European education requires a lot of coursework in order to gain a deep understanding of the subject. The Office of Student Affairs (OSA) was very friendly.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Our housing was a castle. That's as cool as it gets. While it was a very old establishment (lots of stairs), we had a surprisingly great hot water system. Heating doesn't really exist, and neither does peace and quiet. The town bell rings off every hour on the hour, and the walls are extremely thin.

* Food:

While they had fresh local produce, there wasn't a lot of healthy food options. An average meal consisited of mystery meat, vegetables from a frozen packet, and fries. I'm not a vegetarian, but I do eat really healthy and that's really hard to do here. Everyone often stocks up at the local supermarket for food in case the meals aren't good (which was very often). The perk about living abroad though, is food is great everywhere else that you travel.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Our school trips were to Amsterdam in the winter, and Prague in the spring. These trips were definitely all about school. They tied in with the courses we were taking, like Art History, Photography, History. It's non-stop travel from museum to museum. No sleep, sac lunches, and no time to really explore. They take you on a walking tour on each trip, so that is your first glance at the city, but then there's no real time to look for yourself.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Our town was very safe, and the dorms had key entries only. Health issues are addressed by the local health clinic, which has bizarre hours so you better hope you can get it treated before the travel weekend. I myself had both fleas and bed bugs and there's no real way to cure it except to wash everything you own. That's a common thing to obtain here because hostels are large carriers of them.

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)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
Language acquisition improvement?

They taught us common Dutch phrases and words in the beginning of the program. Most of the time, we just used "hello" and "thank you" around town because Dutch is a very complicated language to learn, let alone teach. I was surprised at how many people spoke English in the small town we were in, especially the elders. People do speak English in Amsterdam, but people tend to not broadcast that.

If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? You learn a lot about people when you travel with them.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Contemporary World History

Course Department: HI 200
Instructor: Ralph Trost
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This was one of the best courses I have ever taken. For an American student, this was very informative of the other sides of American history we do not often hear about: America's involvement in European affairs, controversial scandals, etc. Ralph Trost is one of THE best professors Emerson has to offer. He showed us very moving documentaries on history that were not boring, but spurred discussions. Trost is really good at explaining what we need to know about contemporary history in terms that we can easily understand. This class worked really well with our school trips and travels as well because we would learn about a topic or an event, and then get the chance to visit the place where it happened.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

History of Photography

Course Department: VM 203
Instructor: Gerlo Beermink
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This class taught me everything I needed to know about the history of photography. There's a lot of it, but it's really interesting to see how it all ties in with today's techniques. There was a lot of course work required for this class, but the teacher did a great job of making photography interesting. He's a camera collector, and each class he would bring a different camera for us to 'play' with. He also let us create our own photo spread, that was my favorite part. Definitely take this class if you're thinking about minoring in Photography or if you own a DSLR camera and just wanna figure out how to use it.
Credit Transfer Issues: