Which American school did you go to, and what did you study?
I studied at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania. It is a small, prestigious and typically American school. I studied Liberal Arts, and if I had stayed on I would have done a Masters in Political Science. I studied a few subjects in this field in my first year, but I also chose to enrol in a number of very different subjects because I wanted to broaden my horizons.
Did you play a sport in the US? And if so, what was it?
Yes, I played hockey. My school was in Division 3, so I didn’t go there on a hockey scholarship. I was definitely a hockey fanatic for a year on the varsity team, and that was an incredible experience!
Why did you want to spend some time studying in the US?
I was born in the US, and have wanted to go back there ever since I was 6 years old. This was the perfect way for me to go back and spend time in America.
What was the most difficult aspect of being an international student in the US?
I found the first two weeks incredibly difficult. Especially because there was so much that I didn’t expect about playing hockey there, and there was always something new to learn. But after 2 weeks I knew what to expect, and no longer had any problems!
What opportunities has studying in the US offered you since you finished your studies/returned home?
In terms of my own development, I can say that almost all of the opportunities that I now have are thanks to my time in America. I am more daring, I am more self-confident and I have a lot more knowledge and experience. I certainly think that it has helped me tremendously in the Honours Program I did as part of my studies last year. I earned good grades, so I’m definitely happy about that!
What were some of your highlights when you were in the US?
I had so many that I almost can’t choose!! But I think the best was Springfest, this was the last weekend before the finals of my first year. There were activities organized all across campus, the weather was great, and it was also the last weekend before I left.
How do you think studying in the US is different to studying at a Dutch/European university?
Veeeery different, especially when it comes to interacting with your teachers. In the Netherlands I am studying law, and nobody misses me if I’m not there. In America I would receive an email to check that everything was okay. I used to go out to lunch with my favorite teacher. There was a writing center where you could always drop in to get help with your papers. Also, in the Netherlands everything is based on exams, whereas in America it is based on your participation in class, your papers, and eventually there might be an exam involved.
What do you think about the application process of getting into a US college or university?
I found it to be a lot of work, but it was all worth it. UStudy was very helpful, especially because half of what I had to do, I didn’t even know I had to do it. They also helped me to improve my papers, etc.
What are you doing now in terms of studying or working?
I am studying law at the RUG in Groningen. I am in my second year now and it’s going well.
What are your ambitious for the future?
I would love to go back to America or Canada (I am also a ski-fanatic, which is why I want to go there). I am going to try and go there for half a year after I finish my bachelor’s degree, and to take a minor in psychology.