Past Review

By (Political Communications, Emerson College) for

Emerson College: Kasteel Well: The Netherlands

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Going to the castle was the best decision I've ever made in my life. Every single person experiences it differently, from where they go during weekend trips to what they do during academic excursions and while at the castle, to what they study in class, so other people's experiences won't prepare you for what will happen when you go. But have a positive attitude and get ready for the best semester of your life.

Personal Information

The term and year this program took place: Fall 2008

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Teachers understand that no one is primarily there for the courses, all of which to my knowledge have an equivalent course on the Boston campus. So they don't bombard you with busywork throughout the semester, which is awesome and makes it much easier to travel as much as possible. During midterms and finals the work starts to pile up and become overwhelming, so try to plan for that ahead of time. Academics are something of a toss up - I would say the World Since 1914 with Ralph Trost is one of the best classes I've ever taken, while the Sophomore Honors Seminar with Bianca (which was required for me) was probably one of my least favorite classes of all time. The other two weren't standouts for me, but they were generally enjoyable and informative.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The Castle administration does a great job organizing everything, from daily life at the castle to academic excursions. The amount of details they have to coordinate for over 80 students is enormous, and yet we still, amazingly, always got where we had to go ... There's no way I could ever do what they do. Castle staff (particularly Dulcia) are amazing.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Castle life = perfection.

* Food:

The food is cooked by staff of a local Dutch restaurant, which I'd imagine makes it pretty authentic. Some of it was absolutely fantastic, a couple of meals were kind of awful, but in general it was really good and different. There was always a vegetarian option, but I don't know if you could survive as a vegan.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Traveling with 80 other students was interesting to say the least. Our excursions to London were great, and I'd say the trip to Croatia is something that we'll remember for the rest of our lives. It was absolutely incredible.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I never had anything serious happen to me, health-wise. I did see the local doctor once for a sinus infection, and got medicine that cleared it up right away. If something more serious were to happen, though, I'm not sure how well it would be handled ... European health care is extremely different from what we're used to in the U.S. As for how safe you feel, that is entirely up to you and what you do when you're traveling. During the time in Well ... it's probably one of the smallest safest places in the world.

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)


Language acquisition improvement?

Not a huge focus on language since classes are taught in English and almost all Dutch people speak English, but I picked up a few Dutch words/phrases ... and of course, their version of the Happy Birthday song :)

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Do it. Everyone I know who has gone believes that this experience changed their life, myself included.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

World Since 1914

Course Department:
Instructor: Ralph Trost
Instruction Language: English
Comments: My favorite class ever. Take it if you have the chance, Ralph is awesome and a fantastic teacher.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Intercultural Communication

Course Department:
Instructor: Chester Lee
Instruction Language: English
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

History of Art: Renaissance and Baroque

Course Department:
Instructor: Rob & Dulcia
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Very interesting class, but a bigger workload than any other class at the castle, it seems. That said, it's still not unmanageable by any means, just frustrating in comparison to the work assigned to other classes.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Sophomore Honors Seminar (Evolution)

Course Department:
Instructor: Bianca J-G
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This class was required for all honors students, and I absolutely loathed it. The subject matter was fairly interesting but something got lost in translation for me and the teaching style was monotonous. Guidelines for assignments were vague and last-minute. Bianca is a nice person, but I couldn't be happier to be done with this class.
Credit Transfer Issues: