Which American school did you attend and what did you study there?
Did you play a sport in the US, and if so, which one?
I did not play a sport.
Why did you want to study in the US?
When I was a seventeen year old and had graduated high school I didn’t have a clear idea of what field I wanted to continue my studies. I was interested in several different topics; from history to fashion, from acting to law, all of them seemed appealing to me. The American education system is much broader, which gave me the opportunity in my first year to explore a lot of subjects and find out what I enjoyed most, instead of taking a gamble and focusing on just one thing. My plan was actually to go to New York for just one year to find out what I wanted to study when I came back to the Netherlands, but I loved the freedom of choice at NYU so much that I ended up spending a full four years there and completed my Bachelor’s degree.
What was the most challenging part of being an international student in the US?
At first I expected that it would be fairly similar to the Netherlands. In The Hague I had a comfortable life with a large group of friends, and in New York I had to suddenly build up an entirely new network of people. I had hoped in the beginning that it would immediately feel just like home, but I quickly realized that it would take time to develop real and meaningful connections. It has made me more individual, but in the end I now have some of the most important friendships in my life.
What new opportunities has studying in the US brought to you since you have finished your studies / come home?
I graduated in May and next year I will intern with a film company as well as continuing to develop my own film projects. When I first started at NYU I thought that I wanted to primarily be an actor, but thanks to the flexibility in my curriculum I discovered my love for film, as you have more control over what stories you want to bring to the world. Without my NYU experience I think I would have realized this much later, but instead I have now completed two short films and I’m now busy writing a script for a feature film.
What have been some of your highlights of being in the US?
In the first year I was the president of my residence hall, so I was thrown into the deep end early on and my English very quickly improved a lot. That has helped me over the years with acting and writing scripts in English. Highlights have definitely been my own one-woman show performed at United Solo, the largest solo festival in the world, and filming my own short film Heavy Feathers, which was picked up by festivals in Cannes, Berlin, South-Africa, Texas, and Los Angeles. The movie Night, my graduation film, was also a fantastic highlight in which I was able to work with all of my friends that I had met throughout the year.
How different is studying in the US compared to studying at a Dutch or European university?
It really depends on what you are studying and where, and I can only speak about the arts, since I have ultimately chosen a creative education. What I know about film academies and theater schools in the Netherlands is that they are very specific, and students throw themselves fully into one particular field. That is quite different in the US; at almost every school students have general requirements, in which they follow other types of courses in addition to their own field. The buildings in which classes are held at NYU are spread out across downtown Manhattan so I quickly got to know the whole city but at other places in the US you are located at one campus. I think that a large difference is that in the US most of my friends are those who I met at NYU, whereas in the Netherlands students often meet each other via student organizations outside of their own universities.
How did you find the application process for an American college or university? How was UStudy helpful or supportive in this aspect?
The application process is extremely intense and overwhelming because there is a lot to prepare and do. I always say: in the Netherlands the study itself is the ultimate test, but in American it all revolves around the application process. Because Dutch students are not used to this and they don’t spend their final years in high school learning the best strategies for applying to US colleges and universities, UStudy was the perfect place for me to get the right guidance and feel confident about my decision to study in New York. They helped me put together a timeline which was very useful because I did not know how long each part of the process would take. In addition it was also great to have UStudy work with me to write my essays and prepare for the SAT and TOEFL tests. Thanks to UStudy I also developed a lot of connections during my student days with other Dutch students who were in New York.
What are you doing at the moment in terms of study or work?
I’m currently interning at ‘New York Women in Film & Television’ and have also been busy writing and developing film projects both in America and the Netherlands. In the coming years I hope to slowly make the transition from short films to feature films and longer projects. More information is on my website: www.joosjeduk.com.
What are your ambitions for the future?
In my ideal world I would be writing my own film projects, directing, and playing an interesting role myself here and there – although I think it’s more important to tell a particular story rather than create an exciting role for myself. I am completely open to working both in the Netherlands and in America. I don’t want to tie myself to a particular location, but rather choose a place where I can do the most outstanding work and gain the most unique opportunities. We’ll see where that is!
Joosje talks briefly on her experience at NYU: