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Clemens ’17 wishes Netherlands Castle stay was longer

Kasteel Well - Summer 2015 group photo

Students at Emerson's Kasteel Well in the Netherlands pose for a group selfie during the summer of 2015. (Courtesy Photo)

Daniel Clemens ’17 spent five weeks in the Netherlands at Emerson’s Kasteel Well this summer and says his only regret was not extending his stay.

“I didn’t want to spend an entire semester away from Boston, which was why I went with the summer program,” Clemens said. “It was one of the best experiences of my life. I wish I could have stayed longer!”

Global Spotlight SeriesClemens, a Visual and Media Arts major from Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania, embarked on his European experience with 15 other students.

Emerson’s Netherlands study abroad program is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year—just as the Office of Internationalization and Global Engagement has expanded summer abroad offerings to students through the Global Pathways initiative.

Students this summer are also studying in Greece, Czech Republic, Mexico, Ireland, and Austria. More opportunities are expected for next summer.

Like many students at Kasteel Well, which is commonly referred to as “the Castle,” Clemens visited several European countries during his trip, including Belgium, Italy, England, and Spain.

“I’d never been anywhere outside the U.S. or Canada,” Clemens said. “I feel more cultured and aware of other parts of the world and learned how to handle myself in different situations.”

Clemens, Daniel

Daniel Clemens '17 attended Emerson's Kasteel Well in the Netherlands in the summer of 2015. (Courtesy Photo)

Clemens said one of those situations was a comedy of errors involving him and friend Zack Rothfeld ’17 as they nearly missed their flight from England to Spain.

“We missed one of the buses we were supposed to take. We were sprinting through the airport and almost missed our flight,” Clemens said. “Next time we will definitely know to plan things better.”

Clemens’ learning experience, of course, also took place during weekday classes and guided tours with faculty members.

This summer’s course focused on art history and digital photography, with faculty members Gerlo Beernink and Rob Duckers, and included a project that had students taking photographic portraits of local business owners near the Castle.

“Europe is just so photogenic and beautiful,” Clemens said. “We were going to be taking pictures anyway, so it was a lot of fun.”

Students took classes five days a week and had homework assignments, which made exploring on weekdays limited, he said. But the faculty brought students to Belgium and Italy—to Florence and Venice—on the first weekend of the course, and students took weekend trips after that on their own.

“It was a nice way to see the cities,” Clemens said. “We’d walk around with our professors during the day, and because they live in Europe it was like having a tour guide. Then we could go back later in the day or at night to explore on our own.”

Clemens said he felt “super close” to his fellow students by the end of the trip.

“I wasn’t expecting to make so many new friends halfway through college,” he said. “I definitely plan to hang out with these people in the fall in Boston, which I’m really happy about.”

Editor's Note: This article is part of the twice-weekly Global Spotlight Series that examines the experiences of Emerson College students who worked or studied abroad this summer. New articles will appear Mondays and Wednesdays in August on Emerson College Today.

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