Which college or university did you attend in the US, and what did you study?
I attended Santa Barbara City College and studied Interntional Business.
Did you play a sport in the US? If so, which one?
Yes, I joined the swim team.
Why did you want to spend some time studying in the US?
I always thought it would be fun. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to study in the Netherlands, and I was also a bit stuck with my swimming, so I needed a new challenge! That’s why I chose to then go to America. That’s where I could discover what I really wanted to do with my studies, plus it would be easy for me to combine my swimming and schooling, and my swimming also progressed a lot!
What was the most challenging aspect of being an international student in the US?
I think it was the fact that the culture was very different. It took me a while to get used to everything, and also to be able to understand everyone.
What new opportunities has studying in the US brought to you since you finished studying/returned home?
Of course, my English improved a lot. I notice that now in particular with my current studies. I have also grown a lot as a person, when you have to rely on yourself completely, then you mature a lot faster. When you are on your own then you learn to make new friends and associates more easily.
What was your highlight of being in the US?
I really loved being able to combine athletics and school. You are well respected there as an athlete. In the Netherlands they look at you somewhat strangely when you head off to training at 6 o’clock in the morning, and people think it’s crazy that you are so committed to it. In America that is precisely what they encourage. It’s then very rewarding to do well in swimming. My highlight for swimming was in my last competition, the CCCAA championships in East LA. That’s where I won 2 golds, and we as a team came 8th!
I also really enjoyed being able to swim outside in the sunshine, and fortunately this is something I had to do every day!
How different is studying in the US, compared to studying at a Dutch or European educational institute?
You can choose all of your subjects yourself. You are not given a predetermined course that you necessarily have to follow. You can plan your own roster. This worked out well for my swimming. I now notice that this is very difficult in the Netherlands. Most days I spend 6 hours at school, which unfortunately means I am no longer able to do a lot of swimming.
What do you think about the application process of getting into a US college or university?
There is so much involved in the application process for an American educational institution and it is very complicated! There are also so many school choices. UStudy was very helpful for me in this entire process, and they clearly outlined the steps I had to take. I also got a better overview of what schools were there, which made it easier for me to choose. I was very late in my application, and without UStudy it would never have been possible!
What are you doing at the moment in terms of your study or work?
At the moment I am studying International Business and Management at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam (Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences). I also have a casual job at Pepperminds. I stand on the street and invite people to get involved in good causes. The personal growth I experienced in America has been very handy for this!
What are your plans for the future?
I don’t know exactly which area I’d like to specialize in International Business, but I know for sure that I want to go back to America! So that is one of my goals, to finish this period of study as quickly as possible and then find a job in which I can go back to America.