Zane Curry has been accepted to the University of Georgia and Kennesaw State University, but the Benedictine Military School senior is taking a different path to college.
Curry, 18, has been accepted to four European universities: one in the Czech Republic (Anglo-American University in Prague), one in France (Burgundy School of Business in Dijon), and two in the Netherlands (Maastricht University and the University of Groningen). He has chosen to attend the Maastricht University. Curry said he is undecided on a major but is “leaning toward something in international business relations, marketing, something in that sense.”
During his sophomore year at Benedictine, Curry began researching colleges and the idea to take a non-traditional approach to higher education hit him.
“I was looking at prices of schools and how hard it was to get in,” he said. “I can’t really remember how but I mentioned it to my mom, and then she found this program called Beyond the States (Degrees Overseas Taught in English), which is this big group of moms that analyze and talk about all of these different European universities. She signed me up for that program and, through that, I was able to look at hundreds and hundreds of schools, and then kind of narrow it down to whatever fit me, and ultimately make my decision.”
Curry said attending Maastricht University will cost approximately $12,000 per year, comparable to paying in-state tuition to attend a university in Georgia. “Most of the degrees are (earned) in three years,” he said.
After graduating from Benedictine on May 15, Curry will move to Europe, where he will be without family. Maastricht University administrators told him that he will be one of six Americans out of 1,200 students in the program he is leaning toward.
“I’m definitely excited for it,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it. I’ve been thinking about it for a while. I’ve always had an interest in Europe and learning about other parts of the world, and being able to travel, so what else better?”
Curry has experience traveling throughout Europe. Last summer, he went to France for a week. During Thanksgiving break, he toured universities in Prague, Amsterdam, and Maastricht.
“My mom took a little bit of convincing,” he said. “But she’s definitely open to it now. My dad, he’s getting around to it. He’s always been a big Georgia guy. He went there. And I grew up going to Athens on certain weekends for football games. It’s definitely been a shock to him but he’s coming around to (the idea).”
Curry said he plans to play club-level lacrosse and basketball at Maastricht University. “They don’t have the big atmosphere for college sports like we do here in the U.S.,” he said. “Over there, soccer is a big thing, and when you turn 16, you turn professional.”
Curry said he is working on improving his fluency in Dutch. Fortunately for him, all of his academic curriculum will be in English.
“I think (the academic pace) will be higher because they want you to graduate in three years,” he said of Maastricht University. “I’ve always thought about doing marketing for a bigger brand, especially in an international aspect, let’s say, for a company like Coca-Cola, working as a marketing executive from America to the Netherlands, something like that. But now I’m also kind of interested in maybe doing some sports marketing, helping out with a team and marketing them internationally. I have to figure that out.”
Curry said his mother, Lisa Ward, is already making plans to travel from their home in Richmond Hill to visit him in the Netherlands.
“Maastricht is about two hours by train to Paris,” he said, smiling. “She’s looking forward to that.”