Het UStudy team bestaat of highly qualified and experienced multilingual staff that is dedicated to working closely with students and their families in making their study abroad dreams come true. We are based in the Netherlands, with offices in Canada and Malta. Our clients come from all over the world: the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, France, the UK, the US and Canada. Our staff is fluent in English, Dutch, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Arabic and even in some Maltese.
Marina was born and raised in the Netherlands. She completed Law School in Groningen and, at The University of Texas in Austin obtained a masters in Public Policy and studied Middle Eastern Studies. Marina has over 17 years of professional experience in the field of international education, e.g. at EducationUSA/AMIDEAST in Washington DC and Tunisia, at education interest organizations in Washington DC and as a guidance counselor at the International School of The Hague in the Netherlands. She is a Fulbright Grant recipient for her studies in the US and has served on the selection committee for Fulbright grants both in Tunisia and the Netherlands. She studied and worked in the Netherlands, United States, Korea, Tunisia, Malta and Canada where she currently lives. Her children have experience studying in the United States, Canada and Colombia.
Marina is a native speaker of Dutch and is fluent in English, German and has some basic French, Frisian and Arabic.
Kitty has been working in Dutch education since 1974. As a French teacher and school guidance counselor at the elite Gymnasium Haganum, the Netherlands, she provided young adults and their parents with specialist guidance on selection of, and applications to universities in the Netherlands. Since 2001 she has been working as an independent education consultant, guiding young adults in their choices for higher education. She holds a Master degree in French from Utrecht University in The Netherlands. Kitty has lived in the Netherlands and France.
Kitty is a native Dutch speaker and is fluent in French and English.
Phil has worked in UK post-16 education for nearly 30 years in various admissions, guidance, and marketing roles. He began his career in 1990 at Liverpool John Moores University, working within the academic registry, and from 1999 to 2007 was Student Recruitment Manager at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), one of the leading social science institutions in the world. Phil’s work at LSE covered advice and guidance for both undergraduate and postgraduate study and he travelled all across the UK and the length and breadth of Europe supporting and encouraging students.
Since 2007, Phil has worked as a consultant advising thousands of students and their families regarding their study options in the UK and supporting them through the entire application process. As a trained proof-reader and copyeditor, he is particularly useful when it comes to preparing the application essays and while he does not write them for students, his advice is invaluable. Phil’s knowledge and experience has helped many students gain a place at their first-choice university, including Oxford, Cambridge, LSE, UCL, Imperial College, Durham, Edinburgh, Manchester, Bristol, Warwick, as well as specialist institutions such as Central Saint Martins in London and the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts. He studied at the University of Central Lancashire and at the University of London. Phil lives in the United Kingdom.
Lonnie is an expert in the Netherlands higher education system. She obtained a master’s degree in communications at the University of Twente and worked for 10 years in student communication at Saxion University of Applied Sciences. She knows all there is to know about the education system and application process, university programs and Dutch culture, and how to match each to our students’ wishes and demands.
Lonnie has established a large network of Dutch university admissions officers. Since 2018 she has worked as a counselor for international students who are considering studying in the Netherlands. Lonnie helps students find the right program and advises them on how to complete the application process swiftly and efficiently.
Lonnie is fluent in Dutch, English and Italian.
Amy McGriff, our Application Specialist, is responsible for the client’s enrollment process. With a background in Recruitment, she is extremely competent when it comes to building resumes and composing proper cover letters. She studied at Santa Rosa Junior College in California and at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in The Hague. She has lived in the US, the UK and currently lives in the Netherlands.
Amy is a native English speaker and is fluent in Dutch.
Rachel, our Application Specialist, has worked in post-secondary education and training since 1995. She studied Education at Portsmouth University, and taught Health and Science related subjects at Southdowns College in Hampshire, England. As well as lecturing, she was also a college mentor, guiding and helping students prepare for their future careers or continuing education. In addition, she is a qualified NVQ Assessor and Internal Verifier for government training schemes. In this role she was responsible for training and assessing students in their vocational programs, and ensuring occupational standards set by the Ministry of Education were achieved.
Since 2015 Rachel has worked as an application specialist for UStudy and has helped hundreds of students apply to schools, colleges and universities in the USA. Her role is to assist the student and their family during the entire application procedure.
Rachel is a native English speaker and she has a good command of the Dutch language.
Ibrahim is responsible for UStudy’s financial administration. He worked as a senior lecturer in Arabic for the United States Department of Foreign Affairs (Foreign Service Institute) both in the USA and Tunisia. He was selected as the only Yemenite in the 80’s by the US government for participating in the prestigious study program: Multi-Ethnicity in the USA. Ibrahim holds a degree in International Business from the University of Sana’a. He previously worked in finances at Shell International and Reebok in the Netherlands. Originally from Yemen, Ibrahim has studied and worked in various Middle Eastern countries, the United Kingdom, the United States, the Netherlands and now Canada.
Ibrahim is a native speaker of Arabic, is fluent in English and Dutch and speaks some Maltese.
Dutch Joppe de Vries joined the UStudy team in December 2020. His role is to assist UStudy with evaluating the player’s talent and potential for playing college field hockey in the United States.
Joppe’s background as a former elite athlete and elite coach has seen him through all levels of coaching experience, from field hockey clubs and Olympian teams, to high schools to universities, both in the Netherlands and abroad.
Joppe worked abroad for eight years as a field hockey coach. In the US, he worked as Associate Head Coach and Technical Director at the University of Maryland and Head Coach at Bryant University, both Division 1 schools. In America, Joppe assisted with the national team as a goalkeeper coach in preparation for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. He also worked as a High Performance Coach and Coach Educator for USA Field Hockey. Prior to his time in the US, he coached the South African women’s team in preparation for the London 2012 Olympics. In the Netherlands he coached at various clubs, including Rotterdam in the top league (hoofdklasse) and Alecto, Amsterdam, Qui Vive and HIC in the second highest league (overgangsklasse). Joppe himself enjoyed top athlete status as a member of the Dutch golf team. He currently works as a sports instructor at The American School of The Hague and as Field Hockey Mentor at UStudy Sports.
British Ian Spooner joined the UStudy team in December 2020. His role is to assist UStudy with evaluating the player’s talent and potential for playing college soccer in the United States.
Ian grew up in Oxford, England, and went on to earn a scholarship as an international student-athlete at Division I Radford University. In his four years as a soccer player, he was selected first team All-Conference and first team All-South Atlantic. He captained the team and earned team MVP in 1995. He was two-time Big South Conference MVP in 1994 and 1995. Upon graduation from Radford University, he played professionally and semi-professionally in the United Soccer League. In 2012, he was inducted into the Radford University Hall of Fame, and the following year, he was inducted into the Big South Conference Hall of Fame.
Ian has coached at both youth and college levels, including being head coach for the Olympic Development Program and starting a new women’s program at Bridgewater College in Virginia, a member of the NCAA Division III. At Bridgewater, he also coached the men’s program. In 2001, he returned to Division I Radford University as Assistant Coach for women’s soccer, where he was instrumental in recruiting players who won the Big South Conference title and appeared in the NCAA national tournament.
In 2004, Ian was brought on as Technical Director for the Roanoke Valley Youth Soccer Club in Virginia, organizing and instructing the Roanoke Youth Academy. In 2006, he moved on to the position of Director of Player Development and Assistant Director of Coaching at Greensboro United Soccer Association. 2008 saw a return to college coaching, with a stint at Division III Greensboro College. Here he achieved many coaching accolades, including two Conference Freshman Players of the Year, four Conference USA South semi-final appearances, and the NSCAA Team Academic Award.
In 2014, Ian and his family moved to Europe, where he began his own business, Activity Tours Europe, which focuses on soccer team travel to Europe, where players have the opportunity to play against professional academies like Atlético Madrid, VfB Stuttgart, and Hoffenheim. He also currently is the coach of a German youth football team and operates a soccer camp business. In his coaching career, he has coached several players who have gone on to play professionally and players who have also gone on to become college and youth coaches.
Mentor Program Coordinator
Dutchman Erik Visser joined the UStudy team in January 2021. His role is to assist UStudy with evaluating the talent and potential of male players who want to play college soccer in the United States.
Erik grew up in the Netherlands and has been working as a collegiate coach in the US from 1982 – 2013. He was the Head Coach for the University of San Francisco from 2000 – 2013, guiding the Dons to four NCAA play-off appearances and selected WCC Coach of the Year three times. He holds two master’s degrees from University of San Francisco. He has extensive experience in management, coaching, and scouting at Collegiate, Youth National Team (US U20), ODP, and US Soccer Academy level. His experience also includes a keen knowledge of MLS through Professional Match Evaluator Program, USL Experience as a Technical Advisor, and 10 years of Experience as a Director of Coaching of a Youth Soccer Organization, overseeing player, coaches and parental educational program including 1,500 players and 125 coaches. Erik’s playing experience includes Ajax Youth Academy U-19 (1975/76) and two NCAA Division 1 Championships with the University of San Francisco (1978 & 1980).
He currently serves as the Athletic Director at Solano College in California, a position he has held since 2014.Erik will be evaluating male UStudy players on what their chances are to play college soccer and at what level. He has also been appointed as the Coordinator of UStudy’s Athlete Mentor Program.
American Tony Dress joined the UStudy team in December 2020. His role is to assist UStudy with evaluating the player’s talent and potential for playing college baseball in the United States.
Tony’s background as a former player and coach brought him through all levels of coaching experience from high school to college and abroad:
Tony grew up in Concord, California. In high school he was a three-year Varsity Baseball All-League honorable mention as a first basemen. He played one year at Los Medanos Junior College in California where he made All-League honorable mention. At Chico State University he captured the team’s Most Valuable Player award and was named Most Outstanding Hitter. In 1992, he was selected to play on Major League Baseball International’s Envoy Team and played in Czechoslovakia for two months. He earned his undergraduate degree in 1993.
Tony held the position of Volunteer Assistant at St. Mary’s College of California (NCAA Division I) and spent four seasons at the helm of the San Francisco State Baseball Program (NCAA Division II). In 2008, he coached two All-CCAA team selections. Tony came to SF State from Los Medanos Junior College in California, where he was the head baseball coach for three years. Tony also coached at Acalanes High School in Lafayette, CA, from 2001-03. He turned a last-place program into a winning program within 18 months. Prior to his stint in Acalanes, he served as the Assistant to the General Manager of the Wichita Wranglers, Double A-affiliate of the Kansas City royals and the National Baseball Congress.
In the early nineties Tony worked overseas as the Regional Game Development Coordinator for Major League Baseball International in Czechoslovakia, Spain, Norway, Germany, Sweden, Australia and New Zealand. He developed the first National Baseball Team in Norway and implemented credential programs and recruited sponsors for the support of the International Baseball Federation.
Mariette has been working for UStudy since 2018. She is the event coordinator and it is her role to inform and engage future students who wish to study abroad. She also coordinates the work of alumni as UStudy ambassadors.
Mariette experienced the value of UStudy services when her oldest daughter went to the US to study and play field hockey for the University of Virginia. She therefore has first-hand knowledge of how important our guidance is for applicants. It absolutely contributed to her daughter having a wonderful experience in the US.
After earning a bachelor’s degree at the Hotel Management School in Lausanne, Switzerland, Mariette started her career at Quest International, an international company specializing in flavors & fragrances. At Quest she was worked primarily with multinational customers.
Mariette is fluent in Dutch, English and French.