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Brent Decoste's Story

Brent Decoste in The Netherlands in 2023

Upon arriving in the Netherlands at Schiphol airport I met with some of the students from Hanze University who were ready to help take myself and several other summer school students from the airport to Groningen by train. The Hanze students were able to give all of us some great advice on navigating Groningen and some great places to visit to fully experience the city. I met students from Arizona, west Virginia, Toronto, Nova Scotia, and Manchester. Elanna one of the organizers of the summer school took us on a short city tour where she was able to show us the grocery store, pharmacy and a few other shops located near my accommodations.

The first Monday that we were in Groningen it was the Pentecost holiday which allowed us to have a free day to soak up the Dutch culture and that evening we went to have a dinner with all the students who were taking part in the summer school program. The meal was great, and I got to meet even more people including people from Tanzania, Germany, Ukraine, Netherlands & of course more Canadians. Tuesday it was time to start our business school at the university of Hanze. The first day of business school was a bit stressful as we started to get right into doing lots of work and learning lots as well.

During the first week we were paired up in groups and our group studied the business simulation game where our group had to manage a cell phone company and produce as much profitability for the company in a sustainable way. We had a sustainability business class, a country special on Great Britain & Italy, Intercultural management, European marketing & history of the European union. Saturday June 3rd, we embarked on a journey to the island of Schiermonnikoog. We biked to the beach which was beautiful and me and everyone else went for a short swim in the North Sea. The second week of school became even more intense with the workload increasing and the deadlines getting much closer. I had a few new classes this week which were a country special on Germany, an excursion to Bytesnet which is a data center, cost price calculation course, financial systems course, and European Law. We concluded our week with a tour of the local craft beer brewery called BaxBier. I would have to say that the highlight of the second week had to be the tour of the BaxBier brewery, which was both very interesting and, they had great beer.

Throughout my time in Groningen, I met so many great people and created so many lasting relationships that I know I will have for the rest of my life. The schooling was fantastic and the professor’s way of teaching in a small classroom setting and engaging the students in productive conversation to me is one of the best ways to learn as a student. This trip has changed the way that I look at life, each morning that I woke up I felt recharged and regenerated because of the great food and exercise that I received. This was a once in a lifetime trip for me and I learned so many skills to utilize such as cross-cultural communication, marketing strategy, sustainability, European law, public speaking and more. I closed off the course by having the honor of representing the class as the class valedictorian and the team that I was part of won the sustainable marketing presentation in Amsterdam to Rituals Cosmetics.

Overall, this is such a great experience for students, and I recommend you take advantage of this great program offered by NSCC.