Toppers Tour Around the World: Amsterdam

Tompkinsville senior Evan Brown studied abroad in Amsterdam this summer. Photo submitted by Evan Brown

Kalee Chism

Over the next several weeks, the Herald will be publishing stories about the summer adventures WKU students have taken around the globe.

Being able to study abroad and experience a new culture is a dream for many students, and at a school that is a “Leading American University with International Reach,” this dream can become a reality. 

Evan Brown, a senior from Tompkinsville, embarked on a faculty-led study-abroad trip to Amsterdam this past summer to study sociology.

“Amsterdam is a world class city, an epicenter of culture and politics,” Brown said. “I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to spend time studying a society as advanced as the Dutch.” 

While abroad, Brown took a course called Social Deviance, which examines how groups define certain behaviors, beliefs and conditions as violations of group norms. Brown’s group focused specifically on the social policy in the Netherlands. 

“Our main areas of study were sex work, drugs and euthanasia policy,” Brown said.

A few of the places the study-abroad group visited were the Prostitution Information Center, the Anne Frank House, a lecture at a heroin addiction clinic, Our Lord in the Attic and many other destinations, according to Brown.

However, Brown said one of his favorite destinations of the trip was visiting the Van Gogh Museum.

“I am not huge into visual art, but Van Gogh is one painter I have always liked,” Brown said. “He was never given formal education in art; he just made it up along the way. I have always admired that.” 

Outside the faculty-led trip, Brown was able to travel independently to England and to attend a Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United. Brown hopes to incorporate the excitement he witnessed at the match into his involvement with the WKU Red Wave, a student-run organization that is committed to building excitement and school spirit for Hilltopper athletics.

“I am heavily involved with WKU Red Wave and study fan cultures all over the world looking for inspiration,” Brown said. “Tottenham has had a huge influence on what I want to bring to the Hill.”

Numerous study-abroad opportunities are offered through WKU each year. According to Leslie Ford, a graduate assistant in the office of Study Abroad and Global Learning, studying abroad can help students find their passion in life and point them towards a field of study.

“Study abroad is really good with developing retention and reinvigorating students to [learn],” Ford said.