Brilliant time in Denver

Last August, I travelled to Denver in the United States for my Criminal Justice and Criminology minor. An entire 17-week semester I followed four subjects at the Metropolitan State Univerisity of Denver (MSU Denver).

I learnt an incredible amount during that time, not only at school but also outside of the lessons. The US is known as a country obsessed with criminality. Through programmes such as CSI and NCIS, news reports about shootings, or even politicians being dragged before the court, the US is occupied with criminality 24/7.

Even the professors, whose lectures I followed, were constantly preoccupied with criminality. We talked about current developments and news items during the lessons, and there was a lot of scope for discussion. The subjects I took followed on from my current course International Public Management. They were Criminological Theories, Introduction to Criminal Justice, Criminal Justice and the Social Structure, and Community Policing. What made the education even more special was that the professors were still working in their fields, giving them an exceptional understanding of the curriculum they were teaching. As such, my Criminal Justice professor was as a judge and my Community Policing professor an auditor for the CALEA (Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies).

Before I went, I had no idea what to expect. The only things I knew about the US came from television and films. Once I arrived, it appeared the image I had was largely true. The MSU Denver campus was massive in Dutch terms – it took about 15 minutes to walk from one side of the campus to the other. There was a large canteen, including a McDonalds (?!), Starbucks and Subway and of course there were the well-known sports teams. Although MSU Denver is a “community college” (a university where students don’t live on campus), it was still easy to meet other classmates and peers, including through group projects, the international student organisation and other channels.

And with only 10 hours of lectures a week, and no work visa, I had plenty of free time to do nice things and explore Colorado. With over 300 days of sun per year, Denver is a great place to do outdoor activities. The Rocky Mountains are a 20-minute drive, where you can go hiking in the summer and skiing in the winter. Denver also has a number of museums and a great nightlife. And if you’re in the US, you may as well visit other cities, too. From Denver Airport, it costs no more than 150 dollars for a return flight to cities like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles – perfect for a weekend away (there are no lectures on Fridays!).

So far so good. I have completed all my subjects with good grades and
I had a brilliant time in Denver. I would recommend it to everyone.