During my first year at UC Berkeley, I often felt alone. I had just moved from Tallahassee, FL and needless to say, I didn’t know anyone. My Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) class sizes were huge and I felt like I didn’t really connect with anyone. I was worried that the next 3 years would be the same story, until I took Dutch 171AC. Before this class started, Professor Jeroen Dewulf always went around the room and talked to his students. He showed a genuine interest in his students and wants to really get to know them. One day, when he spoke to me and found out that I speak Dutch, he asked me to stop by his office later that week to talk about doing a Dutch Studies minor. After talking with Jeroen, I immediately decided that I was going to adapt my course schedule so that I would be able to complete the Dutch Studies minor. I could not have made a better decision during my time at UC Berkeley. The culture and literature classes from Jeroen were incredibly interesting and allowed me to learn more about Dutch history. All his lectures were engaging and I looked forward to them every day. Esmée van der Hoeven’s Dutch language courses allowed me to practice my spelling and grammar as well as speaking with my fellow students through a wide variety of fun exercises, including a mock interview! I truly enjoyed her very small class sizes; a stark difference from my major classes. Over the next 3 years, I kept working more with the Dutch Studies Department and was later able to work as the department’s Student Assistant, through which I organized the weekly “Koffieuurtje”, a way for the Berkeley Dutch community to get together and connect. I fully enjoyed all aspects about the Dutch Studies Program and the support that I received from both Esmée and Jeroen during these past years helped shape me into the person who I am today. If you’re thinking about taking any Dutch courses, do it! You won’t regret getting to know this amazing community of people.
Lisanne van Engelen, B.S. Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Class of 2019.