Betsy tries on her first pair of wooden clogs in Alkmaar, Netherlands.
Overseas Study Program
Betsy’s major: Marketing
Term abroad: Spring 2009
Reason you chose this program: I chose Maastricht because it was centrally located in Europe and allowed me to fulfill business credits that I needed for my degree.
Favorite class: I really enjoyed my International Marketing course because the class was taught from an international perspective. We analyzed many American ads, and it was interesting to see Europeans' points of view.
Describe the Housing Situation: University of Maastricht is a very international university. Many of the exchange students live in the Guesthouse (dorm) where we have double rooms with a kitchen.
Best memory: My best memory is traveling with friends. Several of my sorority sisters were abroad in Europe so we met up in Nice, Paris, Vienna, and Amsterdam. I also took advantage of visiting their study abroad "homes". Not only was I able to see Europe with some of my best friends, but I had a free place to stay!
Biggest surprise: My biggest surprise was how friendly the Dutch people were. I always thought Europeans hated Americans and their loud, obnoxious ways. This was 100 percent false in The Netherlands. The Dutch genuinely like Americans and are very interested in our culture. They are the friendliest people I have ever encountered. Don't forget, not all of Europe is this way and you still need to be respectful of all cultures.
Experience with culture shock or reverse culture shock: I would have to say the biggest culture shock for me was the lack of available, free water. Going to any restaurant in Europe and having to pay 2 Euro (about $3) for a glass of water with no ice was outrageous! When I got back to the United States, the first thing I did was drink out of an icy cold water fountain!
Going abroad vs. staying on campus: GO ABROAD! Most students say they could never leave and miss out what is going on at IU. But, you also miss out on living five months in a different country! Also, prices are much cheaper for students because of special fares, rates and discounts.
What I wish I knew before I left: It isn't that cold in Holland! I brought so many heavy sweaters, coats, gloves, and hats and never wore them! Make sure you look at weather and temperature averages.
Fact about your host country that you think people would be surprised to learn: The European Union and the Euro were created in Maastricht in the Treaty of Maastricht in 1992.