July 14, 2022 at 11:45am
Kendall Trump, Class of 2013

Big Blue Semester Abroad

While several Millikin students choose among one of the 15+ study abroad programs available each semester, the University also serves as a destination for international students to live and learn.

Millikin collaborates with more than 40 partner universities across the globe to facilitate student exchange programs. This past academic year, two such students who chose to travel to Decatur and attend Millikin University were Ruben Real del Sarte and Jelle Berkhout, both of the Netherlands.

Though they were only at Millikin for a single semester for their respective exchange programs, both Ruben and Jelle made the most of their time in the U.S. and as Millikin students. They also brought their unique experiences and talents, offering local students a chance to view global perspectives.

Back in Enschede, the Netherlands, Jelle Berkhout is majoring in commercial economics, which relates closely to an entrepreneurship major at Millikin. Berkhout ended up choosing Millikin for his spring 2022 semester because his school, Hogeschool Saxion, holds partnerships with five different schools, including Millikin. “The reason for me to study abroad was to work with other students from many different countries and to learn about their way of thinking,” Berkhout explained. “International education broadens my perspective of life and stimulates new ideas. You meet an incredible number of people and build a larger network all over the world.”

Jelle Berkhout, right


The classes and lessons within Millikin’s Tabor School of Business provided Berkhout with the foundation, network and influence to further build his own business. “It’s the people and the different cultures that make Millikin most interesting. People always manage to inspire me,” he said.

While working within the Innovation Lab course through Millikin’s Center for Entrepreneurship, Berkhout experienced the start-to-finish process of creating, fabricating and marketing a product along with the design thinking mindset that will help him better understand his customers’ needs.

“I’ve been working on my own business helping companies with marketing and I have four clients so far. After graduation, I’d like to work on my own vision and build my business,” Berkhout said. Looking back on his semester abroad, Berkhout said his experience in the U.S. and at Millikin was positive. Activities he especially enjoyed included participating in campus life, orientation week and a trip to Indianapolis to watch an NBA game. “Millikin is a special university. You can make many wonderful memories here.”

Ruben Real del Sarte


Ruben Real del Sarte spent his fall 2021 semester at Millikin as part of his school’s international exchange program. Back in France where he attends European Business School Paris, Ruben is studying marketing while also balancing a career as a professional race car driver. While he already has many global experiences under his belt, Ruben was eager to study abroad for reasons aside from racing. “My school suggested Millikin and when I saw it, I was really motivated to attend my fall semester at this beautiful university,” he remarked.

By studying in the U.S., Ruben's goal was to get a broader view of the global business landscape and experience unique aspects of the U.S. market.

“I really wanted to gain more experience in marketing while being here, along with taking courses about people, performance and customer discovery.”

During the months he spent as a Millikin student, Ruben experienced common obstacles for international students studying abroad, such as integrating with the culture along with obstacles related to pursuing his racing career. However, he said that Millikin’s supportive network of faculty and the Center for International Education ensured that his experiences inside and outside of the classroom were fulfilling. “The way Millikin helps its students and supports them has been great for me,” Ruben said.

During his 2021 racing season, Ruben added a Millikin University decal to his car to show his Big Blue pride and promote Millikin. “I had an incredible experience and want others like me to have that same experience at Millikin,” he concluded.