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Welcome Hans!

13 februari 2024
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We are excited to introduce you to our new program coordinator: Hans Woudsma!

What is your background, and can you tell us about personal experience related to moving
to the United States?
At a young age, I already knew I wanted to have an abroad experience in my life while working on my professional development. I studied Media & Communications at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. During my time as a student, I tried to find an internship in the USA, but quickly realized finding an internship company is not easy when you don’t live there. I also learned the US visa process is difficult, so I stepped to Stage-Global in 2017.
Thanks to Stage-Global I was able to find an internship program in NYC where I experienced the best time of my life. It was an unforgettable experience and as the end date came closer, I realized I didn’t want to leave yet. As a result, I extended my J-1 visa and stayed in NYC for nearly a full year. Moving back to the Netherlands in 2018, I quickly realized that this was not my favorite place and I started to miss my time in the USA. I worked on my last semester of school remotely from Toronto, Canada, and graduated in April 2019.
During my time in Canada, I managed to obtain a new position in California. I went through a second J-1 visa process and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area as soon as I graduated. I worked on a Search Ads project for Google for 2.5 years where I needed to utilize the Dutch language. Afterward, I worked on another content writing project for Meta for another 2 two years before joining Stage-Global in 2024. I am now very excited to assist other young professionals and provide them with personal recommendations so that every individual can have an amazing experience abroad like I did.

What fascinates you the most about your experience in the USA?
Short answer: the broadest way of opportunities that are available to you in every sense you can think of. From a cultural and traveling perspective: the USA is a huge country. You have so many different places to travel to and it will take you a very long time before you have seen it all. There is always something new to experience in this country. As it’s so big, you have many different climates and landscapes to choose from. NYC gave me the overall best city experience, but the West Coast has the most beautiful nature and national parks I’ve seen in my life. From a personal development perspective: you meet a lot of new and interesting people along the way. I was able to expose myself to experiences and situations that I wouldn’t have been able to do if I stayed in the Netherlands. And without realizing it, my English skills became excellent as you’re communicating in English every day. I highly recommend every individual to go abroad while they’re still young as I believe it is an experience that every individual could only benefit from.

What other international experiences do you have related to traveling and spending time abroad?
I try to expose myself to other countries, languages, and cultures as much as I can. I realized the USA is a very diverse country and even here you get to meet many people from around the world. Even though I live in the USA permanently now, I still try to get outside the country and experience new places. In the last two years, I was able to visit countries like Costa Rica and Mexico, and several European cities that I hadn’t visited before. I believe my international experience will never end as it never gets too much or boring for me. I will continue to enrich my life and I believe every individual should do the same.

Describe your recommendation in life that you would give to any person:
Nowadays many people can travel and visit new places, but the experience of short-term traveling is never the same as when you live and work there long-term. I believe the experience of living and working abroad for at least a few months is just as important. If you’re considering a program abroad to work on your professional development: do not doubt it and don’t let anyone talk you out of it. Proceed with your dreams and goals in life and start your program abroad as soon as you’re ready.