Parent Stories

Bas Vermeulen: From club tournament to university golf team

A year ago, Bas Vermeulen’s parents waved goodbye to their 20-year-old son as he embarked upon a new adventure at St. Leo University in Florida. The Dutch athlete was scouted to play on the university’s golf team. His father, Peter Vermeulen, reflects upon the path Bas took and shares his advice for parents whose sons or daughters are thinking about starting a similar adventure.

The first time we heard about his American dream was after Bas had taken a career test. Before that, he never voiced his desire to study in the United States. From that moment on, his mother and I encouraged him to make his dream come true. We immediately started researching the possibilities available.

His dream started becoming reality

We were curious to find out if he would qualify for scholarships. We decided that he would take a year off after graduating high school, so we could fully prepare ourselves.

During that year, he competed in two golf tournaments – one in Germany and one in the US. He did so well in the US tournament that he was scouted by a college coach. From that moment on, his dream started becoming reality.

When he received a scholarship offer from St. Leo University it felt like we hit the jackpot. The golf team has a great coach who has played professionally as well. The golf course is located close to campus and St. Leo has a great academic program too. The coach really wanted to add Bas to the roster. The athletic scholarship the university offered ended up covering a large part of the school’s tuition.

In addition to his scholarship Bas also received a merit scholarship for good grades. I did wonder why an American school would award a foreign student on academic scholarship but as it turns out his ACT test results were above the school average. I think it is great that the American education system is geared towards pushing students to get the most out of their academic abilities and encouraging them to do their absolute best.

Staying in touch…

The first couple of days after he arrived we spoke frequently. His roommate had not arrived yet.

Right now, his mother and I take the most initiative when it comes to staying in touch with Bas. That is a good sign too. I guess it means that he is enjoying his time there. He is incredibly happy and it seems like he has finally started to settle in.

He has classes in the morning, while the afternoon is reserved for golf practice and games. Outside of that, he needs to do his homework. He is busy, but he is extremely enthusiastic about it all.

You need someone with the right knowledge

It is important for parents to understand that when you decide to embark on such an adventure, you need to have someone you can turn to who has the right knowledge and experience.

We did a lot of research ourselves but Marina from UStudy really pointed us in the right direction.

The story starts and ends with you – it is your responsibility to get the most out of your own experience in the US. And I think that Bas did just that, but it would not have been a success without UStudy.

At one point Bas started to hesitate. How much will it all cost? What are their expectations? But if your child starts doubting the feasibility of their dream, then you, as their parent, must say: go for it!

At one point, we simply told him that we were going through with it. And if he really did not want to proceed, we assured him that he could stop at any given time.

It takes courage to take on such an adventure, but it is a privilege to get this chance. I am jealous of the fact that I did not have such an opportunity.

So, parents, take my advice and say: grab this chance, and go for it. Start the adventure!