What US school did you go to and what did you study?
Vincennes University in Indiana, where I studied General Studies.
Did you play a sport when you were in the US? And if so, which one?
Yes, I played varsity tennis for Vincennes University.
Why did you want to study in the US?
America has always appealed to me as a child. Since I have always played a lot of tennis, and I wanted to study there, for me it was the perfect combination.
What was the hardest part about settling in as an international student in the US?
Being so far away from home and especially missing my family and friends. Luckily I made regular use of Skype which made it somewhat easier.
What opportunities has studying in the US offered you since you finished your studies/returned home?
When I went to America I was just 17 years old. I was not yet an adult, and was still very young and playful. In America I had to do most things myself and that made me much more independent. I had to organize things myself, do my own laundry, arrange all of my travel details myself, and that meant that when I came back to the Netherlands I was a lot more mature.
What were some of your highlights when you were in the US?
Doing a lot of travel through the various states in America. As was the fact that our tennis team was ranked number 1 in the NJCAA. Playing in the American Championships (Nationals) in Texas was a highlight. Playing against large NCAA Division 1 teams was another highlight. During spring break we travelled to Orlando to participate in 10 competitions in 7 days which was an incredible experience!
How do you think studying in the US is different to studying at a Dutch/European university?
First and foremost, the experience of being a student in America is completely different than in the Netherlands. In America, you generally live on campus and there is plenty to do. You decide for yourself your own level of education and as a (top) athlete you are hugely appreciated. Americans are extremely proud of their school and that also rubs off on you when you study there. That sense of pride, and the vibrancy of college life, is something that I sometimes miss here in the Netherlands.
What did you think about the application process of getting into a US college or university? How was UStudy helpful to you?
At first I really had no idea of what was involved in the application process. I had an inkling, at best, that it would be a bit tricky. Luckily I was able to get very good personal guidance from UStudy, which made the application process much easier for me to go through. In particular, the fact that UStudy responded very well to my needs has helped me a lot.
What are you currently doing?
I am studying HBO Sports and Exercise (Lifestyle and Health) at Inholland Haarlem. The course is a mix of health and sport management. When I came back from America I stopped playing tennis and I discovered that I really enjoyed exercising at the gym. So I now do that 5 times a week. What’s more, I sometimes get involved as a tour manager for DJ Weslo and am in the process of starting my own business.
What are some of your goals for the future?
Eventually I would love to work in a sport related business such as Nike or Adidas. I would also like to start my own business with my best friend, Erik Stepanian.