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Amsterdam, Netherlands: Dutch Criminal Justice (Summer)
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Christian Hinds

Major: Criminology
Minor: African American Studies, Sociology
Hometown: Freeport, PA

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

For my study abroad program, I spent a month in the Netherlands. It involved a 6-credit course about the Dutch criminal justice system. While abroad, I had the opportunity to compare Dutch culture and American culture. One thing that hit me hard was the fact that almost everyone from the Netherlands speaks at least two languages. I felt at a disadvantage because I am not proficient in this skill set. I was grouped with people that I keep in contact with today and see as family. I was able to network with my fellow students and other important figures in the Dutch community.

How did this experience impact you academically?

While studying abroad in the Netherlands, I was very focused on every piece of information that I was introduced to. I was already interested and excited about what was about to come because I was leaving the United States for the first time. When I finally got to the Netherlands, it was very easy for me to ask frequent questions and to observe and analyze everything little thing inside and outside of the classroom. This awakened another side of me and helped me to listen to and portray things that I interpreted and analyzed. Walking into this semester, I am taking advantage of this skill, and I feel more focused than ever.

After finishing my study abroad program and working to create a new me this entire summer, I feel more confident in my abilities than I have any other semester of my college career.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

After finishing my undergraduate studies and graduating this coming December, I plan to work in investigations. After finishing my study abroad program and working to create a new me this entire summer, I feel more confident in my abilities than I have any other semester of my college career. My experience has led me to desire to further my education. I have spoken with a few people that are close to me, and a lot of them have mentioned working for a while to help pay for graduate school and then returning to school. Finding funding could change my perspective on this decision.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes, I would recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students and have done so already. Having the opportunity to study abroad will open one's eyes and thoughts. Presumably, you have spent about 18–22 years in your current setting, which you are used to. Suddenly, you are placed somewhere that is brand new to you with new ideals and a different way of going about getting something done. The programs will force to you compare these differences and similarities to things you are accustomed to. This will help you develop a way of looking at issues from a different perspective.

For more information on global opportunities for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.
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