You have the space to explore your own interests in most of the assignments
I am Norma, a third-year student Global Project and Change Management from Germany. When I found this programme, it was everything I was looking for. It had the theoretical background of global issues, while also giving me the practical skills I needed. I felt like I was able to pursue something I was passionate about, while also having good job prospects later.
My experiences so far have been genuinely wonderful. My time here has been made special by the people here, who are passionate about so many different issues, but all care about making the world a better place. The study environment is also enjoyable since there is a flat hierarchy. You can approach all of your lecturers easily to ask questions or for extra resources.
Carve out your own space
What I like about the programme is that you have the space to explore your own interests in most of the assignments. There is a wide array of courses you have, but for each of them you can carve out your own space. There is also this sense that the people in and around the programme always want to improve it. They are therefore always willing to listen to suggestions and ideas to help them come true.
There are also challenges. The expectations are quite high and you are thrown into the cold water a bit. You may not always understand the mechanics of it completely, but are learning by doing. It can also be quite disorganized at times, which can be challenging when you are trying to plan. The first year was a bit underwhelming for me, but starting in the second year it was really great.
It really is up to you how much you make out of the experience. You are free to decide if you want to work and do extracurricular stuff, or do that extra internship. There are resources around you, like the lecturers or the student counsellors, who want you to succeed. You just need to reach out to them.
Easy to engage with lecturers
The classes are small, which makes it much easier to ask questions and to engage with the lecturers. The common room is where everybody comes together and where you can study. Also, everyone has a student counsellor assigned to them, which is an absolutely wonderful resource. You meet at least once per semester with them, which is something I have never heard of before. Generally, it can be a bit disorganized, like your semester plan or sessions abroad.
One of the prettiest countries
Zwolle is a lovely city (with a wonderful bookshop!), but it is a bit small. This can also be an advantage, as all your friends live close to you. There are, however, fewer (cultural) activities. The next big city is easy to reach, within approximately one hour.
The Netherlands is one of the prettiest countries I have been to. There is beautiful architecture everywhere and since it’s not big, it’s also quite easy to travel around and see different places. What is also great is that you can navigate everyday life also quite well speaking English. But be aware, rain and biking are definitely a thing here.
A bit harder than at home
Altogether, studying abroad is just a bit harder than studying in your home-country. When you fill out forms, want to apply for a job, go to the doctor, or look something up on the university’s website. You can of course look words up, but nothing is self-evident and nobody can help you with it. Some spaces are not even accessible to you if you don’t speak the language, such as extracurriculars or extra courses. This might have been different in a bigger city. It is not the end of the world, but it just takes a lot of extra energy for things that don’t have to be hard.