NHL Stenden

Nienke van Kassel

Student Leisure & Events Management

Nienke van Kassel (20) is a Leisure & Events Management student. She has always wanted to go to America and this is exactly what she did! She did her minors at Michigan State University and lived the ‘college life’. Nienke: “It was just like in the movies. Students were wearing sweaters with college logo’s on it and when the sports team was playing, of course, everybody was cheering them on.”

Nienke van Kassel

”This was my chance to realise my dream of going to America.”

“I have known for a long time that I wanted to go abroad. NHL Stenden gives you the opportunity to do so with the Grand Tour, but this didn’t suit me. I wanted to go to new places with entirely new people and the American exchange programme seemed exactly right for that. I have always wanted to experience American college life. Then I saw that NHL Stenden hosted an exchange programme and two people got to go to Michigan State University. I thought the odds that I would be one of the two to go were really small, but of course, I grabbed the chance. This was an opportunity that I couldn’t ignore! Evidently, this was my chance to realise my dream of going to America. To apply for the spot I made a video and this got me accepted into Michigan State University and in addition to that, I got a scholarship.”

The School system

I like America so much because it is so different from The Netherlands. Although I do think that I prefer the school system in The Netherlands. The classes are smaller and there is more personal attention for individual students. I know that the personal treatment on NHL Stenden is not found on every university of applied sciences in The Netherlands, but the contrast in America was noticeably big. I have chosen beforehand subjects that would benefit me in the future. Accordingly, I chose subjects such as planning, communication, hospitality management, and German. Communication is, of course, an important skill to master as an event manager. Just as marketing is vital. In the course, there has not been giving much attention to those fields, but I do find them interesting. I picked German because I thought about doing my internship in Austria so to brush up on my German seemed like a good idea. Luckily I did learn a lot about the event industry, evidently, because American has a lot of big (sporting)events! I always thoroughly enjoyed seeing how things were carried out in real life.”

Making Friends

“During the exchange, I met lots of new people. Most of my friend were exchange students themselves. Together your time as a college student will be all the more fun. We made a bunch of trips together and in the evenings we always made an effort to have dinner together. In the five months that I was in America, I was surrounded by people 24/7, but this turned out awesome for me.

A different kind of creativity

Of course, my study programme is more than those five months in America. In the second year of my course, we did a project for the module ‘World of Leisure’ where we got to create our own magazine. I enjoyed this project most of all because it was a mixture of our normal work in the sector and tapping into a different kind of creativity. I thought it especially instructive to see that as a group we were on the same page by working well together. That good working atmosphere ensured that we produced a beautiful magazine.”