Nominated by my professors and school administrators who were seeking to set up an exchange program with the School of Art in Utrecht (Hoogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht, or HKU), I was one of two students sent over from SIUC (for a semester each) in an exchange with a painter and graphic design student from Utrecht who came to SIUC for a year.
Relative to what I had experienced at an American University, I found art school in Holland to be very lax. There was almost no supervision or direction; I wasn’t even required to attend any classes. I did go to some drawing classes, but the instructor spoke no English and I had only rudimentary Dutch.
Due to the housing shortage in Utrecht, I rented the apartment from a Dutch student who away on her own exchange. I was given a painting studio three miles away in an abandoned building with no heat or running water. I saw the painting professors only once, when my American professor came to visit. Although the experiment in exchange ultimately failed due to the many inconsistencies between the Dutch and American higher education systems, It was still a valuable experience for me. I made so many friends from all over the world there, and I got to travel to Amsterdam on numerous occasions to see the museums there.
On my way back to the United States, I stopped over again in Scotland at Hospitalfield for three weeks.