By Brandon Hartley
Lian de Rijke is currently a sophomore majoring in Music at Webster’s main campus in St.Louis. In this interview, conducted during her summer break while she was in Leiden, the native Dutch student discussed her experiences overseas and her plans to return to the United States to complete her degree.
Why did you decide to study at an American university as opposed to a Dutch one in
After high school, I didn’t know where to attend college. I really wanted to travel and play jazz. I’m a pianist. I grew up in Leiden and my mom works at Webster Leiden. The St. Louis campus has a music department. She suggested that I enroll there because I could study, travel to the United States and play jazz too.
How long were you over in St. Louis?I went in August of 2016 and I was in the United States for nine months. So two semesters
and over winter break.
What were some of the classes that you took?Most were music classes, of course. I also took a writing course because I wanted
to improve my English writing skills. I was talking all the time in English, but as
a musician in a music program, you don’t really write essays. You just make music.
I also took a French class and a psychology class. Most of the classes were small
and I really liked that. The professors were very nice and focused on guiding each
student. Musicianship was probably my favorite one.
Yes, I went to New York City. I had a family friend I could stay with over winter
break. I got to visit a jazz cafe while I was there. I also went to Chicago over spring
break with a friend because it was my birthday. It was a five hour train ride from
St. Louis which, for America, isn’t very far away.
While you were in the United States were you able to travel outside of St. Louis?
They have a very cool library where I studied. It’s pretty big with a lot of study
rooms with windows and nice views over the campus. On the weekends, I also liked going
to the nearby Starbucks. It’s a ten minute walk from campus. I spent a lot of Saturdays
there studying with some coffee. They have a nice coffee cafe on campus but it’s closed
on weekends. My favorite place was the music building, of course.
Were there any places that you liked to hang out or study while you were in St. Louis?
After I graduate, I think I’ll want to stay here in the Netherlands and work on my
master’s degree. For now though, I want to return to America and continue my undergrad
work over there in St. Louis. When I first went, I didn’t know what to expect. I just
wanted to see if I liked it but then I got there and it was everything I wanted. The
program, the people and the campus were all great. The music department is really
awesome. This is why I’ve decided to go back.
What are some of your goals for the future?