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Sports When You Go to College in Europe

Jennifer Viemont
Founder & Chief College Advisor
October 29, 2022

Listen to this podcast.

In this week’s episode, Jenn discusses with Adam, a US student currently studying in Rotterdam. Our guest talks about a number of his experiences beyond the States, including the fact that he plays competitive baseball in the Netherlands.

Learn more about Adam’s background, how it looks like to study as an international student in Europe, and the main differences between the US and EU school systems. Moreover, find out how American students get used to European life, especially during the COVID era. Tune in and hear out firsthand from our young, and yet so mature guest, Adam!

“You’re going to learn 10% in the classroom. Plant seed and water the relationships. That’s where you really learn from, the people you connect with.” Adam’s Dad

Full transcription of the podcast.

Intro: You're listening to the Beyond the States podcast with Jenn Viemont. Did you know that you can go to Europe and get your entire degree taught in English for less than one year of tuition at many American schools? Jenn will take you on a deep dive into the many benefits and options around English-taught higher education in Europe, helping to make the possibility less foreign.

Jenn Viemont: Hey guys, I'm Jenn Viemont. And I'm so glad you're joining us for another episode. So today, I'm really excited for you to hear the interview. It's with Adam, who is a student in Rotterdam. And we're going to talk about a number of his experiences, including the fact that he plays competitive baseball, which I didn't even know is a thing in Europe, of if he plays at a competitive level in the Netherlands. But before we get to the interview, I want to talk about student life for international students in Europe, because it's an aspect that's packaged very differently than in the US, but one in which I believe students still get the various needs met. So let's talk about some of the differences for a minute. One is around dorms. The universities 90% of the time do not own their own dorms. Now there are dorms are called student residences, but they're privately owned. And sometimes universities will contract out with these providers to save blocks of rooms for their students, sometimes they won't, that's to say that you're going to live in if you live in the student residences, you will likely be living with students who are from the different universities around the city, since you're all students. So because of that your student life is much more about the city than just the specific university. There's also decentralized campuses. And what this means is that, you know, the humanities building might be in one part of town, while their social science building might be completely in a different area of the town. The reason that's not important is because you know, we talked last time about how you are taking all of your classes have to do with your program, again, sort of like your major. So all of your if you're a humanities type student, all of your classes are going to be in the humanities building. So it's almost like a, like a small university within a big university setting, you don't have to worry about getting from the humanities building to the Social Science Building, like you do in the US. So having that kind of compact space is not so important. Another difference, you know, there's no Greek system in Europe. Now, in some countries, they do have something that's sort of like this in the Netherlands is definitely more for just Dutch students. Sweden has something like them, and international students do participate. But it's not kind of the rush where they have to choose you, it's not as exclusive as it is in the US. They're also not the collegiate sports like we think of either. So and we're going to talk more about that clearly today. So sometimes I need a parent who says that they really want their kids to go to school in Europe, but that their kids resistant because they want, you know, the typical us experience. So I want to dig deeper into this today, there are a few possibilities as to why the team might be resistant to this one is just that they are not comfortable making decisions sort of outside of the box or outside of group norms or cultural norms. And this is something that this comfort level sort of has to be introduced at a much younger age, if you have a 16 year old and you're just starting to introduce things that would lead to a passion about exploring cultures, and also a comfort with sort of not conforming to group norms. And then quite frankly, it's probably too late. Now, I'm not judging this, I have a lot of people in my life, you know, people who are really like a lot, family and friends who are happy living their lives this way, there's not one right way to live your life. And if you do just want to kind of stay within group norms, then that's okay. But College in Europe is probably not the best case for you in that situation. But the other possibility is that the team the student might be resistant because they think that their social needs won't be met without the traditional American experience. And this is the one that I want to explore a little bit more. I want to talk about sort of the needs that are met through the traditional or supposed to be met through the traditional American experience and how they're met in Europe. So the Greek system in the US it certainly meets the need for you know, parties, and also for presumably for a tight community. So these are needs that are absolutely met in Europe, you know, you certainly you still have clubs, there's something called ESN. We had a whole episode on it on the last season. which often has parties, which has trips, which has all sorts of different activities for international students. Usually it's for study abroad students, but the whole international student community, and actually not just international students can participate in that as well. There's also the international community that you'll be a part of. And I found this a lot with the expat community here in Portugal, you're going through these shared experiences, which really creates these tight bonds that are similar to how one might feel in, in the Greek system. Not only that, there are tons of parties for students in Europe, you know, the drinking age isn't an issue. So people don't have to be sort of like undercover about it. The school will have parties that may involve drinking or may not, you know, but it doesn't have to be sort of a taboo situation, like it sometimes is in the US due to the drinking age, I would say the thing it doesn't have, and I don't think this is a bad thing that the Greek system does, this is sort of like exclusivity, you don't have to worry about you know, not getting into the international community, you're part of it, you don't have to worry about like not getting into this party, because you're not in this frat or sorority, you're going to be into it. And the same, like I mentioned with the nations in Sweden, which is sort of their version of the Greek system, you don't have to worry about not getting it done, I think is a really good thing. So that's just my opinion, though. So collegiate sports, the needs that are met with these, you know, depends on of course, if you're participating, which we'll get into with Adam in just a little bit, but then there are the needs around the collegiate sports scene that aren't about participating. You know, I started, when I went to college, I College helped a little bit. And I started at Vanderbilt University, which was like hardcore southern. So not only was going to football games, a really big thing, but women would get dressed up like we're talking about pearls and heels, and you have a date to go to the football game. And there's a ton of drinking beforehand, even if it's a noon game, and then you're hot, and you've been drinking and you're wearing heels, it was definitely more than the game itself. I don't know that much attention was even played a paid to the game, but it was about this tradition. So whether the need watching collegiate sports feel a FILSS around tradition, or camaraderie with cheering for the same team, or just enjoying watching the actual sport, there are absolutely ways to do it. There are a number of traditions that go along with the university, even outside of sports that students participate in. Sometimes it's for international students. So I'll be sharing traditions of different cultures. Sometimes it's at the university level, and they're like balls, you know, there's a ball to celebrate this. In, I mentioned Sweden before, there's always, you know, mayday or summer's night or, you know, different countries have different traditions to participate in. But the simple fact of the matter is, sports are big in Europe, too. It's just not the collegiate sports. So students do watch sports together, whether it's, you know, in somebody's room, or at the pub, and they have the community either, you know, their friends, the other students, or with the people of the city, who are also, you know, big fans of that particular team. So absolutely the the camaraderie cheering for the same team, watching the sport, that's all there, I have to tell you, even my son, who was not into sports at all, he has gotten into being a fan of certain teams, just by being introduced to this, this kind of the culture and the camaraderie and all of that, by experiencing that with some of his friends. He now has soccer, football teams if he likes and doesn't like just based on these social experiences. So in terms of a centralized campus, I talked about this a little bit before how in the US a centralized campus can certainly meets the need of the ease of getting from building to building, it didn't feel like he's when I was in college, and I'm walking, you know, 10 minutes to the other building in between classes. But the bottom line is, it's not needed in Europe, you know, because again, all of your classes are going to be in usually one building or so. So not only is it really not needed in Europe, but I do feel like that traditional us campus can be sort of limiting, since it almost like provides this this bubble of the university in which you live, as opposed to the actual city. So when I lived in North Carolina, like I said, I lived in Chapel Hill, and UNC Chapel Hill was right there and Duke was like 10 minutes away. And you will not find parties who are both students go to you will find bars at both students go to you know, it's definitely very segregated. But in Europe, you're going to have friends who go to the different universities in the city and you're going to be going to, you know, different student events that are not just about your university, but the other universities. In the city as well, and it'd become sort of like, the city is your campus, which is pretty cool. So in terms of housing, the certainly dorms in the US serve the need of the ease of housing the first year, you don't have to worry about it. They also conform community, you know, you know that you're going to be living with another freshman who, like international students in Europe, you know, you're both going through the same thing together this the same first year of life at a university, and that can create community and such there. Again, these are meant in Europe. Now, housing generally is not guaranteed. There are some cases in which it is guaranteed. But I'm trying to think if I've ever met a student who just didn't get housing their first year. And that's not the case. I mean, there are definitely sometimes more hoops to jump through. You have to make sure you apply by a certain deadline, if you want to get into student housing, but it's there, the student housing is there, it's just learning how to access it, which either through the beyond the state's community or the school, you'll find out how to access it. And again, you're going to be living usually you're living with other international students at first year in student residences, so you're still going to have that community as well. Now housing is structured a little bit differently to I've seen pictures of dorm rooms now. And they look a lot like when I was in the dorms many, many years ago, where of course, you have a roommate, at least one roommate in a fairly small room, and a bathroom that shared with you know, bathroom stalls and whatever shared with the entire floor. Sometimes if you're lucky, maybe you get a suite where you only share a bathroom with four people. But in Europe, having a shared room is very, very rare. And usually in the student residences, you'll have a single room. And you'll either have your own bathroom and sort of kitchenette area, or a bathroom and kitchenette area that's that shared with a certain number of rooms. So because my son started at light in his first year and then went to Erasmus University, Rotterdam, his second year, he did the student residences for both years. And each time, he had his own bedroom with a bathroom that was shared with one other student. His first year in Leiden, he had his own little kitchenette area. And his second year in Rotterdam, he had a kitchen that he shared with one other students. So that's fairly standard. And then this coming year, which is the second year in Rotterdam, he's moving into an apartment with two other students. So most students do that they start with student residences, and then get an apartment, usually apartments are less money. But by waiting to do that year, you get a lay of the land, you meet some friends, so you might want to live with and you get a better idea of your options. So I think it's always a good idea to start in the student residences. So those are just a few of the social needs and how they're met, even though they're presented in a different way. So if you're in that second situation, if you're in that situation where you're open to living outside of the box, and and you're interested in international experiences, but you're hesitant, because you're not sure whether your needs would be met socially, due to this sort of different packaging, I would suggest really asking yourself, why whatever aspect of the traditional American experience is important to you, you know, if it's that the Greek system is important to you, why is that? Is that because of the community? Is that because of the parties, whatever it might be? If it's collegiate sports, why is that important to you? And then really looking at that reason why, which is your need, and consider whether that need can be met through Europe, though packaged in a different way. And again, there are a number of ways to find that information out. We have a number of student ambassadors you can talk to about that. We have recordings with the student ambassadors about different aspects of their life, including social life with a Facebook group. The other thing you can do often there are on university websites a way to ask students questions. So absolutely ask open questions, ask direct questions, to find out if in fact these needs could be met. So we're gonna take a quick break and then we will come back with an interview with Adam who will be talking about his experiences as a student in Europe.

Testimonial: I'm Totti. I'm from Atlanta and I'm in my third year of study at Hunter University in the Netherlands and I found my university through my beyond the states membership. I'd been interested in studying in Europe before I joined beyond the states but the research my mom and I did on our own often resulted in misinformation or information that didn't apply to me as a native English speaker from an American High School. Nobody at my high school knew how to advise me either. With the help of the BTS database membership resources, I was able to explore my different options and get advice from Jen about admission strategies. membership includes more these days than when I was a member of the private member Facebook group includes students and families at all stages of the process when students go to Europe We and our parents can stay in the group. Not only does this mean we can answer questions from members who are exploring, but we can get information and resources during our study. My mom is still in the group and has found it helpful, especially connecting with other parents during the height of COVID. If you're interested in studying Europe, I suggest that you join beyond the States for at least a month. I don't think you'll regret it at all. Check the show notes for details and a link or visit the Services page at beyond the states.com.

Jenn Viemont: All right, well, today I am super excited for you to meet Adam Willis. He is one of our one of our first ish members. Beyond the states, he is spent his time growing up in both Kalamazoo and Chicago and now he is studying at Erasmus University Rotterdam in the management of international social challenges program, which is a mouthful, and is finishing up his degree. So Adam, thanks so much for being here with us today.

Adam: That was a fantastic intro. Wow.

Jenn Viemont: Yeah, you know what, I should have gotten your GPA before I could have thrown that in there too. Right? Make it a resume.

Adam: My high school. I remember I have like, my, my high school GPA was like 4.3. But though it sounds super, like cool, because it's like above 4.0. But he had like, honors classes that like, tears it up. But yeah, you know, it helps a little bit. But no, it’s crazy.

Jenn Viemont: And we'll get into this a little bit is um, so Erasmus University Rotterdam is a top 100 globally ranked school, and they don't even care about GPA, which is kind of awesome. Yeah.

Adam: Yeah, they actually don't care about my SATs score either. Because obviously, it doesn't really carry over. Honestly, that's kind of an advantage of being an international student, they really just look at sort of the profile and the motivation for why you want to come not so much like your, your grades, scores and stuff like that. So I guess that was like, kind of a benefit. Because if you're Dutch, it's much harder, you have to get really good grades to go to a school like Erasmus. Which Yeah, like you said, is like, you know, better than like, 95% of schools in America as well. So, yeah.

Jenn Viemont: And actually, when you apply, they didn't even require a piece that program in restaurants didn't require a PS now they do. It's like a Dutch standard. But um, yeah, it's a lot more about you know, do you have the qualifications to get in than anything else? So tell me this, can you just start by telling us a little bit about how you got to college? And here, what made you think about it? What made you pursue it? So what made you choose this school?

Adam: So initially, I there's a couple of factors that made me sort of this sparked the idea. Like, first off, I am the youngest of four. And I'm a very inspiring family, I guess, international family. And so my sisters, both of my sisters have studied abroad. And I've learned a lot just from traveling, I guess for an American kid, I traveled a lot more for the most part. And when I was younger, I actually lived in South Korea for a little bit of time, for like, months in the summer, I sort of had like this international background, I guess you could say, but my sister, Amanda, she studied at TU Delft, which is not far from where I'm living now. And she was right around my junior year of high school, I was sort of trying to decide, you know, like, what I want to go to school, do I want to be $80,000 in debt, like, this doesn't seem like a very fun thing to do. I don't have like a wealthy family that I could just pay for all these things. So I was just sort of brainstorming, you know, my family and my sister Amanda, she was like, well, there's a lot of schools in Europe that you can go to, you should look into it. And she told me about Rotterdam. Because she, you know, she's my sister. So she knows me. She knows that I would maybe like Rotterdam. And so we started looking into schools. And I sort of, like when I was, I guess, 17 at the time, if you would have told me at that time that I would be going to college in Europe straight out of high school, even after I applied, I still wouldn't have like, really believed it. I didn't really think it was possible. You know, I was like, very, you know, sort of naive, I guess. But I applied to three schools in the Netherlands. And I got into all three. And so my dad when he like, obviously found out that I got into the schools, he's like, Okay, well, let's just go and visit it. You know, I had never been to Europe. So he was like, alright, let's visit the Netherlands visit the schools. At the very least, you know, if you don't like the schools, you get to say that you went to Europe, and you got to see the schools. And that was around, I guess, April of my senior year. So like, I still haven't decided where I want to go to school. Everybody else in my school knows who they want to go. And I'm sort of like, okay, I'm still trying to figure this out. My shirts to school where they're going next year, right.

Adam: You know, like in the yearbook, like, at the end of the yearbook, they have like the school I think I was one that hadn't had it yet. And and so we came to the Netherlands and that's when I really like saw it firsthand. You know, like, okay, I can really do this, and that I could see that this was possible. So initially right, but the main things that sort of sparked the idea was part of it was was financial, and also just the idea of going to Europe. But I think the biggest thing, for me, that really made it an easy decision at the end of the day, was that I knew I wanted to do something unique and different, you know, I didn't want to go to college, just because that's what everyone else was doing. I wanted to you know, surround myself with different people, I've said this before, also in that video that like, I wanted to surround myself with a new environment, and I guess, force myself to, I guess, challenge myself and be and do something totally different. And I guess going halfway across the world was like the best way. So,

Jenn Viemont: You know, you talked about challenging yourself, and your parents actually really inspired me, you know, we have a Facebook member group for all the families we work with, and you are a year ahead of my son. And so when he was going for his first year, you know, there was a lot of talk in the Facebook group, our parents gonna go with their students to like get them set up, which is, you know, a thing in the US and really not so much a thing in Europe. And to see him really didn't care that if I didn't go with him, and my daughter wants me to like go and pretty much move into her room with her. But Sam just was not of your parents were talking about what they did, which was sent you on your way. You guys went over everything, all of the really important things. So you knew what you had to do in terms of residence, bank, all of that. And then they followed up on the things that were really crucial, but kind of left it to you. And I thought that's awesome. Like, how is that for building competence? Right from the start?

Adam: Oh, yeah. I guess what do you put it like that? It sounds pretty cool. I think? Well, first of all, like my stepmom, Lyra, she's just been an incredible help. Like, she helped me to figure out everything, whether there's just like the bureaucratic things like all the paperwork, and formalities, all that stuff, like she was so incredibly helpful. And she helped me get in contact with you, it'd be on the state. So she's just been so incredibly helpful with all that whole process. So, and my dad as well just like, as someone who just really inspires me to really, like, do things, you know, out of the ordinary. But I also primed for this when I was younger, like I mentioned, I lived in Korea for a little bit when I was younger. And this is like, I think, looking back on it, when I said out loud, it sounds kind of crazy. But at the time, I you know, it was quite normal. But I was really young, when I was in Korea, I was probably eight 910 11 years old. And I would you know, my dad would go to work and me and my siblings, we would just, you know, roam the streets of Korea, like by ourselves. And, and that was something, I guess, that I think subconsciously sort of helped me adapt to the world from an international perspective, you know, because I was I just had to learn things on the fly and just sort of live my life, you know, and, and I guess that's sort of a similar approach. When I came here, it was just like, it was just about, yeah, I had that confidence, I guess, in myself that I was gonna be okay. As long as I you know, I'm open to things and open the people. And, and yeah, so it was pretty straightforward.

Jenn Viemont: That's really interesting. Because that's, you know, I talk to a lot of parents who have younger kids, and they say, you know, how, you know, certainly we're not ready to look at schools yet. But what can I do to kind of prepare my kids and I think that's actually a really important sort of lesson your parents taught you there too, is like, hey, the world's not the scary place, you can imagine it even outside of, you know, your little subdivision back in Kalamazoo, you can make the jet and you can be okay, in the crater, which is pretty cool.

Adam: You know, my dad, like, my dad, I feel like my dad really prepared me so well, for just a lot of things in my life, but especially, you know, I still call him all the time, and he gives me such great advice all the time. And, and one of the things that he really told me, when I first came here was like, you're really only going to learn, like 10% of the things you need to know, in the classroom. Like, obviously, school is really important. But you're almost like a farmer, he says, are where you're planting your seeds with relationships, and you have to water your relationships. And I'm saying this, like, I still have to work on this, obviously. But you have to, you know, you have to water your relationships. And that's what you really learn from, like, the people that you connect with, you know, and the things that you learn from your experiences around you. You know, I came here for school, obviously. But there's so many other experiences that I was able to get just from the people that I talked to, and, and the the friendships that I've gained, and also having the opportunity to play baseball here as well. It's just like, you know, these are the things that I was just super lucky to have. And that was just because things that I forced myself to do outside the classroom. And I think that's like a great learning experience for me, you know,

Jenn Viemont: So you presented so many great segues into a few of the things I want to talk to you about. I don't know which one to do for. So let's talk about baseball. You know, as I mentioned to you before, and I mentioned to listeners, one thing I wanted to do now that we're relaunching the podcast is really talk to students who have some sort of unique and interesting aspects of their experience in Europe and there are a few we're going to talk to you about today. One of which, though, is that you play baseball in play If I were to think of what is most American sport, it would probably be baseball. So I was surprised, number one that there's even baseball to do. And then as you know, the collegiate sports scene in Europe is different than the US, I'm hoping you can tell us a little bit about what this looks like, you know, how you got involved, what it looks like, especially compared to what it might look like in the States, since that might be the frame of reference.

Adam: Yeah, it's, um, it's quite different, I think. So I guess I can first go into sort of how I got started with it. I've never been like a crazy good baseball player, like a great baseball player who's just enjoyed working hard and getting better every day. And I actually went, I played my final high school game, I thought that was going to be my last game ever, because I didn't really know where I was gonna go to school. But when I eventually made the decision to come to the Netherlands, part of the reason was also I didn't mentioned before, it was because I knew there was an opportunity to play baseball, because the Netherlands is actually really good at baseball. But they have a very small community. And most of the, like, I would say, 90% of the good players are actually from Curacao and Aruba, like the islands over near Puerto Rico. have, you know, like a small sort of community, I guess, like baseball lovers over here. And it just so happens that the club that I go to, which is it's called curse on Tunis, they're actually the best club in Europe, like, physically, like they've won the European Championship. I think like, four out of the last five years, and they have this huge stadium, this beautiful stadium that I get to play in. Basically, the way I got in contact was I literally, before coming, I Googled, like, baseball in the Netherlands, like, and I found this club. And it's, you know, in Rotterdam, so it's very close to where I'm going to school, or it's in the same city. And I got in contact with, like, the manager of one of the teams, and he just told me, it's like, Hey, if you want to come play baseball, like this club is the best place to do it. And we'd love to have you out here, out here. And then I just sort of came in, I joined I started practicing with them. And then they just sort of took me in under their wing. And then eventually, I was able to join the team. But the way that the teams work, you know, I guess the whole system sports in Europe, is that, like, first of all, you don't play through the school. And even to this day, it's still like Dutch people love to make fun of like Americans for how how much they like, monetize, like young teenagers sacrificing their bodies to put on a show, and they don't even get paid. Like it's, it's, it's really, it's kind of funny when you really think about the system of the American like sports. And like the NCAA, it doesn't really work like that over here. I played for like the city of Rotterdam. I don't play for Erasmus at all. And like the sport teams, you have like, probably 10 Different levels of teams. And so like the top league, or the the top level, that's like it's called like the host class, which is like the head class. And that's those guys are professionals, like they're either former pros, they get paid to play and they actually their games are televised. And, and I play for the second team. So I play for the team right below that we're technically Yeah, so we're like the youth squad. I play for the team closest to the pro guys. So I guess I could say I'm a professional baseball player, because it's like, I guess the Dutch minor leagues?

Jenn Viemont: Is it like minor leagues? 

Adam: Yeah. That's sort of like the joke that we always say like, Yo, we're professionals, Dutch minors, you know. And then so basically, that's how it works. And, and it just goes based on skill level after that, and, you know, they have different age groups and stuff. But, you know, you can say there's probably 1015 different teams, and it just all goes in line of like skill level, and they just put you in based on you know, where you fit best. And, and it's really, I think the system works really well over here, I guess, in Europe in general, because it allows people to play sports at a high level, and still get better beyond their years of what they're expected to play. So I play with guys who are in their 30s, or guys who you know, you know, in America, even if you play in college, if you don't go pro after college, the opportunity to still play baseball is very slim, or any sport is very slim. And I think that's something that in the Netherlands, at least, they sort of take pride in the fact that people play sports here all the time, at any age, you know, and it just keeps going. So I think that's a really nice thing about it..

Jenn Viemont: That's really cool. And you know, what I think is cool about this also, is that it really demonstrates how student life is really about being a part of this city of Rotterdam as opposed to just being Erasmus University of Rotterdam. You know, you have your friends at school. You have your friends from your living situation, whether that's student residences or apartments or whatever. And then you have this additionnal, you know, community from baseball, which is pretty awesome.

Adam: Yeah, I've been here for three years now. And I still when the like topic comes up that I play baseball here, Dutch people are still so shocked that it even exists. And these are Dutch people, people from Rotterdam even, that don't even know that this sort of baseball community exists. So in a way, I've sort of had like this, like, separate community of like, you know, I've played baseball, most of my friends have never seen me play or know, or seen the field. And so I just sort of, like keep that separate, but it is like, it is cool, you know, I guess, to have made those relationships there. And, and I've played with some really, like incredible players, guys who played, you know, at a high level in America, and I've learned a lot, you know, and it's just like, three years ago, I would have never really thought that this would have really been possible, you know, and I think that's something that I am always reminded of every time I go there that I can really appreciate the fact that I guess how far I've come in a sense so.

Jenn Viemont: So I'm thinking about students who might be like, oh, yeah, they've played some other sport and fly right now. I can't think of anything off the top of my head is beyond me. But they've played I don't want to use soccer, because that's so competitive. But rugby like, right, so they played rugby in, in high school. Yeah. And you wouldn't be playing college sports, if they were in the US was sort of like you, you know, like, given this sort of 10 tier system. Of course, most sports, I don't know about baseball, most sports can be played intramural league through different university sports centers, in terms of kind of taking it up a notch from that, would you say that this is how most of them are structured. So a rugby kid might be able to come over and, and contract a club and say, hey, I want to see which level I can be a part of.

Adam: Yeah, there's actually even, there's even American football over here. I haven't seen it with my own eyes. But I played baseball with guys who used to play American football. It's really just a matter of like, you know, finding the right people to get you in contact, but like, Okay, so for example, well, first of all, also at Erasmus, they have sports at Erasmus, but it's just obviously not at like a, I guess, a high level, you know, it's more, it's more like, I guess, intramural, like you say a lot of people just playing basketball for fun that they have levels as well, you know, at the highest level is pretty good. But it's not like schools, you know, really competing with like putting on shows and stuff like that. So they do have sports at Erasmus. But like Erasmus didn't have a baseball team, obviously, that's sort of why I resorted more toward looking at like, I guess, neptunus as the club. But you know, I have roommates that play volleyball as well. And at Rasmus. But to answer your question, if somebody, for example, wanted to play rugby, or basketball, and they didn't think that they wanted to play, like at the school, because it's like not high enough level, they have basically the same thing. For basketball, for example, they have like these external clubs that are sort of like more connected to the city. And that's like really high level playing, and you just have to sort of get in contact with it. I don't obviously don't know, rugby as well. But like, I literally, it was as simple as me just Googling, and then you, you sort of figure out your area of like, what exists there. And, you know, they're always looking for, you know, international people, and then they're accepting people to come in. And yeah, if you if you show up, you know, that's half the job, and then they bring you in, and then, you know, it goes from there, I think at least, I don't know, that's a good explanation. 

Jenn Viemont: But nowadays, it definitely is. I mean, I understand it more clearly. I'm not a big sports person, but I can even I can understand it more clearly now. Yeah. So another thing I want to talk about, I think, is really interesting. I was thinking about this. So you know, your program, of course, is a three year program. And I think a lot about the kids who had their first year of study under COVID, right? And I'm always like, Oh, these poor kids, blah, blah, blah. But then I was thinking about you, and you had your last year and a half affected by it. And I think that is as significant because that first part of your third year is set aside for these really cool, different opportunities. Yeah, so the other reason I wanted to talk to you today, so you can tell us about I mean, I think it's incredible. I don't know how you did I want to know how you did it. But how you're still getting those opportunities, despite the fact I don't know are you technically still ending in May? Are you sending your study anyway, so you can tell our listeners about what you're doing? Okay.

Adam: Yeah, I will try my best so. So I'm, well, first of all, to insert, like, I guess, to address the COVID thing, right? Is another perfect example of like, how my dad gives me good advice about like, really, like looking at the positive side of things. Because I will admit, the last year and a half is for everyone, it's a lot tougher to to not be able to do things, you know, you pay money to go to school, but you can't go to the school. Like every student can relate to how much that sucks, obviously, but my experience is already pretty cool anyway, so I don't have much to complain about. So I was my last year right. So part of my program and the third year like you said, the first I guess summit Sir, it's not really a full semester, but you're supposed to designate about three and a half months to either an internship, a minor or to go on exchange. And when they told us that my first year, I was like, oh, sweet, okay, I'll do a minor internship, like I, in no way, no part of my mind was like, I'm gonna go on exchange. Again, I'm already like, so Well, when the time came, and I saw the list of schools that, that you could go to, I saw that there were a lot of schools from South Korea on there. And one of those schools was Seoul National University, which is, that's like the Harvard of Asia. That's like, when I was in. And also like, as I mentioned, before, I've been I've lived in Korea, Korea played such a crucial role in who I am as a person. And, and so I was like, you know, let me just, like, apply and see what happens. And and it's kind of a funny story, how I how I got into it, I guess. So I applied, and I actually didn't get in initially. But I was so like, I wanted to go so bad, because at this point, I was like, Yo, like, I really love to have this experience to go to Korea.

Jenn Viemont: When you were applying, was this like the beginning of your second year? So it was it was probably for the world sort of stuff moves? Yeah, it was way,

Adam: I would say, like the application process, like COVID came like just after the application. I applied, and I didn't get it initially. But I, and when I got the letter that like I or they gave me like my second option, which wasn't Korea. And so I rode my bike all the way to the school. And I went to the top floor to the exchange office, and I just had a conversation with the lady. I said, like, hey, is there you know, any opportunities for other schools that might have an extra slot? Or is there a waiting list, you can put me on, you know, I've just like, I'm just seeing, like, worst case scenario, they say, like, Yo, screw off, like, she was really nice. And she's like, Yeah, I'll put you on the list. And, you know, if something comes up, I'll let you know, the next day, somebody dropped out, or somebody decided that they couldn't go and didn't want to go, which I thought was bizarre to me. But person is, but like, they opened up the slot for me. And so I get a slot to go to Seoul National University. And so I'm like, you know, ecstatic, basically. And then COVID happens. And just like, basically, well, actually, Korea was one of the last countries to sort of cancel, because I don't know if you know, the situation was really good there for a while. But ultimately, it COVID just sort of like ruined it, I guess. But thankfully, they allowed all the people who got accepted to go on exchange the option to defer it to the following year. So basically, it would sort of be an extension of your your bachelor's. So instead of graduating in July, you would just sort of continue your school, for those extra months that you would do your Exchange, and then you technically receive your diploma after you come back. But this is obviously a very unique scenario that, you know, I've never been in a situation where it was a global pandemic like this. But yeah, so now I'm in that like, moment right now where I'm about to finish my thesis. But I still have a few more months left of school. So I'll have already obtained all of my credits, but I won't be able to get I guess, get my diploma until after Korea. And like the last thing I mentioned before, and now. So because this is, I guess, is another example of like, you know, blessing in disguise type thing, because I wasn't able to go to Korea during that time slot where I had to do the minor the internship, or exchange, I had to find a minor to sort of replace it. And that minor ended up being global poverty, which was really cool minded that I did in The Hague. And I actually went to the Hague a few times for classes, and eventually they'd say, we had to do online, but basically, because of COVID. And I guess, deferring my exchange a year, I got connected with this global poverty course, where I met a whole bunch of new people who weren't from my course, and got connected with professors and teachers that I still am in contact with today, I'm actually going to Greece in a month, and I'm going to, like meet my tutor, like my professor from that course. So it's just like, like, without going into too much detail. I was just like, you know, an example of like, you know, COVID sucks, but like I was to meet so many people because of, you know, you know, having my options open and, and that was like, really cool for me. So,

Jenn Viemont: I think it really speaks to you and your initiative. I feel like number one, I need to have your dad on speed dial for anytime. I'm feeling discouraged. And number two, I feel like I need Sam to have you on speed dial to say do just, you know, go take the extra step. It doesn't hurt anything, you know, just go ask you can you know anyway, it's really it's unique and it's And it's really impressive. So, so tell me this. So you graduate in next fall ish, right? Management of international social challenge GES minor and global poverty semester in Korea, you have a year that you can spend in the Netherlands, of course, looking for a job if you want, and what are your plans,

Adam: I really wish I could be one of those students that has everything lined up, you know, and everything. But I do have options, I guess. So, obviously, I'm going to go to Korea, and really embrace that and try to learn as much as possible, and I'll still have connections from back when I was younger, that, you know, I will, you know, get in touch with and see what sort of opportunities are there as well. But basically, I guess, I have like, sort of three options, I could stay in Korea, and sort of maybe find a job opportunity there in the few months that I'm there. And I'm also going to try to play baseball a little bit there as well, which will be fun. Or come back to the Netherlands and sort of take this like six month grace period to decide, you know, if I want to get a job here, so I'll set, you know, potential opportunities here, or go back to the US and take up some opportunities there. And I'm sort of leaning toward going back to the US, mainly because I've been away from my family for so long. And it would be nice to at least for a little bit, you know, be closer to them for a while. And I just also have potential some nice potential opportunities there as well that I think I want to, I want to at least, you know, take a break as well. And that's also a benefit of having a, I guess, an accelerated three year program compared to the American system, where I'm only 21. And I'll have had my bachelor's degree. And that's a year before everyone that I went to school with, you know, so I'll definitely have time, you know, I have to constantly remind myself that I'm young, and I have a little bit of time. So I think, you know, I want to probably go back to Chicago, and you know, be closer to my to my dad, and then my mom is in Kalamazoo, so it's not far away. And my stay with her as well. So, you know, obviously, I wouldn't just chill out, I would obviously look for opportunities and try to get internships here and there. But yeah, that's, I think, you know, I have potential opportunities, potential plans, I guess. But I still don't know.

Jenn Viemont: The other cool thing about just in terms of options, and having a lot is that that year, and again, you probably know this, I'm saying this, for the listeners, that year that you have after graduating from a Dutch University to look for a job, you can use that anytime up to three years after you graduate. So you go back and then be like, alright, I gave this a try. This was fun. I'd like to go back and look for a job and still move there for a year. And I'd be fine with that, too. And I'll tell you, I'm from Chicago and I miss it every single day. Every single day.

Adam: I feel like I didn't I think I knew that. But I forgot. Well, yeah, no, you

Jenn Viemont: At Carolina, but I lived in Chicago, like my whole life until after we had. So yeah, it's also like, yeah, it's just, it's an amazing place. 

Adam: You know, and I love, I grew up loving that city. And like, that's also I guess another example of something that really inspired me to do something different was that like, when I was younger, being from Kalamazoo, which is a small town in Michigan, I was always that kid that left every summer to go live with my dad and Chicago. And so I was always sort of like, you know, first of all, I was exposed to this beautiful, amazing big city, which is obviously very different from Kalamazoo, the small town. And so from a very young age, I was, you know, exposed to different parts of, you know, the world and Chicago was like a perfect example of like, a city that represents, I guess, America, in a sense, you have like, a rich side and a poor side, you just learn things about the world when you live in a city like Chicago, and, and, you know, all of the, I guess the struggles of certain people and, and it's just a city that has really helped me learn a lot. And I think there's a lot of people, I'm just so blessed, you know, because I was just very lucky to have that, you know, there's a lot of people that I went to school with that had never even left the state or even people in Chicago, from the South Side who've never even seen the north side, you know, it's like, I'm so incredibly lucky to be in this position that I'm in. And, you know, I don't have a particularly wealthy family, but I have family that really stands behind me and is willing to, you know, support decisions that I make. And I think that's like a really, really big thing for me, because when I was initially, you know, making the decision to come to the Netherlands, a big thing that made me really feel good about my decision was that I was making the decision like nobody was forcing me to do anything. It wasn't like I had to make this decision because you know, if I don't do this, you know, it was just it was my decision and because of that, like if worst case scenario, I come to the Netherlands and I hate it or I come to Europe and I like had an I have a panic attack or something like that. I made that decision, you know, and I'm willing to deal with the repercussions. Like, you know, if it goes wrong, I guess, you know, and, and obviously it didn't. But like, that's the big thing for me is like, I wanted to have control over what I wanted to do. And I feel blessed because a lot of people don't have the opportunity to, you know, to really make, I guess, like big changes in their life because they, you know, certain things that are holding them back, whether that's, you know, real institutional barriers, or just mental things, you know, yeah, I think it's just, I'm super lucky. You know, having this conversation made me realize how lucky I am.

Jenn Viemont: And I've listened to him, like, how is he only 21 years old. I mean, your maturity is really incredible. And I have no doubt in my mind that you are going to be doing amazing things and that we're going to talk in a year. And you're going to tell us all about these amazing opportunities that you really made happen for you. So I just I really appreciate you talking to us today. And I can't wait to see where life takes you. 

So before we end, I have a couple of things I want to share with you. The first is about our monthly special, which of course changes each month as the name implies, and the September specials really big. So we have a number of self paced courses that I've developed over the years, there's one about you know how to choose a major as it pertains to the options in Europe. There's another one about walking you through the process of choosing a program in a school in Europe. There's one about admissions, there's one about the options in the Netherlands because other than Ireland, they have more English programs than any other country in Europe. And then there's one about the business options in Europe. So if you purchase these without a membership, they're 50 to 75 each depending on the course. But this month, you get all five for free with your purchase of a membership. So just remember, there's no long term commitment in our memberships, you can cancel after your first month if you want you can you know, sign up dive in take all the courses in the first month, check out the other resources and then cancel whenever you want. So you'll find a link to this special and also more information about this episode in our show notes. You'll also find a ton of information on our site beyond the states.com. There are blogs, some by me, others by our student ambassadors, which are both video and written blogs. And you'll also find more about our various services and our incredible community of members. We'd love for you to follow us on Facebook and Instagram. If you have suggestions for future episodes, just shoot us a message there. And finally, if you enjoy the podcast, we'd really appreciate it if you would leave a review on iTunes or Stitcher. Thanks again for listening.

Jennifer Viemont
Founder & Chief College Advisor

5 Reasons Why You Should Study in Europe

If packing up your whole life and moving sounds more exciting than terrifying, then you'll love what colleges in Europe have to offer you. These are 5 reasons why going to college in Europe will be the best decision you'll ever make:

1. Tuition is much more affordable than the US.

In continental Europe, the average cost of all the English-taught bachelor’s programs is just $7,390 per year. Since 1985, US college costs have surged by about 1000 percent, and tuition and fees continue to rise. Even when you factor in the cost of travel, going to college in Europe if often cheaper than one year of tuition at a state college in the US.

2. There are thousands of English-taught degrees.

Choice is another key issue. When cost is a chief consideration, you may be limited to only in-state schools, where tuition is lower. What if your in-state schools aren’t a good option for your chosen field of study? In Europe there are thousands of programs to choose from across 212 areas of study, and they are all taught 100% in English, so there's no need to worry about learning a new language.

3. International exposure is essential and highly valued.

Students who studied abroad stand out from the crowd when seeking jobs after college. The very act of leaving their comfort zone to make a fresh start in a new place builds skills and confidence that will be carried throughout a student’s life. Silicon Valley billionaire investor, Chris Sacca, describes international study experience as a critical differentiating characteristic among candidates. According to former General Electric CEO Jack Welch, “The Jack Welch of the future cannot be like me. I spent my entire career in the United States. The next head of [General Electric] will be somebody who spent time in Bombay, in Hong Kong, in Buenos Aires.”

4. You'll avoid the US admissions rat race.

The college admissions process in the US has become a race to the bottom as students compete with their peers for a single spot in a liberal arts college, convinced by parents and guidance counselors that their survival rests on playing a musical instrument or varsity sport.Many smart kids don’t do well on standardized tests. This doesn’t limit them as much when looking outside of the US, as many colleges in Europe do not require standardized tests. Many countries see entry into universities as a right, rather than a privilege, so admission standards are not as stringent.

5. Spend your weekends & breaks exploring the world.

Travel opportunities abound when attending college in Europe. For example, Lille, a city in northern France with multiple universities, is close to major cities such as Brussels, London, and Paris via high-speed rail. Air travel, especially with the rise of affordable airlines like Ryanair, EasyJet, and Transavia, can be comparable in price to rail travel, so many more destinations open up for short-term travel.

How to Get Into the World's Top Universities

When you also factor in the many problems with US higher education, it is imprudent not to consider other possibilities. It is true there are many excellent schools in the United States—I don’t think anyone would argue that. There are some that have managed to look at applicants as people, and not just a checklist of achievements. Some even have reasonable tuition rates, and/or professors that actively teach and have highly engaged students. Despite this, I have yet to find a school in the United States that addresses all of these issues: allows students to opt out of the rat race the admissions process has become, have reasonable tuition, AND have positive results around the educational experience and post-graduation outcomes. Not every school in Europe provides all this either, but the schools listed in our database do.

How to Find Degrees in Europe That Are Taught in English

Finding these programs is burdensome, difficult, and confusing, especially with institutional websites in foreign languages... We know that making the decision to study abroad can be difficult, so we want to make it easy for you. We scoured the continent for vetted programs and made them available to thousands of families looking to leave the US and find a better life in Europe. We found over 11,200 degrees, 870 universities, 550 cities, and 32 European countries to choose from. Europe offers an impressive range of educational opportunities!

We have gathered all of the information you need to know about studying in Europe – from the different types of schools available to how to get housing and everything in between. Our database helps you find these programs quickly and easily, helping you contextualize the many benefits and options around higher education in Europe.

You will be able to find programs and courses that suit your interests and needs, taught in English by experienced professors in state-of-the-art facilities. Purchase a membership and search our database of English-taught European bachelor's and master's programs to get started on your journey to Europe today.

Get a Free Insider's Guide

We created free guides that give you the skinny on 5 bachelor’s or 10 master's degree programs in Europe that are taught in English, uber affordable, easy to get into, are great for opportunities, and give you life-changing experiences.

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To explore more countries, cities, and all of the universities, get access to the full database and search through over 11,200 programs taught entirely in English. You're bound to find your ideal program.

Beyond the States matches you with your ideal English-taught college in Europe.

Beyond the States provides access to 11,400+ European bachelor's and master's programs across 870 universities, 550 cities, and 212 areas of study, plus all the resources you need to get there. No sponsorships. No bias.
3400+
English-taught bachelor's programs in our database.
8000+
English-taught master's programs in our database.
550
Beautiful European cities to choose from.
870
Top-tier universities accepting international students.
€293,558
Typical savings against a private university in the US.
€55,098
Typical savings against in-state tuition in the US.
All inclusive of tuition, living, food, books, health insurance, travel expenses, as well as hidden fees. Compiled with data from students and the official websites from KU Leuven, UNC, and Duke.

Listen to the College Insights™ Podcast

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What Transparent Admissions Requirements Really Mean

Featuring Jennifer Viemont
It’s that time of year again… College admissions are on the minds of many students who have attempted to get into their choice schools across the US; it can be a deeply confusing and stressful time for many.
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Master's Degrees in Europe for International Students

Featuring Jennifer Viemont
Her conversation partner this week is Sean Dempsey, a past BTS member and recent graduate of the highly-ranked KU Leuven, in Belgium.
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Will a European Degree Work for Me in the US?

Featuring Jennifer Viemont
Is a degree from Europe valuable enough in the US? Does it allow students to get into grad school and get a good job? Who gives accreditation to universities in the States?
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How to Get a Master's Degree in Europe

Featuring Jennifer Viemont
In today’s episode, Jenn has an interesting discussion with Tiffany, a parent of one of our members, Ethan. She became so interested in the Beyond the States process herself so that she’s amid planning admission for herself and her husband – for a Master degree program in the EU!
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Avoid the Pitfalls of College Rankings

Featuring Jennifer Viemont
How useful are college rankings actually? What do they measure? Can you find great colleges in Europe without relying on rankings?
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The Myth of American Exceptionalism

Featuring Jennifer Viemont
We're going to be talking about the differences in the educational experience, meaning the academic side of things that students have in Europe versus in the US. So I'm always taken aback when people assume that universities in the US are the best globally.

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