In summer 2018 our daughter Cato mentioned that she would maybe like to study in America. The combination of studying and playing hockey in a sports-minded country like America really appealed to her. Based on a few good references we decided to meet with Marina Meijer at UStudy.
The orientation meeting quickly revealed her enormous knowledge and experience in something that was still unknown to us. Different educational institutions, scholarships, and admission requirements were discussed. It became apparent that this was a serious, intensive, and time-consuming process requiring expert guidance.
But the meeting was also a chance for Marina to get to know Cato, I noticed that she really paid attention to that. To learn about and understand her, both from a sports view but also on a personal level, so that ultimately she could find the right place for her.
What followed was a year in which everything took shape, and we were literally and figuratively embraced by UStudy. There were a few events where general knowledge and experiences were shared, but above all there was specific support for Cato.
Soon the large network of UStudy and Marina in particular showed to be fruitful, and contact was made with a few beautiful universities. Video calls were arranged with the various coaches who had shown interest in Cato and we were advised by Marina how to handle these.
Meanwhile Cato was paired with Amy McGriff who is an Application Specialist at UStudy, and she guided her on everything related to application/admission requirements, both generic (TOEFL/SAT/ACT), but also university specific. This is a whole separate subject, and we were incredibly happy with the support of Amy.
November 2018 was decision time. At Marina’s suggestion Cato had visited 3 universities and eventually fell head over heels for the University of Virginia, and luckily the feeling was mutual. With a great scholarship offered she flew back to the Netherlands to complete her exam year and get ready for her big adventure in the US. Behind the scenes we had to arrange things like insurance, housing, visas etc. It was great to have UStudy there to help with such things.
Now, April 2021 and Cato is in her 2nd year in the US. We facetime regularly and visit her as often as possible. And yes, it is a long way away, but her constant smile makes up for a lot. Her adventure in Virginia enriches, it fits.
We are now more experienced and know that America is a country of many possibilities, but also great diversity. It is a thin line between a match and disappointment. For us, even more reason to recommend the expertise of UStudy, an organization where inhouse knowledge, years of experience, the right network, and personal attention come together.
Cato Geusgens – University of Virginia
2019 – Field Hockey (parent)