Future Mental Health Counselor Studies Abroad in Amsterdam

Kent State senior Tyler Jones recently studied abroad in the Netherlands with the Amsterdam: Law, Politics, and Policy in the Netherlands program. This exciting spring break program allows students to explore important themes in Political Science while visiting political, historical, and cultural sites in Amsterdam and The Hague.

Tyler standing in a street in Amsterdam.

Preparing for a Career in Drug Crisis Counseling

Tyler is earning a Bachelor of Integrative Studies degree with minors in Economics and Psychology and is pursuing a career as a Licensed Professional Counselor. He was initially drawn to the Amsterdam program because of its emphasis on the Netherlands’ public policies towards drugs. 

“My favorite thing overall was learning how they handled the harm reduction and drug crisis over in Amsterdam. I’d say it was really effective and we can take a lot to learn from it. I personally want to work in drug crisis counseling, so I think the struggles we have here, we can do a lot better through our state funding, local funding, and just as a society to help this harmed population a little more”

He found the program’s site visits to local non-profits like the Mainline Foundation especially helpful.

“I wanted to just learn with the international hub how they handle things in harm reduction and the drug crisis, it’s so prevalent even back home. Going there, gaining perspective, you can bring a lot of that back home and see maybe things that we can do differently or things that they might be doing better.”

Tyler’s study abroad experience also left him feeling more prepared for a future career in counseling.

“I feel like I’ve gained a lot of cultural perspective, especially important in the world of wanting to work in counseling and psychology. Just knowing everybody is different and cultural sensitivity is important, but being aware of the cultural differences is more important.” 

Tyler in a greenhouse in Amsterdam.

Traveling with Other Kent State Students

Tyler also enjoyed the opportunity to travel with other Kent State students on this small-group, faculty-led education abroad program.

“We all felt community, the Kent State community was well represented…. If somebody wasn’t sure of something or if somebody had a question or felt nervous, it felt that we were all there to comfort one another… And we just learned different interests from one another and different insights from what we learned.”

Fun Outside the Classroom

Outside of official class time, Tyler loved exploring the natural beauty of Amsterdam and the surrounding area. “My favorite thing overall was the nature and the scenic views, one hundred percent, it was awesome!” He visited three greenhouse gardens, saw Olympians training for the Paris Olympics in a local park, and even tracked bison.

Tyler also loved trying the cuisine in Amsterdam. He mentioned that though a lot of the cuisine is very similar to what you might see in the United States – “they are a country that loves their meat and potatoes, fried foods, and good sauces” – Amsterdam also has a variety of different cuisines you can try. Tyler highly recommends checking out an Indonesian restaurant and that you try stroopwafel, a Dutch staple!  

Tyler and other students eating a meal in a restaurant.

Tyler’s Advice for Future Study Abroad Students

“If feeling unsure, whether it be financial obligations, emotional, or physical Kent State has a ton of resources available that will certainly help. I personally, having not been financially sure that I can make it … just simply reaching out and seeing how willing Kent state was to help me made it possible. When we don't see it’s possible, sometimes just opening up and asking and looking at your resources, you’re able to see that it is.”

Interested in studying abroad in Amsterdam? Learn more about the Amsterdam: Law, Politics, and Policy in the Netherlands program here. 

POSTED: Monday, June 3, 2024 02:01 PM
Updated: Monday, July 8, 2024 01:03 PM
Desiree Dube, Sr. Education Abroad Advisor