Kasteel Well Summer Art History & Photography Program: It Is What It Says & Then Some Past Review

By (Writing, Literature, And Publishing, Emerson College) for

Emerson College: Kasteel Well: The Netherlands

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
For me, it was definitely worthwhile because everything about it was ideal: elective class credit for Emerson, matched my academic interests exactly, and short enough but long enough to meet new people, travel and learn. I am so glad that I applied because I can use a lot of what I saw, learned and produced in the photography studio to my advantage in the future. I may go to grad school for an art history related program, so this program was both fun and academically relevant to my future at the same time. The unique and quiet castle environment was really key to my enjoyment, and being my second time in Europe, I definitely crossed a lot of things off my list! I LOVE and will keep in contact with my peers who went on this trip in the coming semesters!

Review Photos

Emerson College: Kasteel Well: The Netherlands Photo Emerson College: Kasteel Well: The Netherlands Photo Emerson College: Kasteel Well: The Netherlands Photo Emerson College: Kasteel Well: The Netherlands Photo

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.

Minor but inevitable language barriers between professors and students. The workload was perfect for the amount of travel we were doing in the process, and the methods were appropriate given the small class size and many walking tours/lectures outside the classroom.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The on-site support could have been a little better when it came to supplying students with calendars/schedules in advance. From time to time, a lot of students needed help with travel arrangements and the staff was sometimes helpful in translating Dutch. But personally, found independent online research and travel books more helpful as I was booking travel. The faculty led tours/lectures were outstanding in terms of the amount of museums/locations visited, being treated to restaurants and the great hotel or apartment accommodations...nothing but good things to say about that! It also would have been helpful to have a computer lab and pay-phones that didn't pose as many technical difficulties, but everything was manageable with patience. The program size was perfect.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

We lived in a castle--no complaints about the beautiful aesthetic and being surrounded by the countryside! Close proximity (5-12 minute walk or bike) to all the necessities: drug store, grocery, bus stop and the minimal nightlife. It's recommended that you pick up any items at the drug store which carries everything. I bought many toiletries and electronics there. Extremely safe neighborhood and nice staff at the castle's dining hall/campus!

* Food:

Lots of fresh fruit, bread and cheese...fine by me. Anything else I needed specifically I bought at the grocery. But in the evening, a lot of meat and fish is served so if you have ANY sort of allergy or aversion to any food groups list them on your forms BEFORE you arrive!!! They will accommodate with substitutes. Get beer and ice cream at the Linden Bar. I wish I had visited the local bakery and Cafe Vink, or taken the bus on a free weekend to the cafes near Arcen or Venlo.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

We went to SEVERAL museums and I'm pretty into art so my favorites were the Groeninge Museum in Bruges, Design Museum in Ghent, the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Florence and the World Press Photo Exhibition that took place in De Oude Kerk of Amsterdam. If you are interested in Jewish heritage or architecture, visit the Esnoga near Waterlooplein in Amsterdam and of course the Anne Frank House. Both are great! As for attractions.... take a canal boat tour if you see one (including gondolas), visit public beaches, take the double-decker Barcelona Bus to see all Barcelona attractions, and definitely seek out the local bars, clubs and cafes. We loved CATHEDRAAK in Bruges!!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

No emergencies or problems with safety came up, except for an easily and well-handled injury that required the hospital. The staff will take care of anything you need. If you have allergies, just don't hesitate to ask for medical help and remember to always ask about ingredients at restaurants because a lot of the meals are preset if the meal is faculty-led.

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)


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

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Other
* 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? Anyone who wants to experience Europe and the castle with your Emerson peers should go!! MEET NEW PEOPLE. You are given a good amount of travel time for 5 weeks but choose wisely and travel smart. I would HIGHLY recommend this particular program for those who have minors, prior and/or working interest in BOTH art history and digital photography. If not, choose something else or go during the regular semester. If you own a camera and aren't clueless about what the program is about, then this could be for you! Don't be surprised when you are taken to at least one fine art museum a day on excursions...

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Topics in Art History and Digital Photography

Course Department: VM368
Instructor: Dulcia Meijers, Rob Duckers and Gerlo Beernink
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Broad range of student experience,knowledge and interest in curriculum made some of the academics more or less challenging. However, the field trips and lectures on-site in museums and churches were very helpful and relevant to the art history component of the course. Professors were experts and conducted good, open discussions in absence of typical American class structure...again, this was actually appropriate because we were on so many tours and lectures outside the main classroom. I think I participated more than I would have normally at Emerson College because the class was a little smaller and we had many projects we were forced to speak about daily. All in all, a really fun and helpful course that will come in handy in the future!
Credit Transfer Issues: No, course credit transfer was great and timely.