Study Abroad Alum: Leiden Adventure Leads to Job


Studying abroad is often the catalyst to a career. That was the case for Luke Ridout, an alum of Central’s Leiden program who graduated from Calvin College in 2011. Ridout, an English and Dutch language and culture major, studied with Central in spring 2010. His experience abroad led directly to a job in the Netherlands soon after graduation.

“Due to the international experience and language skills I built while studying abroad, I got the opportunity to teach secondary school full-time back in the Netherlands,” Ridout says. He taught at Wartburg Secondary School near Rotterdam, where he instructed in English.

While studying abroad with Central, Ridout made connections that enabled him to achieve the teaching position. He says, “I gained international experience and contacts that I can use in international business and interacting with international clients. Additionally, learning to be adaptable in new circumstances has
endless applications in all types of professions, no matter what field you’re in.”

In addition to his professional connections, Ridout values the small aspects of Leiden living he experienced. “Simply learning how to live daily life in the country that I had intensively studied, but never visited, was unforgettable,” he says. “I still remember the magical feeling of my first view of Leiden’s canals on a snowy winter’s day.”

The Dutch art scene also thrilled Ridout, and he says, “Having Steef (Eman, director of Central College in Leiden) be your personal art history guide in the Rijksmuseum and Mauritshuis was enthralling for me, a Dutch culture major. Having the top paintings from the 17th century within a half-hour train ride was unbelievable!”

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