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"Going Dutch" Study Abroad

Feb 01, 2016

Why hello there future and current King’s students!

As our world becomes more and more connected, the opportunities that students have to travel and participate in study abroad programs increases incredibly, and here at King’s it is no different! There are several different places and programs that King’s partners with, including one called “Going Dutch” through the Christian University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands. This is a three-week course that gives students a business credit, but is open to students of all disciplines!

I chatted with some of the students who were a part of this experience in order to get a real idea of what it is actually like to participate in this program, so here are their responses.

Renae Van Wyk (3rd year BA in English)

1.) What was your favourite memory/activity/event that happened while you were on the Holland exchange?

In general, the program was full of cross-cultural experiences and discussions. I loved the fact that we were learning about European cultures while being immersed in one. My favourite part of the program was our assignment to interview people on the streets of Brussels on a relevant topic. This really challenged me and created room for great conversation as Zach (another student on the exchange) and I talked about the refugee crisis in European terms. I found it really interesting to hear first-hand experiences and opinions on a topic that we are pretty removed from in North America. Other than that, eating stroopwafel McFlurries, krokets and fries everywhere we went was pretty much the highlight!

2.) What advice would you give to students who are interested in study abroad programs?

My advice to someone who wants to study abroad is: DO IT. If you are at all interested in other cultures, history or traveling in general, it is such a worthwhile experience. Studying abroad pushes you out of your comfort zone so that you can experience things you never would have had you stayed at home! I've made friendships with people from across the globe and have learned so much about myself as well as our world through this amazing experience.

Steven Sypkes (3rd year BCom)

1.) What was your favourite memory/activity/event that happened while you were on the Holland exchange?

The first weekend when we were in Ede, after we finished our assignment for the week, our entire group all went to the Open Air Museum near Arnhem. There was a skating rink, an ice slide, a beer tasting building, a small petting zoo, food shacks, a small amusement park and a place where you could get photo’s done. We had an absolute blast! The entire time we were there we were doing something fun or interesting.  The Open Air Museum was a beautiful place to spend a day and as far as I know everyone who was there with our group had an amazing time.

2.) What advice would you give to students who are interested in study abroad programs?

Absolutely do this trip. If you want to do the trip make sure you check with all of your professors of your Winter classes to make sure that they are okay with you missing some classes.  Also, check out some of the journals that we did for the trip, (they're posted on the Leder School of Business webpage) and find out if this is something that would really work for you. The people who organize the trip want you to go and they will try to help you to make sure it will work! If you do finally decide to go on the trip, then I would highly recommend going early; out of the six students who went on the trip five of us left for Europe early and traveled around. Connor and Sarah went to Iceland, Northern Ireland and Switzerland before the course started, and Renae, Joelle and I went to Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and England before the course started. I have to say, we all had an awesome time and saw some amazing things.

Joelle Noot (3rd year BA in History)

1.) What was your favourite memory/activity/event that happened while you were on the Holland exchange?

The most memorable experience in Holland for me wasn’t one single experience, but experiencing a different education system every day. As someone going into education, seeing a completely different way of teaching and learning was so beneficial. Instead of receiving lectures every day, we were asked to make a video illustrating cultural differences in running a business, have a discussion comparing North American and Dutch cultures, and interview people on the streets of Brussels about political issues. Being a part of a new way of learning was by far my favourite part of the trip.

2.) What advice would you give to students who are interested in study abroad programs?

My advice to students thinking about doing this trip would be to do it obviously, but not just to get the cool experience of traveling... It will benefit you in so many other ways. Immersing yourself in another culture, experiencing new foods, people, and learning styles will honestly be a benefit for every student, no matter what faculty you are a part of.

Zach Geisterfer (4th year BCom)

1.) What was your favourite memory/activity/event that happened while you were on the Holland exchange?

The most memorable event of the Holland trip for me was the time we spent interviewing people on the streets of Brussels, Belgium. I’ve always hated talking to people I don’t know and I avoid confrontation at all costs, so this exercise was an awesome learning experience for me. I learned that I’m actually a lot better at talking to new people about almost anything than I would have expected. It was also very cool to see how easily you can carry on a conversation with a complete stranger once you have gotten over the initial awkward exchange. Overall, the best part of the trip was just meeting such a diverse set of people from all different backgrounds and walks of life.

2.) What advice would you give to students who are interested in study abroad programs?

It sounds very cliché, but the biggest piece of advice I would give to students who are interested in study abroad programs is to just do it. Prior to this trip, I’d always thought that although studying abroad would be cool, that it would be somewhat of a waste of time as there is often no guarantees that your credits from schools abroad will transfer and your degree will likely end up taking longer than it would have normally.

Sarah McFadyen (3rd year BCom)

1.) What was your favorite memory/activity/event that happened while you were on the Holland exchange?

My favorite memory on the Holland exchange was when the International Students came together with the Dutch students at the “Kazerne” (International Students Residence at CHE) and had a massive potluck in the tiny kitchen. The atmosphere was amazing, and it was definitely the night that sparked a lot of new friendships. It was during the first week, so we were all just getting to know each other… but we ended up getting comfortable with each other really quickly and had a “Netherlands Idol” competition to end the evening.

2.) What advice would you give to students who are interested in study abroad programs?

My advice would be that you should make sure you know what the weather is going to be like wherever you go. Or else you could end up without any water-resistant clothing in Holland, where it rains all day every day, which is exactly what happened to me…Not fun.

My other advice would be absolutely do a study abroad program, and absolutely use the opportunity to either travel before or after the program if you can. My experiences in Holland were invaluable, and I am so grateful that I used the program as an excuse to backpack around Europe for a few weeks before.

If you are interested in experiencing something like what these students got a chance to do, check out study abroad options through the Leder School of Business!

                Cheers,

Tara

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