Keren Hewett


University: Stenden University of Applied Sciences. In September 2018 it officially becomes known as NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences, following a merger.

Course: International Leisure Management. In September 2018 it is changing to ‘Leisure and Events Management’ (easier for people to find the study).

Which year you are in: 2nd

Home Town in UK: Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk

1. Why did you choose to study abroad?

There are many reasons why I ended up choosing to study abroad, but in actual fact studying abroad was not my first idea when I was beginning to think about universities, I even applied and was accepted for some UK ones with Lincoln Events Management as first choice. My choice was a lot more focused on the course than it was the place, and I always knew I had an interest in the events industry, particularly since working in it part-time from the age of 16.

I always knew I had the ‘travel bug’ always wanting to go abroad and see what the world has to offer, but I did not even consider going abroad until my dad mentioned it one day. Countries outside Europe were too financially ambitious for me, so I focused closer to home and found a ‘Study Abroad Fair’ in London. Looking around all the stands from universities across the world, I cam across a small one from Stenden. I read the brochure and found Leisure Management and automatically fell in love. I liked the fact that it was focused on both events and tourism and everything else in the leisure sector, thus i could study it all and get a broader understanding and then specialise in my third and fourth year of study.

2. How would you rate the assistance of the university before you arrived (the application process, finding accommodation, sorting out financial matters)?

Applying was very easy.

Accommodation was very difficult and not made simple. No one had told us about if there was student accommodation like halls, as there are in England. Only found studentstay online. Stressful for my parents cause they were obviously unsure about it.

International open day was very helpful. They allowed us to stay in the university’s own hotel for a discounted price and then spent the whole day looking after us, showing us around the uni AND the city. Knew from this day that it was definitely the place and study for me.

Sorting out finance, they helped us a lot more when I was there rather than beforehand. Upon arrival, I noticed a bank at the uni and easily enrolled.

3. How would you rate the assistance of the university when you arrived (orientation etc)?

I first was not able to enrol because they did not accept my A-Level certificates. I was not told beforehand that I would need to have them certified by a solicitor. At the time, I was glad my parents were still there on the day of enrolment because my dad managed to solve it by getting in contact with my sixth-form and organising it so it was possible to enrol but bring official copies of my certificates when I received them in November. Annoying that England does not deliver certificates until nearly 6 months after the exams when they have already given you your grades.

4. Did you feel prepared when you arrived and/or what surprised you?


  • Rather than chill at a pub on a warm afternoon, this is not such a thing in Leeuwarden/Holland à parks and terraces (in front of cafes) are instead where you would chill.
  • The bikes were quite surprising. I knew that people in the Netherlands cycled a lot, but the extent is crazy, everyone does!!
  • The use of 24hour clock, I now always write afternoon times like 13,14,15, for example.


  • It is common to cycle to the club, you never get a taxi or walk (walk only when your bike is broken!)
  • Very safe, no need to get taxis home
  • Very late, you do not go to a club before 00:30/01:00, and pre-drinks do not start until around 21:30/22:00

5. How would you rate the learning environment (teaching style, studying with other international students, non-native English speaking lecturers)?

  • Compulsory freshers week, known as ‘Study Start Week’, was a great idea for bonding with the people on your course.
  • Particularly with my study we have a great, comfortable learning environment, even calling ourselves the ‘Leisure Family’. We consider ourselves a family as many of us are from other countries, including two in my year from Asia, so to make us feel comfortable we often do stuff together. All teachers are extremely easy to talk to and you actually feel valued rather than just another number of the many students.
  • All my teachers have English as a second language and some are better than others, but everything I have been taught has been in good English and understandable – this should NOT put people off.

6. Would you recommend studying abroad to someone your age who might never have thought about it before?

Make the leap, it is the best decision you could do. I was the shyest, least confident girl ever, and I have grown so much, and become someone I really do not feel like I would have if I had stayed in England and gone to uni there. You get to have so many more life experiences, and learn so much about yourself, as well as learn to be much more interculturally sensitive.

7. Is there anything you wish someone had told you at the time you applied?

The culture is more comfortable to not live in halls but shared houses. I was too scared/young at the time and I didn’t know anyone, I didn’t want to move into a house with random people. Therefore, I chose studentstay and had a year contract but I absolutely hated it and found it a waste of money, so wish I had only signed a six-month contract, as after this I had made friends that I could’ve moved in with.

Many people think that about studentstay so I wish I had somehow been informed not to do it.

8. Would you recommend your course, university, city to British students?

Absolutely, 100%, completely, yes.

I do know that some people from big cities find it too small, as it is only a town and much smaller than English universities, so I would recommend visiting one of the open days if you are able to, to get a feel of the place.

About A Star Future

A Star Future provides information and guidance to British students looking to pursue their undergraduate studies abroad.

Through our presentations in schools and our websites we aim to ensure that British-educated students are well informed about their choices.