Double the Fun

After growing up in Pella and going to college in his hometown, the political science and economics major was excited about the chance to experience true independent living outside the U.S.

“I knew I wanted to go to London for sure,” said Ellingson, who was attracted to the internships available at CCA’s London, England, program. Although countless placements are available around the city, the political scientist in Ellingson was attracted to a Parliamentary internship.

Ellingson realized he had a window of three semesters—from the beginning of his sophomore year through the middle of his junior year—in which to complete his two semesters abroad. Despite being initially drawn to London, he decided to study in Leiden, the Netherlands, during the first semester of his sophomore year.

Raised in a Dutch family and in a town that prides itself on its Dutch heritage, Ellingson was curious to experience the real thing. “It’s interesting because towns in the U.S. have held on to the Dutch past much more than the actual Dutch people,” he explained. “The real Netherlands isn’t like the Dutch heritage festivals you see here.” He was able to make the comparison his first weekend in the country, when he attended a family reunion hosted by his distant Dutch cousins.

Ellingson went abroad again in the fall of his junior year, at last heading to London. He said the differences between the two sites were noticeable immediately. “Leiden was a very Dutch experience, while London was more of an urban, international experience.” Each program location had its own personal flair, something new and interesting to experience.

In his internship in Parliament, Ellingson worked alongside a Member of Parliament, tasked with assisting on local policies, including writing a policy paper on transportation. "Its pretty incredible," said Ellingson. "I wrote things that were actually used in their local government party policy."

But after two semesters abroad, Ellingson said the academic insights were only part of the experience. “So much of a study abroad experience is the people you meet,” he said. In addition to the friendships, his world view has expanded immeasurably, which isn’t surprising. Afterall, Ellingson spent nearly nine months actively engaged in two different countries, and visited an additional 10 across Europe.

You choose a summer, semester…or study abroad twice in a year! Study abroad in Learn more about Leiden, the Netherlands, and London, England.

Ellingson in Leiden, the Netherlands
Ellingson in Leiden, the Netherlands