International Newsletter

Green River Alumnus Pursues PhD at Yale University

By Remco Zwetsloot, May 19, 2016

Remco Zwetsloot, AA at Green River (2009-2011) BA in International Relations at University College Roosevelt (2011-2014), MPhil in International Relations at University of Oxford (2014-2016). , Ph.D. in Political Science at Yale University (2016).

I originally came to Green River wanting to do a gap year, looking for an international and educational adventure after high school. After three months at Green River, however, I was convinced that I wanted to stay and get my Associate’s degree. Quite shy when I first got to the US, I had managed in a very short time to find a great group of friends, a job on the college newspaper, and I was academically challenged and interested in my classes for the first time in my life.

During my time at Green River, I learned lessons that I am still using today and without which I would never have gotten into my graduate programs at Oxford and Yale. Not only did I learn how to write papers, argue well and present in front of large groups of people, the extracurricular activities on campus were also pivotal learning experiences.

Because of my experience in college journalism at Green River, I was offered a scholarship by the Netherland-America Foundation to participate in The Fund for American Studies’ political journalism summer program in Washington DC in 2012. Having tutored many fellow international students from Asia during my time at GRC, I ended up going to Wuhan University, China, in 2013 for a summer program to explore a country I only became interested in during my time in the US. After finishing my Bachelor’s, I applied and was accepted to a prestigious graduate degree at Oxford, and now, coming full circle and returning to the US for my final educational experience, I will be starting a PhD in political science at Yale. I, without a doubt, wouldn’t have dreamed of doing even half of these things had it not been for the ambition and love of learning I acquired while studying at Green River.

People often ask me what the main lesson I learned from studying abroad was. It’s a question that’s impossible to answer. Even years later, I occasionally find myself thinking back to experiences that I didn’t realize mattered until recently. What I can say is my time at Green River affected me in all walks of life: personal, social, and academic. I’m sure I’ll continue reaping the benefits for years to come.

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