Marjo Rouvoet, left, is taught the basics of shooting a gun by her roommates father, Dennis McPhillips. Shooting a gun is a new experience that being in America has presented to her. This is not allowed in the Netherlands Rouvoet said.
International student Marjo Rouvoet is a long way from home, about 4,500 miles away in fact. Rouvoet, a senior social science major, came to UNK through a student exchange program from Roosevelt University in Middelburg, Netherlands.
“I really wanted to study in America, because I like being in a different culture, and because it’s a good experience I think to go somewhere else besides your own country,” Rouvoet said.
One of the first things she noticed was the difference in the two cultures, including size and the products she would buy in stores.
“It’s different from the Netherlands, since everything is bigger here. The streets are really wide, and for instance, if you buy a cola here, the sizes of the cups are really huge, and cars are much bigger here as well. Moreover, most students in the Netherlands don’t own cars, but ride bikes,” Rouvoet said.
The city of Kearney may seem small to some of us, but not to Rouvoet.
“Middelburg is more compact, so I can go anywhere I want and be there with-
in 10 minutes biking. Here it’s harder to go somewhere, since you are dependent upon other people’s cars. So here I spend most of my time on campus, whereas in Middelburg I go more to other places.”
Campus life has also been a new experience for Rouvoet. At Roosevelt she attended a campus with only 200 students compared to the approximate 6,500 students at UNK. She is involved in Christian Student Fellowship, and participates in Chi Alpha and Campus Roots.
“The biggest adjustment here has been living on an American campus. In Holland, we do live on campus, but have our own rooms with a bathroom and kitchen. Moreover, we cook ourselves, rather than going to the union where everything is ready to eat,” Rouvoet said.
Rouvoet speaks the English language well, yet another adjustment is talking English all the time. In Middelburg, while she is supposed to speak English she has the luxury of using Dutch words at times.
At the end of the fall semester, Rouvoet will return to Roosevelt University to finish her three-year studies program. She looks forward to once again eating her home-style food and cooking for herself, as well as being able to go home on the weekends and go shopping in between classes.
Rouvoet says she will miss the campus and the nice people here and take with her the lessons she has learned.
“Generally being in America helped me to be more independent, since you travel somewhere where you hardly know anybody, and you do not really know what it will be like. I think that is probably the biggest lesson coming here.”