My experience of UStudy and studying in the US.

From the age of 6 I began to wonder what it would be like to live in the USA. A childhood dream that slowly disappeared during high school. During my last year at school, I heard about a UStudy showcase for students who wanted to play basketball in America.

From that moment the idea came back. “Was it really possible” crossed my mind. I registered and participated in the showcase led by Gerry Freitas (who was more famous that I initially realized). The observation report from Gerry was very positive and I made an appointment with UStudy. Afterwards I was sure this is what I wanted to do.

The process went very smoothly. The help and advice from UStudy was clear. A tight schedule of “things-to-do” was handed to me while UStudy searched for schools that matched my preferences: Nice school with the opportunity to really play on the varsity basketball team. UStudy produced a list of schools that matched my preferences.

One school stood out above the rest. Johnson & Wales University, a relatively small school in Denver, Colorado. In addition to getting a chance to play basketball, the school offered a scholarship, and the environment was a “perfect fit” for me. A young vibrant city with huge mountains in the surrounding area.

UStudy put me in touch with the school, and the coach. This meant that before my arrival in Denver I had contact with various people which made the transition much easier. After completing the admission requirements and passing my final exams, I had to wait until I could finally leave.

On arrival everything went very smoothly and was all arranged, and I was able to report for the first practice session at 6 am the next morning.

For a year I played basketball, studied, climbed mountains, and got to know people. It was everything I thought it would be and it triggered something in me that will stay with me for a long time. I was hardly homesick; in fact I was more homesick for Denver once I got back to the Netherlands.

I was able to make my childhood dream come true with the help of UStudy. I made friends that I still talk to regularly and twice I have been back to Denver to visit everyone. One of these visits was at the invitation of the college where I participated in a project for children who later want to play basketball at college.

Although I am now studying in Utrecht, I feel less at home here than I did in Denver. I will definitely return there as often as possible.

Martijn Bernhard – Johnson & Wales University
2011 – Basketball (student)

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