NVU hosts first international exchange student

At the beginning of the spring semester, NVU-Johnson received its first international exchange student, Gijsje Maas, from the Netherlands.

While Johnson has had plenty students study abroad, Maas is the first international student to spend her exchange at NVU. This is the first time Maas has come to the United States, but she’s no stranger to international travel.

Maas recently lived and worked in Australia during her gap year, while also managing to visit New Zealand, Sri Lanka, India and Indonesia.

Growing up she travelled a lot with her parents—covering Thailand and most of Europe before graduating high school. “I know I can handle myself,” said Maas. “I am able to rely on myself and I am able to overcome things that would bring most people down.”
The Exchange was facilitated by the International Student Exchange Program (ISEP) in partnership with Kinerson. NVU-J partnered with ISEP last year to provide exchange opportunities for one to two semesters at a time. “We believe travel study is a valuable component of our students’ education and we recognized the opportunity that existed for our students with this particular program,” said Director of Advising and Career Services, Sara Kinerson.

The program currently has two methods of exchange: ISEP, in which the student pays the tuition of the home institution; or ISEP-Direct, in which the student pays the tuition of the host institution. Students are fed and housed by their host institutions and are put in contact with an ISEP coordinator for support.

Both forms of ISEP process financial aid, so any aid can be used during the exchange. The program has flexible course offerings, so students can fulfill general education requirements or electives during their exchange.

NVU-Johnson has two students studying abroad, Josje Bonnet and Delanie Clarke. Bonnet is studying at the University of Roehampton in London, England, while Clarke is studying at Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland. Every time a student travels abroad through ISEP, another spot opens for an international student to come here. Since the university already had two students abroad for the semester, NVU-Johnson was able to host Maas for her exchange.

Maas’ home institution, Radboud University, highly encourages studying abroad and even offers a semester abroad to count as a minor. Since Radboud requires students to have a minor, Maas seized the opportunity and chose to come to the U.S. through ISEP.
Despite her expansive experience traveling for work and pleasure, Maas still thinks studying abroad is beneficial to students. “It’s a way to still have an education, but in a different place with new people and new things to see,” says Maas, “All these things they have here—I wouldn’t be able to do them back home.”

When asked why she chose to come to the United States, Maas said, “There’s this image of America in European and Dutch media—there’s this image in my head also—and it’s not really a good image. I just wanted to see for myself what it’s really like.”

Application deadlines for fall or full-year exchange is Feb. 1, and spring exchange is July 1. To be eligible, students should have cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher (some universities may set the standard higher for acceptance) and should be in good personal and financial standing with NVU-J.

Eligible students are encouraged to contact Sara Kinerson at https://MeetWithAdvisor.as.me/SaraKinerson or call (802) 635-1257 to schedule an appointment to discuss the application process.