University: The Hague University of Applied Sciences
Course: European Studies
Which year you are in: Undergraduate first year
Home Town in UK: Leeds
1. Why did you choose to study abroad?
For me this was a very last minute decision. My A level results just missed out on my offer from Lancaster University and unfortunately I lost my place. I didn’t want to have a gap year because I have heard from friends that it is so much more difficult to motivate yourself to study again. Also I had thought of studying abroad but finding information last year was much more difficult so I got started on UCAS admissions and after my offer I believed that I had it sorted. After results day my teacher recommended that I get in touch with Mark Huntington from A Star Future because she knew that I would be really interested in his information on clearing places at foreign universities. The day after I contacted Mark, I went to The Hague to visit a university that offered a very attractive course whilst they were starting their introduction week. I decided to join this degree because the course was ideal and I felt that this was a fantastic opportunity.
2. How would you rate the assistance of the university before you arrived (the application process, finding accommodation, sorting out financial matters)?
As I was such a late arrival, I didn’t have any previous experience with the university. However when I arrived, the director of studies was incredibly helpful. There are still some issues that such as finance and upgrading my status that I need to sort out as the different departments are not always sure what the procedure is.
3. How would you rate the assistance of the university when you arrived (orientation etc)?
At first, the orientation staff were a bit disorganised and confused as to which tasks they were doing but overall the orientation week was informative and there was plenty of assistance in finishing registration.
4. Did you feel prepared when you arrived and/or what surprised you?
I had spent the whole summer working as a receptionist in a French campsite and only returned home a week earlier after my disappointing results so I had planned on having another month until the British universities started. However, the Dutch universities start earlier so I had not even enrolled, had no financial aid or plan, don’t speak any Dutch and had no accommodation so I felt very unprepared.
5. How would you rate the learning environment (teaching style, studying with other international students, non-native English speaking lecturers)?
British universities seem to have a reputation for being the best in the world but I will say that I feel I am having a much more international experience here than I ever would have had in England. This adds value to my degree, European Studies, as I am studying in a diverse environment which is reflected in the debates and classes that we take part in. The standard of teaching is very high-the professors and lecturers are interesting speakers and knowledgeable on their subject but like any university, putting in the work is down to the student. I don’t have any major issues with the English spoken by the teachers and I think in Holland the level of English everywhere is of such a high standard. My class has such a range of nationalities that makes the lessons more dynamic, but it also has a real effect on personal development. By being in these classes you develop a more tolerant attitude and change your outlook completely on some things.
6. Would you recommend studying abroad to a 17-18 year old Brit who might never have thought about it before?
If you are interested in international affairs, different cultures and experiencing something new and exciting, then I would advise you to think about attending a university abroad. This is one of the best opportunities to learn, live and develop. I can say that this is absolutely the best decision I have made.
7. Is there anything you wish someone had told you at the time you applied?
I wish I would have known earlier that it isn’t as difficult as I thought to apply as I would have been so much more prepared.
8. Would you recommend your course, university, city to British students?
The Hague is a big city which has strong links to the European Union through Europol and the European Court of Justice. Therefore anyone with an interest in following a career in the European Union has an advantage by being in this city as there are many opportunities to get ahead and make connections. The course that I follow is taught in English but the classes have a large number of international students whose level of English is very impressive. The department has an amazing student association and there are also plenty of chances to get involved in a wide range of activities and fraternities/sororities.
Anything else you would like to share?
There really is no language barrier here as all lessons and discussions are in English because it is the 1 common language. Also you can speak English in all shops and restaurants and there is no problem being understood. However it is a great opportunity to learn the language in school and then practice it out and about.
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